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Mini wallet latest item to enter fashion tech scene

Having your phone battery die while you’re out and about sucks.

Liz Salcedo created a solution that allows people to charge their phones in their clutch purses. And now she has a wallet solution. Her Chicago-based company Everpurse, a graduate of 1871’s tech scene, on Tuesday launched the Mini wallet.

The Mini is a rectangular-shaped wallet that is 8 by 4 by 1.3 inches and has a phone docking station on its side. While charging, the phone faces up so people can still text, email and check Facebook for at least 48 hours. 

The wallet also holds cash and credit cards and includes a clasp with a hidden USB connector so the wallet can be charged at any USB port. Currently designed for iPhone 5/5S, the Mini is available for pre-order at for $98 until May 6, when the price increases to $129.

"Convenient, easy to use and a bold statement piece, Mini is for the trendy woman who needs to stay constantly connected and has no time to mess with charging cords. We provide that stunning fashion piece that powers her world," Salcedo said.

The wallet followed the Everpurse clutch, which also charges a cellphone inside it. The purse itself charges when placed on a charging mat.

While Salcedo's goal was to take the combination of fashion and technology to the next level, she is not alone in this endeavor. One example is Google Glass. Another is designer Tory Burch partnering with Fitbit to transform the device, which tracks steps and calories burned, into a fashionable accessory rather than just a colorful wristband.

Starting next month, fashion tech companies will get the opportunity to collaborate with fashion retailers, such as Macy's and J. Crew, over 12 weeks as part of the newly launched New York Fashion Tech Labs accelerator program.

There is room for greater growth, too. When it comes to wearable technology like fitness bands and smart glasses and watches, 70 percent of consumers are aware of such products, according to results released last month of an online Nielsen survey. About 15 percent of consumers use the technology, and the majority  are between 18 and 34 years old, the survey found. Nearly half of the U.S. adults surveyed said they were interested in buying wearable technology.

"In the next couple years, we’ll expect more of our accessories to have smart functions. We're really excited about being in the middle of all that and creating products that are really beautiful and usable and have really useful applications," Salcedo said.

The Nielsen survey found that 72 percent of consumers wished wearable devices were less expensive, 62 percent wished they came in forms besides wrist bands and watches, and 53 percent wished they would look more like jewelry.

Salcedo agreed the gadgets need to be fashionable and stylish, otherwise people won't want to use them.

"As cool as the wearable tech is out there, a lot of it is really ugly. They haven't taken a lot of design into account," Salcedo said.


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