Want to call an Uber? This handbag can do it for you!

Washington: Technology has evolved so much over the years that we have a number of tech-savvy devices making our lives easy. But have you ever wondered how your handbag can serve more than just one purpose?
Keeping in line with technological advancements, a handbag has been developed that can not only store stuff but also help the owner call an Uber or find his/her phone.

A luxury leather bag startup called Bee and Kin incorporates a button in their bags that can do everything from starting a playlist to calling a cab to locating your phone, reported Fast Company.

The brand has launched a new line of colourful leather bags that are equipped with ‘smart buttons’ that can perform a wide range of tasks. The idea behind launching this line of bags is that users can personalise the functionality of the bag as per their needs.

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Some early testers of the bag found that the button can be a smart way to get out of an awkward date. When it’s clear that the conversations are boring and there is absolutely no chemistry, these women secretly press the button inside their handbag, which they previously programmed to call their phone.

So when their phone rings, they apologise, say they have an emergency and need to leave in a hurry, thus saving them from the boring date.

“The use cases are almost endless,” says Tracey Hummel, Bee and Kin’s founder.

Hummel launched the startup after several years of working in shoe production at Tory Burch. As she has spent her career in the fashion industry, she is well aware that the bag market is flooded with start-ups, including Cuyana, Clare V, Mansur Gavriel, Jemma, Marcher, and Sofia Fima.

The handbag market is also crowded with different types of bags from totes to minis to hand purses to sling bags to cross body bags.

However, Hummel believes that it would be interesting to launch bags that could incorporate just the right amount of technology in them, making them different from the usual bags.

The introductory line of bags, which include a USD 500 cross body, a USD 595 bucket bag, and two tote bag silhouettes (from USD 600 to USD 725), is equipped with the smart buttons as well as lights that help you see inside the bag, so in case you are in a dark place like a theatre or bar, the light comes to your rescue!
“I knew from the start that the lights would be a must. I have wasted so much time digging through my purse for my keys or a metro card. This was a relatively easy thing to add, but it would make a huge difference,” she said.

Hummel chose the name of the brand as the word “Hummel” in German means bee. She has also incorporated a hexagon motif that she weaves throughout all her bags, from the handle of the bucket bag to the shape of the cross body. It immediately recreates a honeycomb and serves to make the brand easily recognisable and yet unique.

The founder has opted for more vibrant and lively colours in the collection, including orange, yellow, turquoise, and silver, alongside the more neutral colours like black and blush. The handbags are manufactured in India using Italian leather.

The bright colours and aesthetic of the bag may appeal to some customers but others will be intrigued by the smart button, which is something new.

Bee and Kin use a system designed by a Swedish company called Flic. An app lets you program the smart button to do several things, like find your phone, text your location to a person, start a playlist, send a pre-written email, or even call an Uber.

“We wanted to make the technology as flexible as possible because we realized women have very different needs. Our goal was to allow women to customize the experience as much as possible,” Hummel said.

Before designing the unique bag, she spoke to nearly 100 women to better understand their needs. Many came up with the same issues, like not being able to find their keys when digging through the bag at a dark place or at night.

However, there were also many needs that were very specific. Some women loved the idea of their handbag being able to order a cab, while others drive and don’t need that function. According to Hummel, the solution is to find ways to incorporate technology that can be easily personalised as per everyone’s requirements.

“We’re going to continue to work closely with Flic to find ways to better respond to our customers,” she added.

Hummel also said how she found the “find your phone” option very useful since she is generally in a hurry to locate her phone. She also shared how a double-click option to send a “two minutes away” text comes in handy.

She shared how she found the simplest tech feature as the most useful one. Hummel noted that she was surprised on how frequently she used the light switch, from finding my lip gloss in a dark movie theatre or to find her keys when she was at the front door late at night.

However, the question remains is it worth to spend USD 500 when you could get a pocket-size torch or even a flashlight on your phone? Maybe not but according to Hummel, the added functionality of the smart button may be enough to entice women who love luxury bags and are tired of always digging through their purse.


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