Fact: New Zealand winters can be cold.
Another fact: when it’s cold, we often like to wear gloves.
Third fact: When we wear gloves, it’s near-impossible to operate touchscreen devices like tablets or smartphones.
Well, no more.
A new line of stylish gloves that allow women to stay warm while using smartphones and other touchscreen sensitive digital devices is launching in the Land of the Long White Cloud this month.
The emke line is the brainchild of New York-based Australian entrepreneur Emily Truong, who came up with the concept while travelling through Europe during winter 2014. “I was used to warmer weather and it was impossible to find a pair of touchscreen gloves that didn't look like ‘tech’ gloves,” she explains. “So I figured, if I can't find the product, I'll create it myself.”
The base of the glove is 80 percent wool, with an additional layer of 100 percent cotton for additional warmth and a soft feel. The touchscreen tip is made of a conductive yarn that matches the colour of the gloves, so that the touchscreen functionality remains discreet.
“I worked closely with the manufacturer to have a design that was both warm, stylish and practical,” Truong says.
emke launched in the US in Fall/Winter 2015/2016, and expanded to the UK in Fall/Winter 2016/2017. Truong says expanding to Aotearoa was the next logical step. “We decided New Zealand was the best place for our next launch because we know it’s a strong market for fashionable accessories, and it can be very cold over the winter.”
It took Truong – who has a background in accounting and finance, and previously worked in company restructuring – two years to develop the concept and find a suitable manufacturer.
“It's always difficult starting up a new business from scratch,” she says. “I was learning everything for the first time. But I was very passionate about the business and truly believed it was a product that young, working professionals would like. It’s been a very rewarding experience so far and I certainly have no regrets.”
The gloves will be available to consumers at www.emkeshop.com.
While other companies have tried to introduce gloves that can be used with touchscreens into the New Zealand market, it does not appear they've caught on.
This story has been updated.
Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).