We are launching an earbud cord routing zipper pull design development project. The possibilities are endless!
Help support excellent young product designers
What we're looking to do here is get some Kickstarter funds out into the hands of excellent designers. We're running a competition where you, the funder, gets to select the best designs from product submissions. Each winning design that funders choose will receive $1000. We're hoping to push the funding up high enough that that we're paying out as much as $30,000 in prizes.
You can view our current list of design submissions HERE.
The longer story goes like this....
In June of 2009 I patented an idea I had for a simple method of attaching earbud cords to existing parts on clothing, bags and other personal accessory items. I named the company Snik, based on the sensation you get when you pop a cord into a small groove. Since that time I've mostly been working on licensing deals for the patent and finding various extension to the core patent.
Ideal Fastener promotional video
Benefits of these cord holding products
Having cord routing integrated into the parts on your clothing you don't need any additional parts. A cord holding feature is always available on your clothing when you need it, but it's not in the way when you don't need it. The cord grooves keep your earbud cord held closer to your body so they don't get caught on passing objects. If you're a runner they alleviate "runner's tug," that annoyance of the bouncing cord tugging on your ears. Clipping your cord into the grooves also means you can let the earbuds dangle when not in use and they won't drop to your ankles.
Button concept... (illustrated by T-Minus)
Zipper puller concepts... (illustrated by T-Minus)
Cord lock concepts... (illustrated by T-Minus)
Outside of licensing I've been starting to produce packaged zipper pullers of my own design. I call this the "Side Loader."
Side Loader 3-pack...
With these packaged parts there is a huge opportunity. With a larger line of really interesting zipper pullers I believe consumers would love to upgrade the jacket, sweater or hoodie they're purchasing with a more exciting and more functional zipper puller. In fact, everyone probably has 12-15 garments in their closet already that could have the zipper puller upgraded with something more fun. I believe every garment retailer should eventually have a display of zipper pullers with which consumers can customize their new garment right there in the store.
With this funding we are developing at least 5 new zipper pulls that include cord routing grooves for holding your earbuds. I am more of an entrepreneur and less of a designer, so I'm putting this out to product designers as a design competition. The competition is open both to design professionals and to design students to create fun and exciting new forms for zipper pulls. I think of this as sophisticated Jibbitz made for clothing. Not kitschy, but rather looking for clever and interesting forms that will appeal to an audience of young professional adults.
Funders of this project will receive a number of votes based on their funding level. At the closing of funding we will allow funders to review all the submitted designs and vote for their favorites.
We will pay $1000 to the designers of each of the best designs based on funder votes. The top designs will be tooled up and put into production. Funders will then be able to choose which designs they would like to receive for their rewards. Funders should note that their favorite designs may not be among the winning designs, but the winning designs will be a nice selection of products to choose from.
I highly suggest that funders post ideas in the comments section to help designers come up with new concepts. One suggestion I have for designers is endangered species. If some endangered species designs come through I would commit to giving a percentage of sales to species protection groups.
For the basic level of funding there will be 5 winning designs. On the chance funding goes over $50k we'll start adding more winning designs to be tooled up. This will also give funders a broader selection of pieces to choose from. We will add one winning design for every $10k over $50k of funding, up to a maximum of 30 parts. For designers that means there is potentially up to $30,000 in prize money paid out for winning concepts.
My own three submissions for this project, just to get the ball rolling, are the following...
Fish Bone Sniks (cord grooves are just under the top bone)
Shark Sniks (What surfer is not going to want one of these?)
1) Designs need to be based on things (shoe, fish, hat, etc.) rather than just an abstract form (but if you have something fantastic that breaks this rule... go for it!). Think of it as a sophisticated version of Jibbitz for clothing, but we're looking for really cool designs, not kitschy like Jibbitz.
2) Designs need to be kept to a reasonable size for zipper pulls. Over-size and under-size designs need to be rejected. Keep the clam packs you see above in mind. All products need to fit in the same size clam pack. The clam pack cavity is ~10mm thick and 33mm wide, and you have to be able to put 3 pcs in there.
3) Designs need to be attached to a standard 2mm nylon cord used for zipper pulls. The folded length of the cord should extend ~50mm from the part.
4) Illustrations don't need to be fully rendered. Front, side and end views, and basic dimensioning, should be enough for the factory to produce the part. I suggest designers don't overwork the designs and make it not worth their time. But don't underwork it so much that it's not compelling to anyone.
5) Copyrighted materials that are not original or owned by the designer can't be accepted.
6) Maximum 2 color parts. No part that require painting or extra processing outside of the injection molding process.
7) Be aware of the molding process as much as possible. Avoid undercuts in the design that would require complex and expensive slides in the mold. Overly complex parts will need to be rejected.
8) Cord holding grooves need to be built into the part, rather than an added on appendage to the part. The inside diameter of the groove needs to be 1.5mm with the opening of ~1.2mm (though this will be tuned in the molding process). These will be molded out of TPR and the groove can have a small amount of undercut. Side loading grooves like shown above work best at holding the cord. Back face and front face grooves are slightly less effective but okay. Vertical grooves on the side can't be molded without complex slides. (If you need more information on detailing the groove just send me an email.)
9) Give your design a short, catchy name to make it easy for everyone (including me) to remember your piece. Also include your name or contact information on your art. Entry form with terms and conditions can be downloaded HERE.
10) There is no limit on the number of designs you are allowed to enter.
11) Please submit only one design per page. Multiple designs on a single page will have to be reworked.
12) Please send in your submissions as PDF files.
Our promises to the designers:
1) We will only develop parts which have been paid for. If, at a later date, we want to develop additional parts which were not winners in this funding, we will contact you and pay the same $1000 set forth in this project for each part we would like to develop. (If things go well, even the losers may be winners!)
2) We will include references to the designers of each part on our website. We can link to your portfolio site or where ever you would like in order to help you generate more design work.
Project time frame
Going through other people's projects I note that many of the projects go well over their expected delivery date and result in a lot of frustration on the part of funders. I've set Oct 2012 delivery on this project which, based on my experience, should be plenty of time. I have extensive experience producing parts like this, so this is easy work. If the project goes over $50k and we end up trying to do a much broader selection of products that could possibly extend the delivery date. I will do everything I can to avoid going past the Oct time frame, and will maintain strong communications via the updates tab.
Note on cord types
I know everyone is going to ask me about what cords these will fit. Dr Dre, Skullcandy and others have cords of different diameters and different shapes. Eventually we are going to get to all the various permutations of aftermarket earbud cords. Right now, starting out, the lion's share of earbud cords is the standard Apple earbud cord. Many other aftermarket cords use nearly the same diameter cord. So for now we're going to focus on that part of the market. If this ends up being as successful as I envision then expect to see almost every style available for all types of cords.
Notes on voting
Before the funding period ends I will put instructions here on how funders can vote on their favorite designs.
Fear not. After launching this line of zipper pulls we will also be doing other products, like shirt clips and magnet attachments for holding cords. What's cool about a zipper pull, for the jackets, sweaters and hoodies you own (remember, it's going to be mid-Fall when these arrive) is that the cord routing feature is then part of your garment. You don't need to remember another part. The cord routing feature is there on your garment when you need it yet it's not a bother when you don't. And it will have the added benefit of being a cool ornament as well.
Pledge $3 or moreYou selected
Individual... Get one single zipper puller of your choice (unpackaged), and get one single vote for the best design. Please add $5 for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $12 or moreYou selected
Single 3-pack... Gets you your choice on one 3-pack of zipper pullers. This also gets you one vote to help select the best design. (Includes $2 shipping.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or moreYou selected
Single 3-pack, international... Same as above but includes $10 for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $22 or moreYou selected
Two 3-packs... You get your choice of two 3-packs. You also get two votes to help select the best designs. (Includes $2 shipping.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or moreYou selected
Two 3-packs, international... Same as above with $10 for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $33 or moreYou selected
Three 3-packs... You get your selection of three 3-packs of zipper pulls. You also get 3 votes to help select the best designs. (Includes $3 shipping.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $40 or moreYou selected
Three 3-packs, international... Same as above with $10 for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $55 or moreYou selected
Six 3-packs... You get your selection of six 3-packs of zipper pulls. You also get 6 votes to help select the best designs. (Includes $5 shipping.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $60 or moreYou selected
Six 3-packs, international... Same as above with $10 for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $105 or moreYou selected
Twelve 3-packs... You get your selection of twelve 3-packs of zipper pulls. You also get 12 votes to help select the best designs. (Includes $5 shipping.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $115 or moreYou selected
Twelve 3-packs, international... Same as above with $15 for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,100 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (500 left of 500)
Reseller level... 1 case, mixed product. 1 case has 10 inner packs of 24 pcs each. Case can be mixed, inner packs are packed per style/color. Domestic product will ship from California. International orders will ship from China. Additional shipping charges may apply. You will also get to exercise 20 votes.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (500 left of 500)
Deluxe Reseller level... 5 cases, mixed product. 1 case has 10 inner packs of 24 pcs each. Case can be mixed, inner packs are packed per style/color. Domestic product will ship from California. International orders will ship from China. Additional shipping charges may apply. You will also get to exercise 100 votes.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)