The unofficial motto of Fall? Be prepared. That means layers. Versatile shoes. And an umbrella. But the only thing more annoying than being caught in a downpour without an umbrella is lugging one around all day.
Enter VERYKAL by Japanese umbrella experts AMVEL.
VERYKAL is an ultra-light umbrella designed to be a rain protecting sidekick you’ll forget you’re carrying - until you need it. Designed with the Japanese values of high-quality goods and minimalist style, not only is it small, it’s finely constructed with automatic open-close, water-repellent coating, and unique lightweight material.
Throw it in a bag alongside your daily essentials and be prepared to let it rain.
So how light are we talking? VERYKAL weighs in at just 162 grams, that’s 5.7 oz. or just .35 of one pound. That’s teeny tiny!
VERYKAL is lighter than other daily backpack essentials like your iPhone, your keys, and a banana (snack time). To give you some more perspective, the average automatic open-close umbrella weighs in at about 250-300 grams - that’s almost double.
Automatic folding umbrellas have complex frame structures that let them open and close at the push of a button. Building an ultralight one was no easy feat, but we were up for the challenge.
We measured the weight for 23 models of popular umbrellas sold in the USA and Japan. We saw brollies ranging from 220 grams to 450 grams, with an average at about 284 grams. After rounds of iterations, we created VERYKAL - an umbrella that’s almost 50% lighter than the average automatic umbrella on the market.
This scenario? Never fun.
But aside from the annoyance, poorly constructed, broken umbrellas are actually horrible for the environment. Most cheap umbrellas are made of vinyl material and easily break. They’re also tricky and expensive to disassemble for proper recycling. Millions end up thrown into landfills each year. In Japan, this is an outright epidemic.
How many umbrellas have you gone through in the last five years? Whether they’ve broken or been misplaced, chances are it’s been a few. But those umbrellas don’t just disappear. Now calculate that by the number of people using umbrellas worldwide, and you’ll get an idea of the problem.
Some sources point to about one billion umbrellas broken, lost, or improperly disposed of each year worldwide. In one product cycle assessment, researchers discovered that we throw away yearly, on average, enough broken umbrellas to build 25 Eiffel Towers.
VERYKAL is built to last you season after season - not end up polluting the earth.
Instead of just shielding you from water (although it does a very good job of that as well) VERYKAL has a strong nano-technology, water-repellent coating specially developed by Amvel, named Easy-Dry to whisk water away.
While some umbrellas lost their water-resistance after a few bouts in the rain, Easy-Dry ensures the umbrella stays water-repellent. The Easy-Dry coating consists of fine, nano-class, particles, meaning it penetrates deep into the umbrella’s fiber and is extremely durable and difficult to peel off.
Easy-Dryfabrics are produced under an Oeco-Tex STANDARD 100 certified factory, where it is thoroughly tested for harmful substances and is ensured to be harmless to humans.
VERYKAL passes the “water repellency” test - conducted in an independent lab - with flying colors. In an “AATCC-22” test, where the fabric is washed, rinsed, spun, and dried for 50 cycles to measure the drop in water repellency, VERYKAL rated 90 points - an excellent rating.
When it’s time to throw in your bag, VERYKAL dries quicker and can easily be covered by its protecting case to avoid seeping water everywhere.
Aside from the lightweight, the first thing you’ll notice about VERYKAL is its unique, featherlight fabric. VERYKAL is made out of super-fine 15-denier yarn - the same material used to make women’s stockings. The fabric is lightweight while also supple, firm, and easy to fold.
But while you can make a super-light umbrella from nylon, it stretched too easily and becomes susceptible to breakage. VERYKAL’s fabric is thin, but also strong. Win, win!
VERYKAL’s strength is found in its carbon fiber mainframe. Carbon fiber is strong - but also light. That’s why it’s found in materials used for airplanes.
The mainframe of the umbrella folds into three pieces. We use carbon fiber for two out of three of the pieces. Here’s a little lesson in the construction of automatic umbrellas. Each and every automatic umbrella requires a long coil spring located inside the main shaft. This spring powers the umbrella to open and close with a click.
To keep our umbrella strong and light, we built a custom-designed, super small coil spring. This tiny spring means a smaller diameter for the main umbrella shaft!
To make sure VERYKAL would withstand strong gusts, we needed to come up with the best frame structure we could think of. After all, what use is a light umbrella if it breaks in the face of a little kosame (that’s Japanese for light rain). We worked hard to balance the lightweight nature of the umbrella, with heavy-duty strength. After rounds of combos of materials and sizes, we found the perfect combo.
We put VERYKAL to the test in a high-speed wind tunnel. Even at super-high speeds, it doesn’t break and holds up to 27 mph (12m/s, or 43km/h).
VERYKAL is as durable as any much larger counterpart. It might not (quite…) be able to withstand a hurricane, but you might feel a bit more prepared if you know one is coming to town.
Time for another lesson, this time in wind speed. Let’s have a look at the Beaufort Scale, which should give you an idea of just how fast 27 mph is.
Since automatic folding umbrellas rely on a deceptively complex mechanism - they can easily break. Not VERYKAL. Our umbrella went through a rigorous test by an independent lab. The umbrella was repeatedly opened and closed six times every minute 500 times and was good a new. In fact, VERYKAL received a certificate that the operations went smoothly without any problem. That’s the equivalent of umbrella honor roll.
The best part of any rainstorm? The rainbow of course. That’s why VERYKAL comes in tons of colors to brighten even the cloudiest day. After you pledge and the campaign ends, we’ll send you an email where you can choose which color best matches your #rainstormmood.
Color options: Black, Marine Blue, Cherry Pink, Midnight Blue, Cassis Grape, Ice Blue, Khaki, Navy, Pomegranate, and Mint Blue.
VERYKAL is designed and conceptualized in Japan. We work closely with our trusted manufacturing partner in China, owned by a Taiwanese company, to construct our umbrellas. Ninety-nine % of the products manufactured in the factory are shipped to Japan to be sold at high-end retailers such as department stores and specialty retail outlets. The factory also manufactures products for some of the world’s best-known sports apparel brands and character brands, passing clients’ rigorous brand audit tests.
The factory we use has been producing top-quality umbrellas for the last 48 years in Taiwan and China and is known for its commitment to producing high-quality products. It is one of the few factories with appropriate craftsmen and facilities to handle our specialty textiles. Our manufacturing facility has rigorous quality assurance processes and the facility has five inspections in place to assure top-quality products.
Did you know that there are 50 words in Japanese for rain? We like to this thinks makes us experts on what makes a good umbrella.
When the umbrella company they worked for went bankrupt, Yoshihiro Tsujino, Minoru Sugiyama, and Tomoo Sugano, armed with over 55 years of combined experience in the umbrella industry, founded Amvel Co., Ltd in 2016.
Based out of Nagoya, Japan, the team set out to change the umbrella (a product whose design hasn’t changed much over the last century). Focused on making a dent in the industry, they launched their first product, the Pentagon 72, the world’s lightest umbrella weighing in at 72 grams. Now, the company has invented the world’s lightest automatic open/close umbrella with the goal of creating long-lasting umbrellas that won’t pollute the earth.
After successfully selling their umbrellas in Japan, Amvel is excited to reach new audiences on Kickstarter.
Yoshihiro Tsujino, Founder and Chief Representative
Yoshihiro is an industry veteran who has spent 28 years in the umbrella business. He started his career in sales and product planning but has also dealt with production for more than 20 years. He’s well known in Japan in the umbrella industry and is well-connected with umbrella manufacturers across Japan and China.
Minoru Sugiyama, Head of Sales
Minoru has spent over 20 years in umbrella industry after working for many years in sales for the apparel industry.
Tomoo Sugano, Head of Marketing
Tomoo has spent 15 years in the umbrella industry. Tomoo is a long-time marketing veteran with experience in multiple industries.
“We are not just an umbrella manufacturer - we would like to eliminate wasted umbrellas that are becoming a big social issue throughout the world. Even in Japan alone, there are a whopping 120 million umbrellas imported every year. About half of those are cheap disposable vinyl plastic umbrellas. It’s difficult and costly to disassemble and recycle umbrellas. We have made a serious commitment to reducing wasted umbrellas by refusing to make any more disposable umbrellas. Our research and development is focused on constructing high-quality umbrellas people can use for a very long time. Thank you for joining us on our Kickstarter journey!” - CEO, Yoshiro
This project is promoted by Jellop, the ad tech power behind the best Kickstarters with 850+ successful Kickstarter projects with over $370M raised between them.
Risks and challenges
While it is much more complex than standard folding umbrella, and are using unique, proprietary components compared to regular automatic folding umbrellas, we have been partnering with the manufacturing factory for the past three years and have not had any issues with them. Therefore we believe we can produce VERYKAL without any challenges.
However, there are always rooms for manufacturing challenges no one has expected. We will be upfront and transparent in sharing any challenges we may have if such challenges may arise.
To be honest, we have been running our business primarily in Japan (we’ve been selling a ton!) and a couple of other Asian countries. With VERYKAL, we intend to ship our product to as many countries as we can. This poses certain challenges of going through exporting umbrellas.
As a matter of fact, we just learned we currently cannot ship umbrellas from China to Hong Kong where we originally planned to ship VERYKAL, because umbrellas have become a symbol among protesters in Hong Kong. We will do everything we can to be able to ship VERYKAL to backers in Hong Kong, but at this point we see some challenges doing so. We hope we can ship our umbrellas wherever our umbrellas are needed, even to places with political conflicts.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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