Does the world really need another earbud holder? I think so. Introducing... The Earbud Shield!
Nearly everyone uses earbud-style headphones and I’m no exception. I’ve always found that when I need them, I’m constantly pulling them out of a pocket or bag and they are always a tangled mess. After a great deal of research on the other available products I found them all wanting and decided to design my own. I've taken everything I disliked about other products and banished them from my design.
With the Earbud Shield, your delicate earbuds are protected in the center of the case and the entire package is rugged, sleek, and streamlined, making it an easy fit for your pocket or purse. It’s easy to use, looks stylish and elegant.
There are no loose ends, no cables dangling out in the danger zone and everyone who looks at it is overcome with curiosity about what the heck it is. Once I reveal that this handy case is an earbud holder they fall in love with it and ask where they can get one.
The most exciting aspect of this product is the unlimited design potential. Think of the infinite variety of logos, advertising and personalization that can be applied to this product.
I chose leather for the product because there’s so much you can do with leather. It can be tooled, laser etched, branded, painted, studded, dyed, and so much more.
Leather has been used for centuries for a reason. It's versatile!
I also have plans for a synthetic material model but that will be phase two.
The design is ripe for other methods of production such as injection molding in a variety of materials. Right now, the prototypes are constructed from leather and are ready for manufacturing.
So what we need to take this to the next level is funding. I've developed a method of manufacturing that uses time-tested leather production methods and I’ve expanded on these methods to keep the hand-made feel and look of the product intact while keeping the manufacturing costs reasonable.
What I intend to do with the funding is to expand the manufacturing of the leather model and purchase materials to create enough units to grow from my smaller-scale production to a large-scale production
A laser etching machine will be purchased to apply custom logos and artwork to the product. I'm still looking for the product that will suit the needs of the project without draining the entire budget. There's a lot of options for these machines. If I cannot get the suitable machine under budget I will look into farming the custom logo portion of the product to a third-party service until I can get my own machine.
Finding just the right leather is critical to the construction of the Earbud Shield. I hand-pick the material for the correct thickness, softness, flexibility and texture. Leather is not like a man-made material. Each Shield will have a unique personality and feel depending upon the leather it is made from.
The Shield is much like a typical money wallet and eventually conforms to the shape it wants to be. As it gets worn in you begin to see changes in the smoothness and shape. It's what leather does and it's what makes it so desirable. It's personal...
The Shield itself is constructed of two, half-domed covers with a leather center hub between them.
The entire assembly is made of three things: Leather, Dye, and Contact Cement. It's simple, durable and your friends will love it.
Music for the presentation video was kindly provided (with permission) by Greg Anderson. Please visit his site for more fantastic music!
The risks and challenges of completing this project are daunting but manageable. My initial worry about this project was that it might be successful! It will require a ton of work but I am uniquely prepared to face the challenge.
For years I’ve worked in the motion picture industry doing everything from Puppeteering, Model Making, Animatronics, Video Engineering and Prop Making. Designing things for the movie business is usually a very short term track from design to completion. I’ve learned how to design and build things both efficiently and quickly and usually on a restricted budget. I’ve worked on projects both large and small and had the opportunity to work with an impressive list of filmmakers. (See my bio for more on that...)
My experience in the motion picture industry has exposed me to a vast array of manufacturing techniques and I've adapted this into a method of manufacturing that is scalable and cost-effective.
The goal is that this project is so successful that I will be able to quit my day job in the movie industry and devote 100% of my effort to making this product the beginning of a great success story.
I have a full machine/fabrication shop available to me and many associates who will jump right in and help make this all happen no matter how crazy it gets.
There is no doubt in my mind that with the resources available to me I will make this dream a solid reality.
This version will handle the standard old Apple earbuds and the current version of the Apple EarPods. I've tested them with several similar styles with good results. There are some earbud products that are not a good match for this version such as those with large rubber-tips and bulky protrusions.
One cool aspect of the manufacturing method is that it leaves two small remnants that can be fashioned into a really cool bracelet. I will finish and dye some of these for the $5 pledge. It is made of two bands of leather and a bamboo bead. See the last picture on this page for a sneak peak!
Early Bird Special! For an $18 donation you will receive one leather classic model in your choice of Brown or Black. For 25 eager backers I will make an early run and you will be among the first to receive your Earbud Shields!
For a $40 donation you will receive one leather classic model in your choice of available colors personalized with a custom logo (you provide the artwork), imprinted on one side. (method and design pending. Design must fit within the constraints of the application method)
The Philanthropist's Special!
For a $100 pledge you are saying that you don't really want or need the product (you prefer to use full-sized headphones!) but you will enjoy knowing that you helped make this dream a reality and you will go to sleep each night with a little smile on your face. Thank You!!!
(But I'm still going to send you one... Let me know if you prefer brown or black :)