About this project
THE BONGO. Subverting the Retail Model: An all-natural bamboo speaker with bluetooth portability and best in class audio technology.
Thank you for visiting our campaign! We truly appreciate your feedback and support. This project was inspired by places. New York, Shanghai, Venice Beach, Hong Kong, Wellfleet. We love to travel, some of us live abroad, and we wanted to create a product that would travel with us. A product that would get us, and those around us to rip out their headphones and be together in the same room, listening to the same song. After more than a year sketching out designs, hunting down materials and developing prototype after prototype, we're finally ready to present our first creation: the Bongo. For us, the coolest thing about the Bongo is imagining where it might end up in the world. We're just excited to be along for the ride, to partake in the moveable feast.
Here's what you should know about the Bongo:
- Amazing Sound and Wireless Connectivity
- Environmentally Friendly
- Beautifully Designed through Designer Collaboration
- Built to Last
- Exclusive Pricing: $60 for our first backers on Kickstarter.
1. Sound. Bongo uses APT-X best-in-class audio decompression software, 1.5” drivers utilizing Rare Earth Magnets and Dual 1.75” Passive bass radiators in airtight compartments. What does all that mean? You’ll be blown away by how incredible Bongo sounds for such a lightweight, portable speaker. Not only can Bongo go head to head with any portable speaker on the market, it sounds better than your ihome or ipod speakers without any of the cords.
2. Environmentally friendly. The bamboo housing resonates much better than plastic or metal and produces a full, natural sound. Bamboo is one of the world's most incredible, durable and abundant natural resources and guess what? Pandas love it too! (But don’t worry there is plenty for everyone to share!)
3. Design. When did speakers go from looking like this:
Speakers used to be beautiful design pieces that elevated your home, and that’s how we designed the Bongo. The bamboo shell is natural and warm. We collaborated with designer Meghan Sebold to develop beautiful speaker cloths that were selected from unique materials (including 100% natural hemp) and Meghan helped us pair those with colored rings to create color combinations that pop. Collaborating with designers and giving them a cut of the profit is part of how O&E is changing the traditional retail model.
4. Built to last. The Bongo was built to last, each aspect of the speaker inside and out was poured over with long lasting quality in mind, but if it ever stops working, we’ve got your back with a warranty.
5. Exclusive Pricing. Portable bluetooth speakers cost between $140-$300. We’re cutting out the middle man, producing ourselves and selling direct. Our first Kickstarter backers will get a Bongo for just $60. That's the beauty of being vertically integrated, (we control design, production and distribution) so we can deliver products to you at wholesale prices.
Key Tech Specs:
- Plays music wirelessly from your phone with bluetooth.
- 8 Hours of playback before re-charging.
- Light Weight and Portable.
- 30 foot range
Protective Hemp Satchel: Every Bongo comes with a protective satchel made from ultra durable hemp canvas.
Braided Hemp Aux Line Just in case you need to go old school, we're including a braided hemp auxiliary line so you can plug your phone directly into Bongo and play!
Stretch Goal #1 - BONGO BIKE MOUNT
We've been blown away by the response to our campaign so far. The KS community is stellar － your suggestions and feedback go a long way toward making the Bongo better.
With that in mind we're announcing our first stretch goal! Once we hit $80,000, any backer can add $20 to their reward for a Bongo with a bike mount. This universal mount will fit most bikes, and let's you jam out while you ride. Check it out below:
Stretch Goal #2. EXTERNAL BATTERY + UPDATED CASE
We're setting a new stretch goal of $100,000! To help us get there we're now offering an external battery that will charge Bongo OR any smart phone for an extra 5-6 hours. If we reach $100,000 every backer will get an improved hemp carrying case with a front pocket pouch for your battery and phone, an improved protective lining and improved tactile buttons for FREE. Current backers only need to add $22 to their current pledge to get a battery and new backers can select a Bongo + Battery Reward. Check it out:
- Adds 5-6 of battery t Bongo OR any smart phone.
- Charges two devices simultaneously
- Dimensions: 4.1" x 2.6" x .6"
- 6600 MAH
- Totally portable just like bongo and plugs in to any device with a normal usb or mini usb cord.
$20 Reward- For supports who give us just $20 we'll send you out this premium 100% cotton special addition T-shirt:
Why Otis & Eleanor?
Everything we are led us to here. Randy and Mike independently left the United States over 5 years ago to explore a new frontier: China. They learned the culture and the language. They learned how to tell the difference between a good, safe, fair factory and a sketchy one. Most of all, they learned a lost art: how to make things.
Meanwhile in New York, Adam dedicated his life to a different frontier: The Internet. He was inspired by the abundance of design talent in New York and dismayed by how seldom it reached an audience.
Our collective experience led us to a startling conclusion: it would blow peoples mind if they knew what it cost to produce the products they buy. Furthermore, retailers siphon all the value out of the supply chain and designers are paid little for their creativity. In the end, it’s the consumer (you) who ends up paying a premium.
We wanted to change all that by collaborating with awesome designers to create amazing products we design, produce and distribute ourselves.
Our Partner in Crime
Independent Designer for the Bongo: Meghan from Afia
Otis and Eleanor plans to partner with independent designers for all our projects. For the Bongo, Meghan helped our team select and style the beautiful speaker cloth, colored rings and bamboo grain. It is these details that make the Bongo special. Exceptional materials make exceptional products.
Like the O&E team, Meghan is a nomad. She's a longstanding member of the moveable feast and is, a true inspiration to us. With Afia, Meghan identified a way to bridge her own culture with Ghana's through fashion. She created a fashion line that fuses the vibrant, traditional textiles of West Africa with American Trends. Each garment is sewn by artisans from a women's cooperative in Ghana where they're paid a fair wage for their craft.
How to Pair Your Bongo with Your Phone
It took us more than a year and a dozen prototypes to get the Bongo just right. Check out some of the pictures below to see our progress:
After every iteration, we made incremental improvements to the design, manufacturing methods, and even the sound profile.
We consider our manufacturing experience to be one of our greatest strengths at Otis & Eleanor. Randy and Mike are on the ground in the epicenter of global trade and manufacturing - Southern China, where Bongo is produced. We've spent the last year working hard vetting factories, coordinating assembly of the final product, and cultivating meaningful relationships with our suppliers (this is really important in China!) We've finalized the product design and developed working prototypes, and we will personally QC every unit that comes off the production line. Here is our manufacturing timeline:
- October 15 - Pre-production begins for Early Bird Backers
- November 15 - Campaign wrap-up and Early Bird backer products ship
- December 1- Bulk product shipment, sorting, and fulfillment
- December 20th - All backers will have received their rewards!
A word about China
Some people hear you're manufacturing in China and get a bit squeamish about labor conditions. This is a dangerous and unfair generalization. Randy and Mike have spent the last 5 years living and working (with factories) in China and one of our greatest advantages as a team is their presence on the ground. China is a developing nation and there ARE factories with unfair and unsafe labor conditions, but we aren't working with them and unlike other companies (even massive ones) who are assured by factory bosses everything is on the level, we know because we are there, on the factory floor, watching every Bongo come off the assembly line.
We've partnered with an experienced fulfillment center just outside New York to handle the final leg of distribution and shipping. This isn't their first rodeo, and we're quite confident all backers will receive rewards by December 20th.
Risks and challenges
The good news is, we've done this kind of thing before.
We've spent a year refining the production process and will be on the ground, inside the factory as each Bongo comes off the line. Past that, we've created a supply chain that can scale and distribute effectively.
That said, producing anything has challenges. International holidays can often slow down production time and there's always the chance for unforeseen issues, but we're confident that once we place our first order with the money this campaign raises, we've done the hard work upfront to make sure everything goes smoothly.
As a company, we are obsessed with customer service and guarantee happiness no matter what. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our backers happy.
It's important to note that because production won't begin until after this campaign ends, it will most likely take between 30-60 days from the time you back us to the time you receive your speaker.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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