About this project
Mashable - "iCoil...is a simple, circular plastic accessory that winds your headphone cable two ways — allowing it to extend and retract according to your needs."
GearMoose - "Featuring a simple, compact design compatible with all standard headphone sizes, the iCoil eliminates the need to purchase a new set, keeping the headphones you currently own neat and organized every time you use them."
I came up with the idea for iCoil one day when I was driving in my car, my phone rang, and I couldn't get my headphones untangled and plugged in before the call went to voicemail. That's when I started to wonder if there was a product available that would solve my problem. It seemed like such an obvious, everyday problem that I assumed someone else had already invented something to solve it.
So I began sketching and asking a lot of questions trying to find similar solutions online or in big box stores. Surprisingly, I found nothing. You could get headphones that came pre-built around a winding device but that's not what I envisioned. Most people who use their headphones on a regular basis are very particular about the color, quality and size of their headphones. They don't want to buy cheap headphones in order to avoid tangled cords.
Since this was my first time creating a product like this I started asking around to see if I could find a local design firm that would help me create the product I envisioned. I soon found out that there were a lot of people who were willing to give it the old college try, but very few could keep it simple and accomplish a workable design.
After several unsuccessful attempts I was finally put in touch with someone who had a lot of experience working with contract manufacturers. Finally I could take all my failures, package them together into a long list of what I didn't want, and start working on exactly what I wanted iCoil to become.
After several months and prototypes we arrived at a simple product design that met all the functional needs I had envisioned:
- It allowed users to avoid a tangled mess every time they pulled headphones out of their pocket, backpack or briefcase
- It didn't force anyone to buy a new set of headphones
- It could stay attached to headphones whether in use or in storage
It was important that the design of iCoil be as small and simple as possible. It only needed to be large enough to fit standard sized headphone cords. Anything more and it would become clunky and too large to stay attached to headphones at all times.
The funds raised in this Kickstarter campaign will be used exclusively to purchase a production mold. Up until this time I've purchased samples in small quantities which has significantly increased my cost per unit. Purchasing a production mold will allow me to finish the production design, order larger quantities, lower my cost per unit and supply enough units to meet the current demand.
The design of iCoil has been constantly refined over the past six months. Several samples, sizes and shapes have been tested. Versions of the product incorporating a spring loaded system failed over time. The straightforward design of iCoil is durable and consists of components that aren't prone to failure after only a few months of use.
Risks and challenges
With so many great projects on Kickstarter and in the marketplace, the biggest challenge for iCoil is getting the word out and convincing Kickstarters to participate. The great thing about Kickstarter is that friends and family can't just tell you that your idea has potential, they have to take action in order to show support.
I've spoken with several potential manufacturing partners. After receiving samples from each of them I ultimately settled on one and have been working with this group for the past few months. This supplier is currently producing large scale, complex products for a friend of mine. The products have continued to be high quality and delivered on time. I'm confident that my supplier will continue to meet expectations in terms of product quality and production schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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