Interview with Helix: The World’s First Wearable Cuff with Stereo Bluetooth Headphones
Here at Ashley Chloe Inc., we envision the change of the landscape of hardware. Businesses that make sleek, fashion-friendly gadgets are the future. It’s no longer about big, bulky tech. The future is more fun.
We wanted to bridge the gap between high-fashion and functional design in the tech space, and we wanted to create something unique for music lovers – something that you can also show off a bit. A head set is fundamentally a product you want to carry around when you are on the go, but nobody has really solved the use case, what do you do with your ear buds when you’re not listening to music? There are different kinds of boxes and wrappers that usually come with the head set, but according to our study, most people still carry them in pockets and purses, all wires tangled up. We wanted to create an elegant solution to this problem.
Fashion and functionality are the principles on which the Helix was created. Helix solves the problem of dealing with tangled and easy to lose headphones. What do you do with your headphones when they aren’t plugged in? Instead of keeping them in your pocket or purse, access them in a fashion-forward cuff for easy convenience. It can take minutes to unravel earbuds. With Helix, you’ll plug in your headphones in just seconds.
How did you design and manufacture Helix?
In this particular product we were extremely limited with size, so we had to make sure everything plays well together and still sits nicely on the wrist. We basically had to consider very much everything together as one product, the headset, the control unit and the bangle, and not as separate elements. Obviously size was one of the main drivers for the headset, as users don’t want to carry something bulky on their wrist. At the same time, however, the headset needs to feel nice when users wear it and sound great too. I think we found a perfect balance for these factors.
We believe that the most interesting things happen in the in-between spaces. Therefore in the research phase of the product we looked at both, fashion and tech – both catwalk stuff and engineering. We wanted to create something new, and usually the new things come together from existing elements put together in a novel way.
Every day, we see new products that play with colors and shapes and try to grab attention using design tricks. Instead of a new design, we wanted to create a whole new product, something you’ve never seen before.
As the users will also wear the headset on their wrist, size is extremely critical factor. If the size grows too big, users cannot fit it nicely on their wrist anymore. This gave us lots of design constraints, but at the same time, constraints are fundamental for design and they push us to be more creative. In this case, size defined the orientation of the ear buds in the bangle, so that we still have enough space for the back volume behind the speaker for a great sound.
Helix was designed for people who are always on and always in style. We want to create something unique for music-lovers, tech users, and smartphone mavens. We want to deliver an incredible sound experience in a wearable that’s on the cutting edge of modern fashion trends. Our goal is to make carrying headphones convenient and fashionable. The discreet, miniature compartment inside Helix accomplishes just that.
In terms of manufacturing, we have a team of Industrial Designer and Engineering experts to work closely with our manufacturing sites for iterations and functional prototype development.
Tell us about your Kickstarter campaign. Did anything surprise you with Kickstarter campaign? Any anecdotes to share in creating and running the Kickstarter campaign?
We are very surprised that Kickstarter has a very close-knit community where creators of different campaigns are very willing to look out for each other and share tips with each other to better run the campaigns. [quote_right]”Kickstarter has a very close-knit community where creators of different campaigns are very willing to look out for each other and share tips with each other to better run the campaigns.”[/quote_right]
Kickstarter is a very happening platform that has a lot of organic traffic, the platform itself helps us a lot in terms of getting the early adopters in the market. The traffic we got on Kickstarter further re-assures that we are indeed designing something that people look forward to use! The comments and supports we got from backers around the world not only help us improve product designs and user experience, but also gives us tremendous encouragement.
Overall, Kickstarter is recognized worldwide and thus is a very valuable platform for creators who want to kickstart their projects. One last tip for future Kickstarter creators is that backers in this eco-system constantly crave for close interactions with creators and backers, so it’s extremely important to keep up the momentum by listening to and responding to backers’ ideas.
How did you create the video for your Kickstarter campaign?
We did extensive market researches to decide on the GTM strategy and target audience profiles. We then worked with production company to come up with story lines and to finalize the video flow.
Can you share tips for those considering crowdfunding their project?
For those who consider crowdfunding their projects, they should first consider which crowdfunding platform best suits the profile of their target audience, and then they can go from there. Media outreach is also very important for the creators to get their products known and to create viral effects.
What’s next for Helix?
Over the course of the campaign, we received lots of valuable comments and stretch goal ideas from backers, some of the ideas are very creative and are something that we never thought about prior to the campaign. And we take those ideas seriously! So the next step for Helix is really to work with our product design and engineer team to look into better ways to integrate those stretch goal ideas into our existing design! It’s a very natural and exciting evolution process running a Kickstarter campaign.