Summer is knocking at the door- it’s time to grab your swimwear and flip-flops and hit the beach. However most of the flip-flops you find in the market are made with synthetic chemicals which are really harmful for your skin. Individuals with sensitive skin tend to get those nasty flip-flop rashes which are so hard to get rid of. Moreover ordinary rubber flip-flops aren’t so comfortable and it’s rather difficult to walk a long stretch them. They also wear out easily and the rubber stem between the toes peels the skin after a long walk.
Today we will introduce you to two young entrepreneurs who have come up with the perfect pair of flip-flops made out of completely organic ingredients. The rubber which goes into the making of these flip-flops have been directly harvested from the sap of rubber trees. In an attempt to find the perfect flip-flop they travelled to the rubber plantations in the interiors of India and Sri Lanka. It was here that they discovered the miseries of the rubber plantation workers who survive on meagre wages and live in truly despicable conditions. This is why they set out in search of rubber which has been harvested on fair terms with the workers and finally became a member of Fair Rubber Association where a large part of the profit is directly received by the rubber tappers. Heather the co-founder of Olli natural flip-flops explains, “my goal is to provide a choice to consumers where there wasn't one before. I'm committed to using natural materials in my products to lessen the impact on both workers and consumers".
If you are a working mother who likes to carry her kid along in the car then you surely know that a child’s car seat buckles requires you to apply 9 lbs of pressure to release. This is to make sure that the babies don’t get to unbuckle themselves in anyway. However there are many of us who are not able to put the required pressure due to arthritic conditions or because of pain and discomfort in the joints.
In this week’s Freshpreneur POP review we are going to talk about a very handy device which would help you release the car seat buckle easily. Barbara Heilman a therapist and her daughter Becca Davison have invented this practical little tool which would help the user unbuckle a child car seat buckle by applying minimal pressure. This would ensure that people with joint conditions can easily operate it without any hassle.
Speaking of her mother, Barbara, as the caregiver of her daughter, Becca relaid the following, "She quickly realized that because of arthritis in her thumb, she was unable to push the button of the car seat. As a result, she avoided taking her granddaughter out of the house, which was getting dull for both of them. She knew there had to be a way to feel more confident and comfortable taking her granddaughter out in the car, so she invented a solution”.
Being a backpacking enthusiast myself, I know exactly how it feels when you are deprived of a good night’s sleep in course of your travels. There have been many situations where I couldn’t find a proper bed to sleep and had to make do with my sleeping bag and one of those uncomfortable horse shoe shaped air pillows. It goes without saying that the next day invariably becomes a drag when you don’t get a proper sleep.
However you need not worry about your daily dose of sleep no matter if you are in an airplane, bus, steamer or a corner of a basement. This week’s Freshpreneur POP brings you a team of entrepreneurs who has created a one-of-a-kind neck pillow which is packed with loads of utilities. The Duo team which consists of a group of ardent travelers who have toured extensively in more than 60 countries of the planet has come up with a revolutionary travel pillow which would give the users all they need for a good night’s sleep.
Tanner Dame a member of the DUO team explains, “we wanted to create a better travel pillow, everything we had used to date didn't work so we packed all the features we felt were missing in the current travel pillows in the marketplace today".
The one thing which draws a line between the burglars and your house are those locks on your gate and front door. It goes without saying that you need to keep your keys handy at all times which is why you need a proper keychain which would hold all your keys together. These days nobody likes the bulky conventional key chains which keep jangling in our wallets or pockets as we move. Burc F Aksoy and his team of collaborators have come up with an innovative answer to all our key chain requirements.
“We have worked hard on our product and have prepared our campaign very carefully,” says Burc.
Are you a fitness enthusiast who likes to take a sip from your protein shaker bottle after a workout session? Then surely you must be disgusted with all those remnants of powdery clumps in your shaker after every use. The big clumps of your protein powder which stick to the bottom of your shaker are indeed very hard to remove even after vigorous shaking. These days you can find motorized bottles in the market but even these motorized shakers come with leaky rubberized seals which tend to become odorous with time. Moreover the motorized shakers cannot be easily cleaned and thus leads to bacteria build up. These motorized bottles come with a hole at the bottom which naturally makes it leakage prone. “We experienced all of the above and we needed a better option,” explains Jonathan Rauchfuss, “so we built it.”
Attention all baking enthusiasts! Your time in the kitchen is about to get a whole lot easier (or at a minimum less messy when it comes to clean up after the mixing). The man to thank for this is Matthew Michel of Los Angeles, California. He and a team of collaborators found “an answer to wiping all the loops of a whisk at once”, while historically “many of us have done [this] with our fingers or tongues”.
Michel, a self-proclaimed inventor, has also patented simple enhancements to hair clippers for those intimidated by their buzzing whirl—namely young children and pets. These businesses, Calming Clipper and Scaredy Cut, respectively, have been going strong for five years. Michel firmly believes in manufacturing his products in the US as “having domestic production is key to quality control”.
“The first prototype [of the latest invention] was made in a day with silicone gasket in a cardboard mold and it still works great!”
What time is it? If you just glanced at your phone or corner of the computer screen then perhaps it is time to get a watch. Personally a watch is something that I have to have on me at all times. It is not just about fashion but functionality.
For those of us who already have watches we understand that certain social settings require different time pieces. And can one have too many watches? Perhaps so, but it is always worth looking at the latest models.
One such model comes from two entrepreneurs in Canada who have teamed together to form a new brand of watch. Quentin Trudeau is the marketing guru bringing sales and marketing experience from a background with Swiss Watches and Vikentiy Gryaznov is the designer—a well-known watchmaker in Russian. They have come Kickstarter to launch their watchmaking venture.
“I always wanted to bring luxury watches to a more understandable and affordable level,” says Trudeau.
Are you wanting to migrate that business idea from idea to conception? If so you are not alone. Or perhaps you have an idea that you have begun to monetize but something is holding you back from achieving that next level of growth or development.
Today I will introduce you to a group of six entrepreneurs located in Milan, Italy. They have been working on a project that they are certain will help you with your business. The team understands that entrepreneurs and small business owners have to wear many hats from boss to employer to self-motivator to number cruncher. Because of this revolving door or roles and responsibilities key parts of the business like vision and long-term planning can be overlooked by the louder more urgent matters. Cristina Marsan, head of the group, wants to help you and others stop overlooking key parts of your business.
“Our dream starts with an innovative book-planner, precise in each and every detail, which guides entrepreneurs, businessmen, and anyone just starting out in the business world down the road to success, day after day. A kind of personal coach that’s always on hand,” says Cristina.
Many of the promising start-ups of today have really fantastic origin stories to share. The latest New York fashion brand, The Forever O.G. Pants by Wonderous, also has a fantastic personal tale to offer. In 2013, while Jeff Chang was working as a restaurant server at a cheap wage, he faced regular problems with buying good quality and durable fashion pants. “I tried to save money by buying cheap, fast fashion pants from H&M and Zara, only to have those pants break apart shortly thereafter. I even went the route of buying expensive pairs of pants, but I wasn’t able to wear them for longer than a couple months since I was losing weight at the time”, says Jeff.
He was deeply unsatisfied with the limited options of cheap clothing products available in the American market and the low quality of these products. In 2014, while Jeff was working at Maker’s Row in Dumbo, Brooklyn, he frequently came across many American manufacturers and soon realized a reoccurring theme of frustration among them that had been affecting the American manufacturing industry as a whole—“the average consumer doesn’t value quality anymore”. Jeff realized he was not the only one who was disappointed with the cheap, “marked-up clothing from independent retailers with rigid customer service policies”.
The fashion gurus unequivocally admit that there has been an ever growing demand for designer footwear and stylish dress shoes in recent years. A new luxury shoe brand – JLT Wear – has recently arrived on the scene with a promise to make a big difference. Originally, JLT was a family-run ship construction business in North East England that had quite a reputation for excellent craftsmanship, durability of its products and trustworthiness. With their successful run of 150 years they are now trying their hands in the shoemaking business. When Andre Li founded JLT Wear in 2016, he wanted to revive that old reputation of his family business and produce affordable high quality men’s shoes and boots ‘with a touch of world class’. It’s easy to find shoes you love but can’t afford likewise it’s easy to find shoes you can afford, but don’t love. From this frustration was born JLT Wear. JLT Wear promises to pay passionate attention to all aspects of workmanship which had once made the family shipbuilding business quite renowned.
There was a time in history when the textile mills of England clothed almost the whole world! However, that era is long gone and in recent years textile manufacturing in UK has taken the backseat. Drake & Hutch’s British-designed, British-made socks are an attempt to revive the heyday of textile production in UK. While working as a buyer of high street brands, Peter McGuiness, the owner of Drake & Hutch, was “always disappointed at the amount of clothing that was made in the UK, especially by brands that promoted themselves as being British”. Peter wanted to find a remedy to this bleak situation in the home industry. “I wanted to create a label that brought textile production back to the UK and supported British jobs”, says Peter.
Thus the Drake & Hutch was born. Based in Lancashire at the North-West England, this young business has partnered with the oldest sock mills of UK to supply good quality, comfortable and stylish British-made socks. They strive to bring a resurgence of skilled, good quality textile production in UK that has been long lost. To this end, they have collaborated with the best cotton growers, millers and socks-makers.
Nowadays, many of us have become increasingly concerned about our fitness and have started doing rounds at the local gym. However, it is often hard to get time off your busy work schedule to drive up to the local gym and spend time on a thorough workout there. You can workout at your home too but then you’ll be missing out on all those high quality fitness products and gadgets that you find in a gym. Not anymore! Now, you can say goodbye to the gym and start having effective workout sessions at home! With Joe Sanseverino’s Tension Toner, a high quality exercise gear you can easily work on more muscles and burn more calories and you need no gym to do that! “My Phone Book Ripping Grandpa Inspired My Invention”, says Joe. When he was a kid, Joe’s grandfather, who was a workout-lover himself, had showed him some techniques of exercising with a towel. It had been quite effective in spite of the fact that a towel gave you no feedback that’d tell you if you were pulling it hard enough. Also, there was no way to raise the difficulty level of the exercise. This inspired the design of Joe’s Tension Toner. He started thinking, “Well, what if there was a device that had two directions of resistance—one from pulling an exercise bar apart, and the other direction of resistance coming from resistance bands.” He started making numerous drawings, prototypes, and tests along these lines and finally came up with the ultimate resistance workout gear—Tension Toner.
We say that necessity is the mother of all inventions. Nothing can be truer about the birth of SpeX Eyewear which was born out of a little personal accident. When the only prescription eyewear of Chris Nieves, one of the manufacturers, inadvertently fell to the ground and instantly broke, a bright idea flashed before his mind – why couldn’t he just make a pair of durable yet stylish glasses on his own with a 3D printer?
While talking to friends and family Chris realized that eyewear issues and problems are quite common. They are quite expensive to start with and not customizable at all. On the top of this the usual prescription glasses that we buy in the market are easy to break; especially the hinges split with the slightest undue exertion on them or any accidental impact. From this stemmed the brilliant idea of a crowdfunded start-up that’ll manufacture affordable, fashionable, customizable and durable eyewear for the community – the SpeX Eyewear! For the actual manufacturing of this unique product Chris Nieves and his talented team of experts are in collaboration with other small but equally creative businesses in the USA. “Basically since the techniques are not known in the USA we are partnering with only small businesses that actually give back to their communities to bring the eyewear to life”, explains Chris. “We are making the technology and expanding it to bring it to our backers. We have had to use 3D printing technologies, the latest in 3D designing software, and the most advanced testing software, in order to make our dreams a reality.”
A pen that not only writes well but also comes with an elegant, ergonomically efficient design is always a good companion. The KOSMOS Pen is an effort to produce such an ideal pen with the help of crowdfunding available at Kickstarter.
The KOSMOS Pen start-up has been conceived by stilform, a Munich-based design firm operated by Christoph Bohrer, Alexander Schmitke and Martin Wagner. Founded in 2013, this design studio specializes in making innovative home as well as industrial products. For these young designers cum entrepreneurs, designing is essentially a process of offering creative solutions for everyday issues and problems. Not only are the desired functions incorporated into the products, but emotional and aesthetic elements provide influential tones in every design made by stilform. Nature is their main source of inspiration and they show a genuine knack for visually attractive products with clear outlines and conforming to modern aesthetic language. The company is a proud winner of a number of prestigious design awards including the ‘Red Dot Best of the Best award’ (2016), ‘Red Dot design award’ (2014), ‘International Bicycle Design Competition’ (2014) etc.
The first two months of the year are gone and I for one find it hard to believe that the year is passing so quickly. Time does that. It just rhythmically ticks on into the future with or without our consent. What about my plans, goals, and future? I have a big whiteboard in my study that I use as a calendar; it is now March (60 days into the new year) and I have not used it once. It still says January at the top with a blank grid beneath it. I don’t have time to plan my time!
So why all the fuss about time? Well this week’s Freshpreneur POP is about a young entrepreneur from Honolulu, Hawaii, Sharon Kim, who has created a planner to document, coach and buoy up the ones you love in what may be the last moments you have with them on this earth. It is a planner for cancer patients.
“While my mom was battling cancer, I realized that there was no tool to help us stay organized with all the information pertaining to her health,” explains Sharon. “My family and I were struggling to keep track of her medications, symptoms, mood, diet, etc. so I started to make my own daily planner for it. After she passed away, I quit my job and dedicated my life to creating a tool that'll help guide cancer patients and caregivers towards recovery.”
One of the latest crazes, that subsequently is becoming more of a go-to norm for manufacturing entrepreneurs, is 3D printing. Just a few short years ago this technology didn’t exist but is now creating an explosion of prototyping and beta testing while dramatically reducing product lead time. While most of us are still grappling with these tools other entrepreneurs are on to the latest and greatest—in this case 3D knitting.
In 2014 in Los Angeles, California co-founders Xiaoxi Shi and Jackie Hung formed a lifestyle brand utilizing 3D knitting. Shi is a successful product designer with plenty of awards and accolades to prove it. Hung is the entrepreneur who likewise has a solid track record in successfully launching startups, namely in the consumer products arena.
Together Shi and Hung have come to Kickstarter for the necessary capital from enthusiastic backers to make the venture real—like 3D knitted real. “We need a minimum volume to kick off production and ensure that the machine has its best efficiency,” says PR spokeswoman Amanda Bugarin. And with one week remaining in the campaign and over 150% of needed funds raised the founders have continued their streak of success.
Crowdfunding is such a beautiful thing. People from all over the planet from different backgrounds with varying perspectives and a wealth of ideas and creativity come together to produce something beautiful. Okay, maybe that is a bit idealistic but it doesn’t diminish the fact that crowdfunding is changing the way we create and do business. Today’s case in point of channeling creativity into something beautiful comes from Hong Kong. A team of eight, headed by co-founders Chanasinj Sachdev and Neill Myers have been working on a novel concept since late 2014 and are now introducing it to Indiegogo backers to bring it to fruition. Oh, and I almost forget to mention a key team member, Bubby the office cat!
For the outdoor buff a time piece should be practical and functional under extreme circumstances—never holding back its owner. Of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ryan McDonnell couldn’t agree more. As a long-time enthusiast of fashion and multi-purpose products McDonnell has taken to Kickstarter to bring to light an idea of his own.
Long live style and authentic Italian craftsmanship. If you are at all a fan of handbags, purses or carry-ons then you will greatly appreciate what this Kickstarter has to offer. With the tag line “unconventional luxury at a fair price” Paolo Fabozzi, the campaign owner, wishes to disrupt the brick-and-mortar retail price markups by delivering made-to-order handcrafted leather bags.
“[Our] mission is to innovate while still respecting and enhancing Italian tradition,” says Fabozzi.
The four cofounders of the Naples, Italy-based operation are passionate about affordable, quality luxury. Paolo is the acting Chief Executive Officer with 10 years’ experience in investment banking and consulting. Marica, the Chief Brand Officer, emerges from a tax law background. Sergio, with a specialized career in international organizations, is the Chief Marketing Officer. And last but not least the Chief Creative Officer role falls to Andrea, an entrepreneur several times over.
Today’s feature comes from Rosemary Beach, Florida and is headed up by Todd Rice. Rice is a self-described “father, husband, designer, professor, problem solver, innovator, investor and amongst all things, entrepreneur.” He has built a successful company and is now seeking to develop a pet project through Kickstarter.
“With my career in the digital space and my love of toys, I found myself wanting to work on projects that combine the digital and physical worlds in order to create a symbiotic relationship between the two,” says Rice.
A key inspirational source for the creation of this crowdfunding campaign is Rice’s daughters and nieces. However, the invention by no means is limited to the female youth demographic but is applicable to all—or at least those who have smartphones.