For the last several months we’ve been working towards making the year-old concept of Tinsel come to life. It blows our minds that we’ve come so far in such a short time – The Dipper’s Indiegogo campaign is alive and kicking as of just a few days ago - but the development process has really kept us on our toes. Here’s a little more about what it has taken to build The Dipper.
Looks Are (Almost) Everything
First, we had to find the right designer to translate our vision into a truly wearable product. We needed someone who knew enough about the engineering of audio products to create a concept that could actually be manufactured. We’re fortunate in that we found Phnam right away (finding a designer can take weeks, even months!) but that didn’t mean our work was done. We showed her our sketches and had more than a few conversations about the Tinsel vision.
Once she got started we saw initial concepts 2 weeks later, then it took another 2 weeks for us to narrow it down to The Dipper. We had a final design 6 weeks after the project began, so now we had to get the files over the factory… which meant we needed to choose one.
Make It Work
The vetting of factories began before we even had a design. Our partners at Amp Consulting knew what the components and functionality of the earbuds would be – 3.5mm jack, remote with mic, volume control – as well as the types of materials we were interested in working with, so they began the hard work right away of selecting factories in consideration of the job. Once the design was final we sent files to the factories for a mechanical review, and this is where they brought our attention to a range of things that needed to be adjusted, such as the best materials to use and strain relief for the earbuds.
The Dipper is a piece of jewelry, but it’s also a functioning pair of earbuds, so sound quality had to be top of mind. We looked at several headphones models in the market and even did a detailed spec breakdown for many of them. We assessed driver size, earbud shape, sensitivity, frequency range, impedance, and of course technologies like Bluetooth and noise-cancellation – all in order to decide on the ideal sound experience for our customer. So trust us when we tell you that you won’t be disappointed!
The Devil’s In the Details
Eventually in this early phase you have to make decisions just to see how the first sample is going to turn out. From the time product development began, we finished the first cosmetic prototype after 4 months.
There were a number of changes to make but we moved quickly and got our first functioning prototype 4 weeks later…while we were in Las Vegas for the Magic tradeshow and Wearable Tech Expo! We were so happy with how the prototype came out that we couldn’t wait to show it at the event. But we also knew there was more to be done and this sample needed to be analyzed to the smallest possible detail.
We had to assess the material, the weight, the size of the chevrons and all the external details, the color, the lengths of the cables, even the factory pointed out things they wanted us to pay close attention to. And this was just the beginning – the number of prototypes it takes to get to a perfect sample varies, and every prototype costs money. But the key is to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb well before production begins.
We’ve been at this for a little more than 6 months, and while we’ve been able to accomplish a great deal with plenty of milestones to celebrate, there’s no time to relax. Product development is a fluid experience, and all sorts of random things can come up that will result in new assessments, new decisions, and sometimes a new timeline. And remember, while all of this work has been going on we’ve also been trying to start a company and build a brand! So as excited as we are to have our campaign up and running, we won’t rest until The Dipper looks, sounds and feels absolutely perfect. And yes, that does take time…but it will be so worth it!
So there you have it, our journey that started in the Spring has arrived this Fall in the form of our incredible Indiegogo campaign. As Tinsel’s creators we’re so excited to see something that was a sketch on a napkin one year ago turn into a beautiful piece of hardware that we believe will change the world!
Ready to get The Dipper for yourself? Head over to Indiegogo and reserve yours now! There are still early bird units available!