The Premise. As we rely on our smartphones ever more for streaming audio content, earbuds are increasingly tucked in and around our ears. However, figuring out what to do with them when you need both your ears and hands free be a challenge.
The Product. Frank Cho conceived Zipi as he walked from his parked car into his work building with only two minutes of a podcast left, three minutes until start time, and highly keen to finish listening. No worries. The magnetic earbud strap would keep the earbuds in place and free up his hands to pause the podcast, gather his things, open and shut the car door, unpause, and proceed to sneak past the boss. Bonus: because Zipi uses neodymium magnets, the strongest magnets on the market, he also managed to avoid hearing or speaking to his least favorite coworker who is directly along the route to his cubicle. Zipi is also easy to attach to earbuds and grips onto itself for easy transport. And if the florescent yellow color in the video seems too painful to look at, there’s always the option of stylish translucent white, teen girl hot pink, computer geek black, and pop culture aqua.
The Pitch. The video for the $6,000 dollar campaign is presented professionally with a nice, feminine, empathetic voiceover actress and demonstrations of the product by Frank Cho that just might have Emmy award winning potential—ok, slight exaggeration. The video also highlights that Zipi is easy to wear and take off, isn’t bulky, and like a good neighbor, is always there when needed. In addition, the magnetic connectors keep it from snagging on clothes and help prevent the risk of breaking a nail. The Perks. For $10, backers get a Zipi strap in the color of their choice, which is really pretty reasonable. One should note, though, that Zipi is compatible with the original Apple earbuds and EarPods. It has not been tested with other types of earbuds. The earbud accessory is anticipated to be available for delivery by September 2014.
The Potential. Zipi is an item that has a large addressable market — from student to homemaker to blue collar worker and even hip grandparents. That it comes in multiple colors means backers can color coordinate with any outfit, which adds potential cosmetic appeal. The most similar item to Zipi presently on the market would be neck strap earbuds, but these don’t have the advantage of the magnetic connectors and easy self-grip transport of Zipi.