About a year ago I discussed some t-shirts and bracelet designs with my friend Kyle Crawford. I wanted to find other ways to promote my company, as business cards and weekly Flickr uploads only get you so far. He said they were a good idea, but the shirts would need a little bit of design work. So I got to work on the bracelets, something I was going to be taking on by myself. After browsing around online I eventually came to the conclusion that I wanted to create affordable lens bracelets. Something that would show you are a photographer, or that you have an interest in photography- even when you don’t have a camera hanging from your shoulder. I wanted to keep the design simple, mature and clean looking. Ideally anyone from sixteen year old Sally with a point and shoot to fifty-five year old Jim with three professional bodies and a lens belt could sport them.
I found the dimensions for an average silicone bracelet online and crafted up four designs, one for each one of my lenses. I posted online asking which lens people liked the most- it became clear that everyone’s favorite was the 50mm- I should have known that. I searched around online with my design and eventually found a company that was willing to supply me at a reasonable price. The minimum order was 100 a size. I didn’t really have enough money to make the other designs at first, so I just ordered 100 eight inch bracelets.
I started off by handing them out to my fellow photographer friends and gathering their addresses so I could send them a a couple to hand out to their friends. Everyone loved them- heck I was even wearing one all the time. I posted a picture of one online and got a rather good response from my twitter followers, I wanted to sell them but even the eight inch was big on my wrist- and my following is rather young. I ordered 200 more, half seven inch and half eight inch.
I put them up on my Big Cartel store and sold them for 10 bucks a pop. I sold a good amount, nothing crazy, but enough to make my money back. I took my remaining bracelets on Warped Tour with me for the summer. I would put them at the press table every few days with my business card inside of them, and hand them out to other photographers in the pit. In addition a lot of my friends that work in the industry/play in bands were wearing them. I was stoked, I still am. I get surprised every time I meet up with an artist and they are still wearing the bracelet on their arm. It means a lot to me as in my head I imagine that they take it off the moment I leave the room. Regardless, even people who weren’t photographers were rocking them.
I returned from Warped Tour and decided it was time to get a craft up other designs. Every week I would get an e-mail requesting a different design. Which is totally understandable, I wanted different designs too, after all I have more lenses than just the 50mm. I held some contests on Tumblr to help spread the word and gather some more money so that I could create new designs. I eventually came up a 70-200 made from light grey silicone and then soon after the 17-40mm 24-70mm , and 35mm . By no means are these complicated designs, it’s just one of those things I got lucky with and thought up before anyone else. You know? I am surprised no one has ripped me off yet, I thought it would have happened sooner. At this point in time I was trying to get them in stores, and place advertisements online. I got turned down by almost everyone, I don’t think i was very good at selling my concept. I eventually designed a few more bracelets to add to my collection the other 50mm , 24-105, and the 85mm
Turns out that those Tumblr posts did more than I thought- a staff member at Photojojo stumbled on a reblog of the bracelet and I was contacted the next day by one of their buyers. I was stoked, their site had killer photography gadgets, smart design, and the team running it was very friendly. I wish I could be as clever and witty as them when it comes to descriptions, their site makes me laugh. I looked over the site and decided that yes, my bracelets would fit perfectly with their products. We eventually settled on a wholesale deal that included two of my designs, the 50mm and the 24-70mm. They did a soft launch about a week ago, and I believe the official release is today. Either way, the soft launch went very well, much better than I was expecting. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but two days after the release Photojojo contacted me to stock up on some more bracelets- so everything appears to be going great!
Below are some website front pages that the bracelets were featured on.
This is by far the best comment I could find, it made me laugh- I have always wanted to be a hipster!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. Hopefully this all goes over well, cross your fingers for me!
Are these available in Europe anywhere? Swedish customs have a tendency to add about a gazillion in fees, taxes and so on, and I really want a couple..
Keep up the good work.
Unfortunately they are only available online- however I only mail out gifts with very low values... if you catch my drift.