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!