2015, Kickstarter project
Whether a tablet or leather jacket, if our belongings are misplaced we have little chance of being reunited with them. ECHO Tags provide a simple and convenient method of identification for everyday items, to reduce the risk of loss. The project was featured on Kickstarter in late 2015; you can view the project here.
In modern times, we find ourselves on-the-go with many valuable items, from mobile phones and laptops, to cameras and headphones. Generally speaking, none of these belongings have an easy method of identification. Echo Tags were developed to combat this issue.
I carried out surveys with my target market to understand their attitude towards belongings, and experiences with losing things. Following this, I created consumer profiles, competitive analysis, product feature matrix and other market research techniques to evaluate the opportunities. Through the research, I gained some interesting insights which helped to shape the solution.
“I am always paranoid about my gear in public places, like cafes and trains”
"I recently lost my USB stick and keys"
"Suitcase got taken by someone else in airport, who had the same-looking one!"
Design & prototyping
The most appropriate solution I discovered was a removable tag, which featured the owners details. Although I wanted the result to be a far cry from the typical plastic solutions already on the market. Each tag is made from satin polished stainless steel with laser-etched details and a durable 'vegan leather' cord.
Despite the simplicity, a surprising amount of work went into developing the tags, to achieve the best result with materials, finishing and laser etching. I made the first series of prototypes to refine the design, before sourcing manufacturers to produce final product samples. Initially, I worked with 3 Chinese suppliers (with varying results) , but ultimately opted to work with local suppliers instead, for more clarity and a faster turnaround on parts.
Despite no intention of building a long-term brand, I still considered it important for the product to be branded. This entailed the creation of a product name, logo and product photography. The subsequent campaign design was also
Being an amateur photographer, I was eager to create the marketing content for the brand and the campaign. I was fortunate to have some friends willing to participate. A video is a fundamental element to a crowdfunding campaign, so I allowed enough time for the shooting and post-production. In hindsight, my approach to the video can be seen as 'incorrect' for crowdfunding purposes though. It failed to discuss my story and the idea behind the product - which is often seen as an important element.
This solo project was an initiative to experiment with crowdfunding and provide a learning experience into this exciting method of raising capital. Unfortunately the campaign didn’t raise enough funds to be successful - 2000eur @ 55% funding. Despite this, the process proved to be a very valuable learning experience. I discovered (the hard way) the importance of promotion and growing an audience prior to launching a campaign - which is the main reason it didn't succeed. The project was fun to do though and I look forward to applying my learnt knowledge to a new campaign in future.
From ideation, to sourcing suppliers, to shooting the video, to building the campaign, I learnt a lot and tested my skills with this project. It required a lot more effort than I initially anticipated, but it was certainly valuable experience.
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