Yes, we built a better rubber band.
Friends and family of Pete Evenson and Martha Spelman have been hearing snippets about our work on Packbands, a storage and organization product we’ve been jointly developing over the last year. And now, we’re happy to say, that project is a reality! We just took delivery on our first 100 bundles -- three stretchy, colorful, adjustable straps packed in one beautiful, reusable bag. We'd like to bring you up to speed...
The design and manufacturing process has been a learning experience; at times challenging, often fun, but especially gratifying that we came up with an idea and executed. The idea is simple -- we thought it was surprising that it didn’t already exist. As is often the case with daily life issues: we think “Wouldn’t it be great if?” this problem could be solved…so we did…we built a better rubber band.
As a family of travelers, we've learned that the real ticket to organized travel was rolling clothes but also securing with a rubber band to keep clothing and accessories organized, especially if you are stopping at multiple destinations. But there’s a problem with rubber bands: they are sometimes hard to stretch around a rolled bundle, they wrinkle clothing and they break. We tried Velcro straps and they snag. Bungee cords, twist ties or other tie-downs aren't an option. Other methods have parts that can rust or break. Why not a better solution?
What are Packbands?
Packbands are 100% silicone, stretchy and easily adjustable, reusable, and have no moving parts to snag, break or rust. They are washable, UV-resistant, extremely durable and can withstand hot and cold temperatures. Because they open, have a button at one end and holes to adjust the size, they are very functional. And if you need a longer Packband? Join two together! Each Packband comes with a loop to hold the end; it is marked with a +/- sign to indicate clean or soiled clothing.
The Prototype Process
Our design process started with some brainstorming and a check to see if "packbands.com" URL was available. It was, and we took that as the first sign we should keep going. Then on to rough sketches and hand-cut attempts. We described our idea to an amazing illustrator, Wayne Watford, who visualized Packbands in 3D.
Next stop was John Wilson, who created our CAD drawings. We did a 3D print of our initial design after about four months. We began silicone prototyping (ask us anything about durometers) with our factory a couple months after that.
At each step, we'd do more market research (thank you friends and family!) and prototype again. After four rounds of design refinements and prototypes, we went into final production.
Working with designer George Renfro, we have great packaging and the direction for our website. Talented illustrator and photographer, Casey Montz, has contributed visual content to our website and social media. We’re working on a trademark and a patent (more fun challenges). And we look forward to the branded merchandise customization aspect of Packbands (for companies, teams, organizations, causes). Hello, NFL?
What’s been a revelation during this process is how many other uses there are for a better storage strap – literally, there may be hundreds. We show Packbands to people and see the lightbulb go off. Organize computer cables and extension cords! Stash sports, fitness and outdoor gear! Organize home and office! Attach, secure, organize, contain, hold, pack!
We are excited to continue this journey and discover, along with our customers, the many storage and organizationuses for Packbands. Want to know more? Visit packbands.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.