MINIMAL – Scott Wilson
TikTok+LunaTik watch kits
TikTok+LunaTik watch kits
TikTok+LunaTik simply transform the iPod nano into the world’s coolest multi-touch watches. Obsessively designed and crafted from premium materials, TikTok+LunaTik complement the impeccable quality of Apple products.
MINIMAL Scott Wilson, Founder
Julie Lasky: Products like the iPod have launched an industry of sycophantic supporting devices; none has provided such a seamless context as these kits that turn the nano into a handsome, multifunctional watch. You have to look twice to see the Apple at the core of this invention. Sweeter yet is the way it was financed — via a Kickstarter campaign that brought in an astonishing $900.000.
TikTok+LunaTik watch kits
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
The challenge was to design watch conversion kits for the 6th generation iPod nano with seamless integration creating a premium looking product and avoiding looking like an afterthought. Apple customers expect a certain level of design refinement and the goal was to create products that complement Apple's commitment to quality. Since this was a speculative personal project the second challenge was to either get the idea adopted by a client/brand or figure out how to produce it as a studio. When very few external brands showed interest, we decided to try Kickstarter, an online crowd-funding platform for creative projects, to raise $15,000 to pay for the tooling and development.
It made the products, which essentially only existed conceptually and deemed as having “niche” appeal, very exciting to explore thru an alternative fundraising model. The studio founder believed there was market for the product and was up for the challenge of proving that crowd-funding could work when aligned with good design, storytelling, community, blogosphere and other viral factors.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
Contrary to what other accessory companies would predictably create for the nano, we believed that the consumer would appreciate and pay for premium materials and precision-crafted design. We were tired of the expected and temporary approach to commercial designed objects in large. So instead of designing the common rubber strap we focused on utilizing complementary materials and manufacturing processes. We wanted to create a conversation piece and a glimpse of what future wrist-wear could be, regardless if we made 100 or 1000.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
TikTok+LunaTik were born out of a personal passion for watches and timepieces but quickly captured the imagination of thousands around the planet via viral awareness and the crowd-funding platform. We assumed that there were enough Apple fans and tech geeks out there that had been dreaming of the "Dick Tracy watch" that we could justify a small production run. And we wanted to create products for the discerning Apple consumer and not just create a cheap accessory product as an afterthought. This was the driving force behind choosing to make this an in-studio experimental project and one that would not require us to compromise on the quality of manufacturing, retail, distribution by taking on an investor. Of course, we also had to think about how to manufacture LunaTik in precision aluminum and at a cost that was within reason. The design was intentionally constructed from two identical axially symmetric parts thus creating the two-part case from one part. And even though the user has to ultimately assemble the LunaTik around the nano, it is a rewarding and transformative experience in which we receive tremendous positive feedback. Our goal was never to enter traditional retail but with the success and awareness of the project, all the retailers and distributors came to us and we were able to turn the table and dictate terms.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
By involving the community in an open creation dialog, the design team was able to validate the designs at a global level almost instantaneously. There is nothing more validating than 13,000+ consumers putting their credit card down on something that doesn't exist (much more credible than global focus groups... and less expensive). The goal to raise $15,000 in 30 days turned into nearly $1M, shattering all Kickstarter records and crowd-funding beliefs. Other digital tools allowed the team to rapidly prototype precision parts to achieve the desired fit and quality before releasing for production. When considering manufacturing, 5 different processes were evaluated in regards to cost, schedule, precision and manufacturing waste. It happened that the most cost effective was also the most precise and most material efficient, which is rare. Overall, the project was incredibly efficient and streamlined mainly due to the fact that there was one decision-maker but at the same time possessed a transparency and inclusive vibe that was a refreshing change for consumers.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
TikTok+LunaTik essentially capture people's emotion and imagination. Not just from a product perspective but also as a symbol of what is possible leveraging good design, storytelling and emerging digital tools and platforms. It proves that design does not have to necessarily play by the dictated rules of big business. It is a shift that begins to give more power to the people and establishes product/idea relevance directly with the end user. If the user does not want it, the product will not be funded or made--which is inherently more responsible and sustainable. As a product, the LunaTik has a baffling global following for a singular accessory and is an instant conversation starter on many levels. Financially it has allowed a small studio to birth a new global product and maintain 100% equity and control without the using the traditional route of angels, VCs or loans. Another phenomena around this project was the statistic that out of the 25,000+ products sold in the first 30 days online, more than 80% of the customers were buying the nano because of TikTok+LunaTik. It is an unprecedented instance where the accessory drives the sale of the core product. From a big picture standpoint it marks a paradigm-shifting and game-changing event for DIYers, designers and aspiring entrepreneurs. The products are at the forefront of this game-changing inclusive platform that empowers aspiring entrepreneurs and designers to maintain control of their vision.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
The project is one to the smoothest and most efficient projects in the designer's 20 year career. That said, every project has its pain points and unknowns. Underestimating the effort and logistics of shipping 25,000+ products to over 50 countries in under 2 months would be the one thing we could have better prepared for had we foreseen the unexpected response. We also would have stated different target dates had we known how large and passionate the response was going to be. Under promise and over deliver definitely applies to this project. However, to go from concept to shipping in under 60 days with any product and new company is still an achievement we are very proud of.