Caroubelle

Wearable technology

Thus an Idea Was Born…

I’ve always liked making things with my hands. I was a crafty little one back in the day. When I came into computer science I was in front of a computer all day programming and I couldn’t help but feel a little empty. Creating things in virtual world is fun and all but I wanted something tangible, something I could hold. That’s when I decided to invest my interests in wearable technology. I envisioned the best of both worlds, programming a microprocessor to create something physical for all to enjoy in reality! It was with this passion that I thought of making a 21st century locket, a necklace projector!

Branding

I was participating in Fashion Week San Diego, so I had to figure out my brand well before my product was born so that I can partake in marketing and promoting my brand. This was difficult because I had little expertise in branding. I knew what I wanted my brand to say but I wasn’t sure if I could embody that into a logo on such short notice. I began sketching immediately. I looked at other designers such as Tory Burch and Louis Vuitton for inspiration. I felt stylistic letters were the best approach to represent a high quality fashion brand as opposed to a silhouette of a picture.

I made many sketches to figure out how I wanted the spacing and logo to look like

Prototyping & Testing

I went through many iterations to get a minimal viable product in place. At first I had thought I needed a microprocessor to program the light on and off but then realized I could simply do that with a button or battery pack. This cut the cost down significantly since a microprocessor is 20X more expensive than a small battery pack. It took a while to swallow my ego and go with a more economical approach; I had wanted to prove my programming skills and ability to work with hardware but realized that if I went against my intuition it would not be a scalable product.

I also tested through many different lenses. I went through concave and convex lens and sizes from .5–2 inches trying to figure out which one consumers would best respond to. I went out and showed a sample to random people to get a second opinion and found the the smaller the better; people like the minimalist look. After securing the important components of the projector necklace, I went on to figuring out how to encase the wires. I ended up using metal tubing so it has a futuristic clean but elegant look to it.

Development

FINALLY! After 6 months of designing I was able to put together a finished product. I had failed and iterated through the design for so long I was worried I wouldn’t meet the deadlines for the fashion show and no one would get to experience my work. The pain paid off because I had a firm design in place, it didn’t take long to make it and I went from having $50+ in material costs for one necklace to just $21, I had cut more than half of my resource costs! I learned to solder in order to wire the light and battery and thus the world’s first 21st century locket was born!

Marketing

Beyond the branding, I also had to market myself. So what did I do? Well aside from attending monthly fashion events to network, I decided to create an Instagram! Social media is free and one of the best ways to get your name out there nowadays so I made sure to post every week so I could have an internet presence and share with others my art and creativity!

I also created a website using SquareSpace because it was quick and easy. I made the decision to use SquareSpace instead of coding out the site because it allowed me to focus on building my brand which was essential to my product. If you would like to check it out click on the link below!

https://caroubelle.squarespace.com/#cover

Moving forward, I got together a team of models, make up artist, photograper and got to work! It was difficult capturing the projected picture because of distortion of light but with a lot of trial and error we were able to get some good shots. I was very lucky to have such a dedicated team on board to embark with me on my journey.

My friend drew the art that is projected on the wall and I built the necklace!

To Be Continued…

I am still working on this project as I hope it becomes more popular and that it will entice more women to get involved in the engineering industry. I hope to grow in wearable technology and find a way to incorporate microprocessors and heavy programming in my future line of work.

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