As the founder of Timbuk2, Rob Honeycutt spent over a decade and a half in the messenger bag industry, before selling the company to move on to his next venture. The former bicycle messenger has since turned his attention to the 21st Century (/First World) problem of cable management for the earbud-tethered masses. Not content to incorporate low-tech clips into zipper pulls and buttons, he recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his most ambitious solution to date. Known as the Elroy (the logo refers to the Jetsons character's helmet), it's essentially a customizable Bluetooth remote that attacks the problem at its source: the cord itself.
The clip-on device is roughly the size of a lighter, featuring a customizable the front panel—the ten options at launch range from faux snakeskin to a meme-y gray tabby—which belies its touch functionality: tap to answer a call, swipe for volume, etc. A complementary pair of earbuds has a short cord; magnets on the sides of the Elroy hold the 'buds in place when not in use.
While I must admit I didn't know that Timbuk2 was a pioneer of the personal customization trend (circa the mid-90's), I agree that portable music players and smartphones are an obvious market for personal expression via accessories. Similarly, I didn't realize that Honeycutt was a champion of American manufacturing:At Timbuk2 [where I applied mass customization], I was able to take orders for mass customized product online and ship product, usually within 24 hours. I've run manufacturing in the US in an industry with products requiring high labor content. I've worked with both domestic manufacturing and off-shore manufacturing across a wide variety of products...
I personally spent well over 10,000 hours doing actual line production at Timbuk2. I understand on a personal and visceral level what production workers face on a daily basis. I know how to transform what has the potential to be a meaningless drudgery into a meaningful and engaging work experience.
Unfortunately, they've only raised a fraction of the $150,000 they're seeking as of press time (about 1/25, to be precise), and, at more than halfway through their campaign, it seems unlikely that they'll raise $144 large in under two weeks.
In any case, if you find the Elroy remotely interesting, be sure to check out our recent interview with designer Brook Banham on the occasion of the launch of his independent design studio.