As I wrote here, a simple carabiner is one of the more useful items that I use on a daily basis. As I was making this discovery, fellow carabiner-lover and entrepreneur Mina Yoo was building a company around one. After giving birth to her first child, Seattle-based Yoo discovered that toting around a newborn baby and all of the attendant gear "is HARD!" Those experiences, combined with her hiking experience, left her wishing she had an extra set of hands. She subsequently designed the Qlipter, a carabiner with some simple modifications and additions:
The design is simple, elegant, functional, and well-conceived. More importantly, it's become a product design success: Yoo's company, Lulabop, has been selling the Qlipter steadily from 2012 to present day, and they've recently signed up a yet-unnamed major retailer and shipped their first order in the thousands.
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Here's Yoo explaining how she came up with it:
To those of you who'll sniff that the design doesn't look like much, then that very reaction should tell you something: Look around at what you find lacking in your own life, and figure out what relatively do-able thing you can design to improve it! With a little entrepreneurial spirit, perhaps you could be the next Yoo.