Wiens is the inventor of Zubits magnetic laces, a former Kickstarter smash hit that went viral and turned the company into a household name — well, in geeky households, anyway. Now he’s back with his second-generation Zubits 2.0 magnetic lace holder — and with mere days left on the Kickstarter clock, he’s once again smashed through his target amount of $30,000 and is currently somewhere north of $300,000.
For those keeping track at home, that’s a whole lot of people who never want to tie their laces again!
“There are six new colors, which is something people have been asking us for,” Wiens told Digital Trends. “The more significant update, though, is the new securing clip. When you lace the Zubits onto the shoes, the ends need to be tied-off, either inside or outside the shoe. The clips that we were previously licensing from another company had too many loops and ties. It took too long to get everything installed, and then once it was installed it was pretty much set in stone. Our new security clips are much easier to install and adjust.”
Recounting the origins of his futuristic magnetic laces, Wiens said that it all came from his kids. “I have three boys, and when they were young, they had Velcro shoes,” he noted. “We noticed that it took them quite a while to even put on Velcro shoes; there was a loop to be reversed and tied-off. That was the impetus for the idea. We wanted to make a shoe — and at that time it was a whole shoe concept — that was easy for kids to put on. I kept working on it, but it was tough. It’s incredibly difficult to launch your own line of shoes.”
While he was working on the idea, Wiens said he began playing around with the MagSafe connector on his MacBook and was surprised by just how strong a connection it created. Before he knew it, he had the basis for his idea. “A magnet is a no-manipulation fastener,” he said. “It requires no buttoning or clasping. Eventually I realized that I didn’t have to build a whole shoe: this could be an attachment to anyone’s existing shoe or laces.”
Wiens is no stranger to successful Kickstarter campaigns, but he pointed out that even an enormously successful one isn’t without its challenges. “It’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “When we blew up the first few days of our first campaign, it felt really good — but there was tons of pressure on me. We started getting lots of publicity, lots of requests, I even went on Good Morning America. I hadn’t run a business before. I still had to go through the manufacturing, shipping the product out to 7,000 people, and all of these other things I was learning on the job. It felt great, it felt exciting, but it also felt scary.”
So is Zubits 2.0 a Kickstarter success he’s able to enjoy a bit more then?
“This second one has been a lot easier,” he told Digital Trends. “Now I know that we can do it.”
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