It's the ultimate Kickstarter success story. Unable to secure a manufacturer, the Chicago-based designer Scott Wilson placed his TikTok and LunaTik wristbands — which convert the Nano into a watch — on the funding site. Within a month, he raised nearly $1 million from 13,500 backers — a Kickstarter record. All of a sudden, retailers came calling, including the most prestigious of all: Apple, which is rolling out the wristbands in North American stores this week.
"A lot of people just don't have the instincts to know whether it's going to sell, so they just don't want to gamble," Wilson says. 'But to see it globally accepted across 50 countries, that's not much of a risk.' But before operation Kickstarter, even Apple wasn't convinced people would pay more for high-grade materials. "I bounced it off of different contacts at different retail channels, and they all decided that it needed to be in that $34.95 to $35.95 sweet spot," Wilson recalls.
76% of Wilson's backers bought the Nano because of the watchband.
The Kickstarter experiment proved them all wrong: Twice as many $79.95 LunaTiks, the bands with the premium aluminum case, were sold than the plastic $39.95 TikToks. "And then we added a black one for $89, and it actually sold better than the other two combined," Wilson laughs. He sold 21,120 units on Kickstarter and went on to sell roughly 20,000 more through LunaTik.com. That caught Apple's attention.
As did another intriguing piece of data: In a survey sent to his backers, the designer asked, How many of you bought the Nano because of the watchband? Turns out, a whopping 76% of them. Consumers thought the Nano was cool, but it had been eclipsed by the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. Wilson's products, in his words, "gave the Nano a home." It's one of the few cases of an accessory generating sales of the core product and gave Wilson the leverage to negotiate with Apple as an independent producer.
The wristbands will still be available at LunaTik. Apple will be carrying the LunaTik in silver and red ($79.95) and the TikTok in black and white ($39.95).