Sleeping in just hasn't been the same since the advent of the cell-phone alarm clock. Fiddling with a touchscreen first thing in the morning is hardly as satisfying as reaching over to the nightstand and whacking a snooze button. Now, a Charleston design team wants to bring back that old-fashioned wake-up experience with an alarm clock stand for the iPhone, complete with a snooze button.
The three-person company known as Distil Union is looking to sell its first product, a minimalist phone holder called Snooze, and they are asking for $50,000 in startup money via the fundraising site Kickstarter. The design is simple: a cradle made of maple and an oversized rubber snooze bar, meant to work in tandem with a new iPhone app that features a dimmable clock-face display and uses the volume buttons on the side of the phone for a snooze function.
"We just really were inspired by the proportions of the iPhone, making something that was as minimal but as functional as we could," says Lindsay Windham, the graphic designer at Distil Union.
Raising funds on Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition, so if the team doesn't get the entire $50,000 in pledges by July 26, they will receive no money. Donors give in exchange for incentives: $25 for a T-shirt, $40 for a Snooze, $800 for 20 Snoozes, etc. If the Snooze goes to market, it will be labeled for retail at $50 (or $60 with an optional fabric-covered iPhone charging cable). Parts will be produced in factories in the United States and possibly in Asia, and the final products will be assembled in the team's upstairs office at 161 King Street.
Two of Distil Union's partners, Nate Justiss and Adam Printz, met while studying industrial design at Auburn University. In the mid-2000s, Justiss, Printz, and Windham were all working together in Charleston at Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, where they helped design cases for iPods. When the Charleston office closed after international electronics giant Philips purchased DLO, the trio started doing contract design work together. They plan to release the Snooze as the first in a series of mobile accessories bearing the company brand.
"We don't necessarily need to go through the old way of getting things to retail, which is doing all the up-front costs yourself in order to put a product out there," Windham says. "We think it makes total sense to raise the funding from the people that want the product." The team plans to drum up support for the new product today at Pecha Kucha.