Jim Letourneau's Blog

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Kickstarter for Boomers

Jawbone Up  is a product that is becoming popular but is not a household word yet. An Up is part of the wearable computing trend. An Up is part of the quantified self movement. An Up is made of rubber. More specifically medical-grade, hypoallergenic rubber. My wife bought one a few months ago.

My wife likes to dress up. She has a very large closet. She loves her Jawbone Up but she's not thrilled with its appearance when she's going out on the town. She's been to Coachella but prefers Broadway shows, opera and ballet.

It didn't take long for her to complain about the appearance of her bracelet. I didn't give it much thought but I agreed (the secret to a happy second marriage) and said that she needs one with sparkles or rhinestones on it. This led to some conversations with one of her friends. It wasn't long before Pat started experimenting. First she checked to see if covering an UP bracelet with material would effect its performance. Then they had a seamstress make a few prototypes out of different materials. Lace looked nice but was difficult to pull onto the bracelet. Stretchy fabrics worked very well. Julia and her friend Pat were encouraged enough to start a business around the idea and Dress Up Fitness Bracelets was born.

Big names like Rupert Murdoch and Gwyneth Paltrow happily wear rubber bracelets. Is this a case of the Emperor's New Clothes? I don't think so. Rubber bracelets are the new activist ribbon. Remember the Wayfarer 515 crash on Breaking Bad followed by Albuquerque residents wearing light blue and orange ribbons? It doesn't have to make sense, once the cool kids grab onto something, they make it so. Even rubber bracelets. They start conversations. Like a Macbook Air at a Starbucks did 2 years ago.

Livestrong's yellow bracelets were very popular and may explain the lack of yellow fitness bracelets on the market. We live in a world where the transgressions of a popular athlete can alter the colour trends of fashion. We're all just Sneetches.


When someone wears an activity tracking bracelet on their wrist, they're making a statement. "I track my sleep, I track my activity. I watch what I eat. Please please please ask me what this rubber thing on my arm is for."  Activity trackers are getting smaller but its no fun wearing one if nobody knows that you use one. I see a future where people will happily wear activity tracking earrings.  

A textbook marketing push by Jawbone during New York Fashion week got a great piece of press in the New York Post - Calorie counter is Fashion Week’s hottest accessory. In the article, New York designer Charlotte Ronson said that she’d like to see UP bracelets come in “different prints.”

I didn't really think too much about making a Kickstarter video. If you look at them they're as good as most Hollywood movie trailers. Slick as hell. I was using methods I taught my kids when they were in grade school.  My Donkey Kong graphics skills are not cutting it. We have help on the way and should have an awesome looking video up shortly.   

My wife has brought in some big supporters but with age comes friction and resistance to all things new. Two supporters want to pay by cheque, three people thought that Julia's email was hacked when she asked for support. Four people couldn't figure out what the campaign was about.  She's had several friends who say they've supported the project with no corresponding record of said donation.  Most boomers don't tweet and they're only on Facebook to see what their kids are up to. 

In spite of some challenges, with 10 days to go we are 38% funded. We have been amazed at the support we've received from family and friends which we know has been a leap of faith on their part. It isn't charity, it isn't angel investing, but it just might help Julia and Pat make fitness tracking bands look fantastic.

We need your help so please check out our project below.