November 8, 2013
In 2007, Nokia did a study about how different people carry their cell phones. Jason Reid and Claude Aldridge found this study intensely fascinating because it opened their eyes to the fact that a majority of women carry their cell phones in a bag or purse of some kind.
But why was this important to them? Because, as the study reported, while 8 of 10 women carry their phone that way, they miss about 50 percent of their incoming calls.
And this applies not only to women, but to all people who decided their phone is better off in their briefcase, backpack, or desk. The problem is that you don’t hear your phone ringing or you can’t find it in time to answer.
Armed with that insight, the two decided to quit their jobs and found Trellie, where they developed their first product also named Trellie. The small device attaches to the outside of your bag, connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and lights up when you have an incoming call.
“We see this first product as the stepping stone for Trellie’s vision to revolutionize technology solutions for women and their families,” says Reid. “We want to create products that help save time, provide peace of mind, and enable better communication with those who are most important.”
But tackling the challenge of getting this simple product to market was easier said than done. Determining the color of the device, developing a metallic look from plastic, choosing a color for the light, and deciding whether to use rechargeable batteries took time and patience.
About one year after starting out, Reid and Aldridge got Trellie into the hands of those who could use it most and began seeing healthy adoption. Their customer feedback to date is overwhelmingly positive.
But as we all know, there are countless other notification systems available to the public. Most notably, Samsung recently released their Galaxy Smartwatch.
“Juniper Research recently predicted the ‘wearables’ market will be $19 billion by 2018,” says Reid. “We believe it will be even bigger.”
Reid and Aldridge have big plans for Trellie in the wearable space, and they want it to be a key player as the market segment continues to grow. Since comparing Trellie to the Galaxy Smartwatch is like comparing apples to oranges, they have decided to focus on marketing to carve out their own space.
They launched Trellie at New York Fashion Week earlier this fall, were featured in SkyMall, and were on KC Live recently. The road ahead is long, and the challenges are many, but Reid and Aldridge are maintaining a high level of confidence in Trellie.
Being positioned in Kansas City, a city ripe with telecommunications and mobile companies, has helped them stay positive. And the large, fast-growing entrepreneurial community to celebrate their victories with isn’t too shabby either.
Trellie was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Kansas City Mixer & Startup Showcase on October 17th.
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