Let's read what Eric Anderson (the CEO) and Lyndsay Anderson have to share:
1. How did the idea of friendship bracelets for same came to your mind? was there some kind of push or it happened after a brainstorm?
In August 2010 my family and I were sitting in our car north of Canon Beach, Oregon when my mother turned and asked if it might be possible to make a charm bracelet out of Facebook photos. My first thought was that the photos would be interchangeable, like small charms, and this seemed complicated because of all the moving parts. She elaborated, saying that a bracelet with your personal photographs could bring people back together, face-to-face, communicating directly and in person rather than in the digital space of social media. This was the origination of the concept but I only tentatively looked into until January 2011 when Kavan, my good friend from USC film school, and I started working on it everyday. From that moment on we had hundreds of small and a handful of large 'lightbulb moments' that eventually melded together to create what Wearshare is today. One of the best of those was formed through an idea to give two bracelets to our first 1,000 customers as a promotion. We immediately realized that giving two bracelets, of the same design, was a really fundamental part of the brand, to really make it a friendship bracelet and emphasize sharing: One to Wear, One to Share.
2. What are your first accessories related memories?
Growing up I always remember wanting to share friendship bracelets and necklaces with my friends. There were charms that girls would wear on necklaces, beaded bracelets and handmade string and yarn bracelets all around school. Being able to share these with your best friends or a group of friends made you feel accepted, loved and a part of something bigger than yourself. The coolest part was, they weren't 'too girly' for the boys to wear. It is a trend that has been happening throughout generations and seems to continue to evolve.
3. What did you do before working for WEARSHARE? Is WEARSHARE the only project you are working at?
Yes, Wearshare is our full time project right now. I am a carpenter by trade and have worked with my father building and remodeling homes for 13 years. Before Wearshare I was traveling through India after graduating from the film school at the University of Southern California (USC). Kavan, my business partner, and I actually met at USC when we both transferred into the program in 2005. Wearshare is our first startup venture, together or independently.
4. Are you planning on making WEARSHARE bigger concentrating not only on bracelets? double pendants or something like that?
We get that questions a lot. People say, 'diversify the product offering and up sell your customers!' I understand that and look forward to developing a line of high-quality photo printed apparel items. However, for now, we are focusing on revolutionizing the friendship bracelet, totally and holistically integrating a ubiquitously worn physical object with social networking.
5. A little survey for Inside and Outside blog: some say talented in fashion people usually try to make their toys look better (repainting for example) did you do something like that? And if you did then what?
I don't remember customizing my toys but we were always encouraged to be creative when we were kids. We had an art room, the carpet was pulled up, I remember my father spray-painted a big Easter bunny on the under flooring. Needless to say we were allowed to draw, paint, and build anything we wanted in that room. Before one of my birthday parties I turned my small dirt bike into a virtual reality game by putting lights inside my helmet and blacking out the visor. We charged money and gave members of my family rides on the motorcycle by pushing, pulling and lifting the bike. Lyndsay, my sister, and I put on a full action play in our upstairs. We built a set with false walls and soda cans hooked to fishing line that we would pull when we shot the cans with toy guns.
6. What makes your team work so well?
The concept itself is so compelling that as we started thinking about it, and working on it, the idea continued to open and reveal more and more layers of potential awesomeness. So, in those early days, we worked everyday chasing down a concept by trying to figure out what we needed to make it happen. We consistently broke the large vision down into small problems. For example, we started trying to print on white silicone, a photo bracelet version of the now ubiquitous rubber bracelets. We immediately started thinking about the UI of the website and the tools we wanted to give our users so that they could design really cool bracelets with their photographs. We imagined deep integration with existing social networks, Facebook, and later Instagram, as well as other integrations and features we have yet to launch. We also had to start tackling the manufacturing, shipping, and distribution problems. All in all, the secret sauce, was and still does lie in daily work, clear communication, delegation of responsibility, and fun. We have a really great time and its only getting better.
7. What's the best/worse Wearshare bracelets you have had come through?
We did a free giveaway in May 2012 and received 4,000 orders in 12 hours. At least half these bracelets featured babies and young children. After this we were confirmed in our theory that mothers will love Wearshare because its a new and unique way to show off their children. Some of the most unique mommy bracelets featured sonogram photos alongside photos of the child as an infant and toddler. The most touching are definitely the memorial bracelets we receive. In our first year we encountered many mothers who had lost children due to tragic accidents and a lot of teen deaths due to car accidents. I never expected to become a part of so many deep, painful stories through Wearshare. We've had some hilarious bracelets come through, there is one of an OG Hipster that cracks us up every time.
8. 2013 is fresh and new! What is fresh and new for Wearshare?
One of our main focuses for this year is partnering with nonprofit organizations (NPO's), lifestyle brands and celebrities to raise money for great causes. Every bracelet design has a Hub page, which is basically a profile for the design that presents the photos on the bracelet in full resolution and links through to the designer of the bracelet. In regards to development, 2013 will be about expanding the functionality of the Hub page. Imagine being able to design a bracelet for your boyfriend or girlfriend and include your favorite song on the Hub page, so that when they scan the bracelet, your song plays. That is one of the visions. Or imagine being able to show a video promoting your favorite NPO's cause via the Hub page, that is where we are going this year. Mobile development is happening as well. We are really excited to get Wearshare working beautifully on the iPhone, iPad and Android platforms.
Have a nice day,