Bandbox Bicycle Helmet Hat
Tell us about your business.Bandbox “Made in America” Bicycle Helmet Hats were created to address a critical need: Although 93% of bicyclists who died in crashes were not wearing helmets, most cyclists continue to find them too ugly and uncomfortable to wear. After two years of product development and CPSC testing, Bandbox began selling our patent pending helmets to customers online, at trade shows and at an increasing number of bicycle shops. Many of our customers recount that they have been searching for this product for years. In response to their requests, we manufacture our streamlined helmet hats with venting, wickable liners, interchangeable covers and multiple webbing colors to camouflage the harness. As a bootstrap operation, Bandbox operations have been self financed. Now with growing international sales and the goal of serving the growing number of fitness and fashion conscious cyclists (18 M annual US sales), Bandbox is expanding from a cottage industry into a small US manufacturer.
What makes your business stand out?Modern life frequently poses a dilemma – Do we chose high tech products to enjoy the benefits of safety, comfort and ease of maintenance or do we opt for traditional choices with the aesthetic proportions and natural materials that have been enjoyed for generations. This dilemma is especially pronounced in the area of protective head gear – the panache of a fedora versus the impact resistance of styrofoam. Despite the growing numbers of people cycling for fitness and alternative transportation, today’s helmet manufacturers continually fail to understand the persona of these noncompetitive cyclists who may identity more closely with Mary Poppins than Lance Armstrong. Bandbox’s uniqueness is in melding the high tech of today with the style of yesterday to answer the unmet need of this growing market segment by creating an elegant, comfortable and safe helmet that people actually want to wear.
What's the best business advice you've received?When beginning my PhD, my thesis adviser encouraged me to, “Do what you love.” After thousands of hours of research, data collection and writing, I was grateful I had followed my passion and chose optimization of safe routes for bicycles for my doctoral dissertation. Yet, despite my growing awareness of the danger of cycling without head protection, I hated to wear helmets. Unable to ignore the never ending barrage of ”Where’s your helmet?” I was forced to invent an attractive alternative. With a Bandbox Bicycle Helmet Hat you don’t have to sacrifice fashion for safety and you don’t have to sacrifice safety for fashion.
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