Today, we would like to share with you the product development of Hitoe Fold.
The Hitoe Fold was announced in November 2019, but its development began in August.
The idea of a bifold with coins at the top and cards at the bottom has been in the works since the beginning of our trial and error with the 2018 L-zip S.
However, the coin pocket on top would get in the way of pulling out the card. If the card is pulled out from the side, the card may in turn fall out during the move.
So, the idea stopped, but it was last summer when I suddenly had a flash of an idea to hang leather over the card.
By hanging the leather over the card, it prevents the card from falling out and at the same time, it serves as a clasp for the wallet, and the notches in the card pocket for this purpose make it easy to insert and remove the card. No hardware is used at all, the size is small, and the design is minimalist.
We produced a prototype the same day we came up with the idea, and when I got home, I immediately started using it, excited and confident that it would be a breakthrough product.
syrinx basically keeps all development, including prototyping, top secret, with no information leaked outside the company until the intellectual property application is filed. Even with fabless management, we do not outsource prototyping whenever possible, but rather internalize it to dramatically speed up the feedback cycle and increase the degree of completion.
For prototypes, drawings are created using CAD, leather is precisely cut using a laser cutter, and the prototypes are sewn by hand. By making the prototypes ourselves, we are able to identify production issues and areas for improvement. The finished product is checked for usability for a while, problems are identified, and feedback is given to a new prototype.
After repeating this process several times and finalizing the specifications, we applied for a design registration in October and a patent in November, leading to the pre-product announcement on the same day.
The product photo above is a prototype (Prototype-8, also shown at the top of this page) that is still in the internal manufacturing process. However, immediately after the announcement, the completed minimalism of the product attracted a great deal of attention on social networking sites.
Product development does not end here. Next comes the preparation for mass production. The first step was to select a production contractor. We asked several companies for samples, but the difficulty of crushing the unique three-dimensional shape flat and sewing the thick leather with a thin gusset with high precision was high, and it was difficult to achieve a satisfactory result. However, there was one company that produced a wonderful finished product. It is a leather workshop run by a big name who already has 50 years of experience in small leather goods manufacturing.
This encounter will lead to the development of a new product, but that will come later.
After confirmation and final trial of mass production samples in December, we started mass production from the beginning of the year, leading to the start of crowdfunding in February 2020.
Click here for detailed product information.