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Wearables for women,
by women.


Tinsel's Earbud Jewelry 

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What is Tinsel?

Tinsel is a San Francisco-based startup founded by women, with products designed by women for women. The company was created from the frustration of seeing the world of tech and wearable grow exponentially with women's products designed as an afterthought, or worse: a "female" version of a male product. The focus on earbud solutions comes from the inconvenience of losing your classic set at the bottom of your bag or having to deal with tangled cables. Its first product solves all of these problems: the Dipper Necklace is a gold and silver plated necklace that inconspicuously conceals a complete set of earbuds, complete with cables, a microphone, volume and track control and a 3.5 mm jack.


Design of The Dipper

The design cleverly conceals the earbuds in a stacked chevron system sitting on the lower chest. Remove the top chevron to access the earbuds. The microphone and volume/track control buttons will conveniently fall within MFi-approved distance from the ear and mouth. To plug the earbuds into your smartphone, unplug the jack from the back of your neck and release the cable by lighting the two top chevrons.
Both necklace and earbud modes are beautiful to wear whether you decide to dress up or down.


Nonfiction worked closely with a product development company to source and prototype the Dipper necklace. A lot of processes were novel to the factories. Jewelry factories do not typically work with electronics and vice-versa. Thanks to persistence, testing and negotiations, the whole team was able to produce several rounds of cosmetic and functional prototypes, allowing us to test ergonomics, user experience, durability, sound quality and preserve the aesthetics from the original intent of the designer.


Design Challenges Solved

Wrapping TPU cables with a metal mesh that matched the colors of the rest of the necklace while not pulling on one's hair or creating undesirable friction noises.

Cable Lengths
Women's sizes vary widely (height, bust, etc.) so designing a one-size necklace that would comfortably fit the largest percentage of the female population was challenging.
The jack cable's length in particular required a lot of testing.

Bulk and Weight
Earbuds are small until you have to hide them.
Making the profile of the chevron as slim as possible was very challenging, especially since we had to add a lining so the earbuds wouldn't scratch after extensive use.

Intuitive User Experience
Making the transformation from necklace to earbud easy is essential to the success of this product.
Having all the transforming elements in front of you (except for the jack) helps with figuring out how the system works without having to consult a quick start guide.

Distinctive Looks v. Universally Loved Design
Because Tinsel is launching with one design in two color ways, it was important to create a design that would fit a lot of women's current styles.
At the same time, Tinsel wants to come into the world with designs that are iconic enough to trigger brand loyalty and make it obnoxious to try to copy.


What Nonfiction Did

Nonfiction is responsible for the architecture and design of the Dipper necklace and CMF variations.

Where It Is Now

The Dipper necklace was launched and successfully funded on Indiegogo. It is now available on pre-sale.
A second design featuring Bluetooth technology is in the works.