You whip out your smartphone and open an app. You make some choices on the screen, then place your finger on the phone light and camera so it can take your heart rate. Then, you enter in some measurements, and you’re finished in under five minutes.
It sounds like a standard procedure for a fitness tracking app, but Hong Kong-based Crafted By My Heart has adapted it for jewelry.
When you open up your smartphone, you can pick between ring designs. Your phone light and camera measure your heartbeat based on the subtle changes of color on the skin of your finger, like a less sophisticated electrocardiogram (ECG, or the mountain-like waveforms you see when you get your heart rhythm checked at the doctor’s). The beat gets transferred into an algorithm, so unlike the two-dimensional medical ECG, your heartbeat is represented on top of a ring in a more 3D fashion.
It started as a simple ad campaign – and snowballed from there.
You can pick sizes and colors, and then from there, you send it off to Crafted By My Heart, which will download your files and send them to a Hong Kong manufacturer in Shenzhen. In 14 to 15 days, it’ll have your ring and will ship it to you anywhere in the world. If you’re in Hong Kong, that usually means same-day delivery. Other countries might take longer, but the average shipping time is 3 to 5 working days.
Crafted By My Heart’s rings are made of silver but can be plated gold or black. They come in two designs: Surge (thicker) and Sierra (thinner). Prices start at US$154 for the silver option and go up to US$255 for both models’ gold-plated versions.
What’s even more interesting is that it started as a simple ad campaign – and snowballed from there.
Startup by night, corporate in the morning
Crafted By My Heart was founded by DDB Hong Kong employees Andreas Krasser and Manolis Perrakis. They’re ad agency employees, and Crafted By My Heart began as an idea last year to get back some business when one of their jewelry clients moved business back in-house. It was almost too good an idea – everyone “fell in love with it,” including agency management.
“Why don’t we just do this all by ourselves?” Andreas recounts. They decided to try it out. Originally meant to be a business that catered to other businesses, the venture was soon selling to customers.
“We’re very fascinated with the #startup scene but never had the guts or the balls to go out by ourselves,” Andreas says.
Still, the business was a side project, and Andreas and the six team members continued to work their regular hours. Though a couple of the team members had a little startup experience, it was one hell of an introduction to the way startups operate. “We were scared like shit that someone is going to come and launch with an idea similar to us,” he shares. In the meantime, they set out doing the legwork finding and setting up partnerships with manufacturers.
Having a corporate behind them had its perks. Though much of the logistic legwork was up to them, they had more money to promote their business than most businesses starting from scratch. They still had some surprises. Their largest user numbers come from Spanish-speaking countries, with Mexico and Spain topping the list.
The company wouldn’t disclose sales numbers, but Andreas says it covered 30 percent of its initial investment within four months of launch. Orders continue to come in every week.
Learning by heart
While the Crafted By My Heart team members are not quitting their day jobs anytime soon, the question of what to do with the venture, now that it’s up and running, is something they’re still trying to figure out.
“We’re running it the way it is currently,” says Andreas, but adds that the team hasn’t ruled out the prospect of selling the business. “There are so many things we would like to improve.”
Team members were used to working within well-organized task lists, but Crafted By My Heart resulted in those lines blurring, as people would pick up others’ work to get things moving faster. The task force became quick studies on legal texts. Andreas did makeshift editing and art direction.
“Everybody got involved with everything, which within a company context increased everyone’s respect for each other,” he says.
While he doesn’t necessarily recommend corporate employees doing what he and his team did, he finds it useful for corporations, and thinks such exercises might help with employee retention. “It gives a quite welcome change of scenery,” he explains.
Converted from Hong Kong dollars. Rate: US$1 = HKD 7.76.