Einen Moment bitte,
wir bringen Licht ins dunkel...

SOI. Simply a good story.

We sift through the depths of our handbags, rummaging around in the hope of hitting upon that all-important, everyday item: our keys, phone, notes and other important articles. In addition lipgloss, hairbrush, pens, sweets and loose change - to name but a few – all add to the chaos. It is no small wonder that it seems like an eternity before that much-needed key can be fished out of its hiding place in the bottom of your bag!

What exactly women carry in their handbags while going about their daily rounds and, indeed, how long they look for these prized possessions has been investigated by Hamburg-based COLIBRI Research in an empirical study entitled "Bag Stories". It reveals that: "A woman spends, on average, 76 days of her life looking for things in her bag."

 

From idea to product

This came as quite a surprise to Christian Schech and Bastian Wetzel, alumni of Darmstadt Technical University in Germany, who asked themselves why it is that women lose so much time looking in their handbags for any multitude of objects. In fact, it was during a power failure at a folk festival, one evening that the illuminating idea for SOI was born: women were seen having resorted to using their cigarette lighters or mobile phones as a make-shift light source. Clearly, a proper and professional solution was needed to put an end to the torment of searching.

The requirements were clear, or rather enlightening. All "pocket torches" to date were awkward and inconvenient in their handling. And so a clear request was made to the product designers: develop a lightweight, conveniently-sized handbag-light that is readily portable and straightforward in its use. At the same time, it should be an aesthetically pleasing product which women would find appealing. It was at this point that the team was joined by designer Benedikt Lehnert, whose involvement shaped the design process on an ongoing basis.

Decisive in this process was understanding the intricacies and sensitivities of our target group, paying great attention to detail and being responsible in our methodology and approach towards people and nature. The result of endless hours of observation and experimenting on ourselves, in conjunction with the empirical findings of the study "Bag Stories", were influential in turning an initial, brilliant idea into a truly enlightening product.

 

User-friendly

The study "Bag Stories" revealed that women own several handbags and may chose a different bag on a daily basis. On top of this, women have enough to do as it is and do not want to occupy themselves with constantly organising their handbags. The perfect solution therefore is a handbag light that is easy to use and trouble-free.

So much was clear: by the time the traditional torch is found and you manage to switch it on, or fumble for key rings, attachments, mountaineering-snaplinks and other new-fangled "convenience" devices, the item you actually needed has long surfaced. A real help is a device that lights up immediately when you begin to search in your bag for something.

The students had acquired the necessary technical know-how during their Electrical Engineering/Physics course and this qualified them to apply for a start-up grant in 2010 from the Career Center of Darmstadt Technical University. The idea and the concept found favour and both students were awarded a grant for SOI's product development.

And so, thanks to a generous portion of enthusiasm and sheer pride in their work, a quite unique handbag light came into being, produced in a small light-workshop: SOI! Word about SOI spread fast and far, delighting both men and women around the globe. SOI lights up whenever she detects an approaching hand and turns off automatically after a given time limit. Stocks of the first production run - 2000 units - sold out immediately.

The next step demanded the structuring of processes, negotiating with suppliers, securing finance, optimizing and launching the product. It was at this point that SOI caught the attention of – and captivated - Maike Roos, engineer in an international company. It was love at first sight between Maike and the "bright cutie". She took over the business without hesitation, assuming the reins and went about tackling just about all tasks and responsibilities surrounding SOI.

 

Attention and affection for detail

There is little more precious to women than their handbag and its contents. We want SOI to be integral to this, a treasured item, and so great care and attention has been given to the product design in order to ensure a pleasing, feminine form. The rounded shape boasting an elliptical cross-section represents a design of classic, elegant proportions, devoid of any frills. Shape and feel are reassuring to the touch, emulating a pebble worn smooth, while the warmth of the plastic outer shell provides for pleasing haptics.

 

Environmentally friendly

SOI is a revolutionary product whose electronics ensure optimal performance in terms of low energy consumption and a long battery life. The owner has the hassle-free convenience of infrequent battery changes and this makes sense environmentally. High quality recyclable cardboard which is coloured using environmentally friendly dye („Blue Angel Certification" eco-label) supplied by a Provencal stationer's, coupled with distinctive packaging, present SOI in a fittingly upmarket light. This ensures that even unwrapping SOI is a pleasure.

Just as much care and attention has been given to our choice of suppliers as was dedicated to SOI's product design and development. The decision to produce in Germany was a conscious one. This ensures consistent, high-quality production, timely reactions and turnarounds to new demands, and facilitates shortened delivery and distribution routes. For this reason, SOI is produced exclusively within Germany. In cooperation with an organisation for disadvantaged young people and the disabled, SOI is completed in the final assembly entirely by hand. Responsible manufacturing of SOI is ensured throughout the production process by supervision and compliance with environmental and social standards.

A good idea is simple. A good idea makes life that little bit easier. Out of a simple idea and a great deal of heart, soul and effort, SOI became a tangible reality. The first automatic handbag light in the world -without mechanical switch.

 





What we believe in:

In our opinion, a product's development and the conditions of its manufacture are very much tangible properties and will be readily perceived by the customer. Rather than to produce soulless, mass-production articles, it is our business to produce with real added value. SOI is a companion for the long-term and brings a little joy to every day. For this reason we produce in Germany with much attention - and affection - to detail.

Above all else, we strongly believe that sustainable production will be 'a must' in future as it improves the quality of life also over the long-term. It is for this reason that we pay great attention when selecting materials for production, taking into account the carbon-footprint and safeguarding against potentially harmful substances. Needless to say, virtually all our materials are 100% recyclable and we strive to keep volumes of material used to an absolute minimum.

It is our wish that SOI meets with you complete satisfaction and we welcome your call should you have any queries, suggestions or complaints - whatever the nature of your enquiry may be.

 

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