I was an apparel designer for years before deciding to create and market a product of my own. It always felt odd to put my heart into a creative concept only to give it to the company I worked for, in return for a paycheck… Art is such a personal endeavor to have it owned by someone else. However, the silver lining was that I was fortunate enough to work for companies both large and small, which enabled me to build an eclectic portfolio of design work.
One of the companies I worked for designed high end camera straps. I found this to be one of the best jobs I had because it was fun to design products that enhance the way people create. Making their experience more enjoyable by increasing comfort and functionality was always my goal. After being in the “strap” world for a while I started to see how these products can be an extension of the artist rather than a simple accessory.
My husband and I have always loved all things music. Listening, playing, writing etc.. One day I was watching him and his friends play in our basement and could not stop looking at their guitar straps. The straps were cutting into their necks, pressure points and laid uneven over their shoulder and back. When the music stopped I asked: are straps comfortable? They quickly replied NO! These guys were in only in their late 20’s!
The next day I started looking around online to see what was out there, and I seriously felt like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. The same straight strap over and over and over.. The only features that separated one from the other was a different color, material or “loud” pattern….
Then I started to look at items listed as “comfortable guitar straps.” This was even more underwhelming. Apparently, the only way to get a comfortable strap was to wear what resembled a winter coat, a weird double strap contraption, or one that was 4” wide leather and cost $170…!? It didn’t make sense to me..? Why was there not a strap that was more comfortable and functional than the traditional straight strap, but still accomplished a sleek timeless look?
I may not have thought of this any further if I was not already designing camera straps.. Every day I focused on making functional products that still looked amazing. So after hitting a dead end during product research I decided to completely reimagine what the perfect guitar strap might be. Starting with questions and ideas like:
1. Why is there not a strap designed to avoid all the artists most undesirable pressure points?
2. Why not have dual adjustments on each side of the strap to accomplish a perfect length?
3. Why not use high-density foam that is slim, and only widens where you need it?
4. Why is there not a pocket that function’s as a fluid motion, for replacement or storage of picks?
5. Why not make a strap that carries all these features, for a price that makes sense?
After months of sampling materials, making prototypes and sourcing factories in the US to produce it, the ESO Strap was born.
Here’s what I did next:
1. Tested my product on musicians
2. Made changes based on their feedback
3. Filed patents on the ESO Strap
4. Reconnected with amazing people we had worked with over the years to fill in blind spots.
5. Launched the ESO Strap in August, 2015.
This was the first product I had ever released on my own rather than jobbing for a large company. It has been such a rewarding experience. The ESO Strap has been featured in all the major guitar magazines and was also named one of the top guitar innovations of 2015 by Ultimate Guitar!
However, the best part has been all the support my company has received from happy customers. This is priceless. Plus, I was able to source and manufacturer everything here in the US! Here is a link to a video if you want to learn more. Keep creating!
More info: esostrap.com