Vestalife's Headphones Are Music to Women's Ears

Vestalife Headphones

Getting a product out of development and to market is one thing. Getting it into a top-tier store is like that times 100. Thousands of companies are vying for the same limited shelf-space. "If the designs make the first cut, there's a lot of back-and-forth with clients, manufacturers and retailers as we ensure the designs hit on every cylinder," says RKS's Ravi Sawhney. "Distribution, margins, packaging, channels...everything has to be just right." The marketplace attention garnered by RKS's new headphone line for Vestalife is a testament to its intelligent strategy—laser-focused on a particular audience and manufactured with drop-dead gorgeous looks as a high priority.

A key to Vestalife's success may have also been due to Sawhney's unique development strategy. He tapped four female designers from his team—Soyun Kim, Leah Thomas, Young Bang, and Hojin Choi—and let them explore whatever headphone concepts tickled their fancies.

VestalifeTheir backgrounds each brought something a little different to the project: There was a microbiologist, an accountant with business acumen, a child prodigy and skilled artist, and a competitive snowboarder turned Ford Motor Company designer. Diverse backgrounds (and eight college degrees between them) allowed the women to survey the market using a blend of psychoactive and aesthetic-based standards. They quickly realized the cold hard truth about music and women: No headphone manufacturer was designing specifically for them.

The bigger problem for women actually lies in a larger issue around electronics: No matter how sexy those iPod ads look, headphones and fashion don't go together. If they could just bring the basic hardware a little closer to something you'd actually use to adorn your body, they reasoned, they might be able to reach a whole new audience of trend-conscious music lovers. "With more traditional earbuds, the design stops at the body," explains Thomas. "We chose to bring attention to the cord, treating it, too, like jewelry that was meant to be displayed, not hidden." Soft-touch earbuds with flexible fixtures, and colored, fabric-covered wires makes the headphones look more like necklaces, earrings, and headbands than electronics.

Tapping this new audience of fashion-forward women was key for the products getting fast-tracked to market, as was the choice to pursue a design based on an aesthetic-focused competitive analysis. Vestalife's launch now beautifully fills a gap left somewhere between utilitarian geek and let's-coat-every-product-in-pink. The line will see a debut at CES this week and then, before long, you can see them soon in a store near you.

Vestalife Pi

Pi, the first concept by the team, uses wide fabric-covered "headbands" which can be swapped out to match with outfits.

Vestalife Bumblebee

Bumblebee is the earbud version of the Pi, echoing the headphone design for those who want to match their on-the-go look.

Vestalife Scarab

Scarab's sculpted pinch-grip encourages removal by the earbud, not the cord, and the folded leather-look insert forms a natural cord-relief.

Vestalife Boa

Boa uses an elegant, understated design and the natural fabric look of the cord for a more casual feel.

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10 Comments

  • Altamonte Angel

    The headset and ear buds look elegant and stylish which will most definitely be appealing to good segment of fashion forward women. I do hope they invested an equal amount of thought and time into the sound quality.

  • David Osedach

    They're right. Women will buy a headset based on its color. Not necessarily its quality.

  • Chris Reich

    Hi Karen,

    Wouldn't the ear buds do less disruption to your hair? Wouldn't the headset, being rigid, give you 'hat hair'?

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • Marcus

    I like the concept of fashionable earphones for women. At least they still maintain their fashion while using their iPod anywhere they go. That's the most important thing for women, they are too conscious about how they look in front of other people.Mark@School Grants

  • Karen Kelly

    Well, Chris, the headsets are very appealing to me, because I have long hair and tend to wear hair ornaments, and would love to have headphones that would work decoratively as well as functionally. But, if you've never spent much time fussing with your hair-do, I can see how these wouldn't tickle your fancy :)

  • Morgan Chaney

    I'd love to buy a pair of the ear buds, if anyone knows when they become available in store? I'm seeing nothing on Apple.com. Love the idea to combine function with high-fashion.

    Thanks!

  • Chris Reich

    I agree with the other posters. Love the ear buds shown here. I'm not wowed by the headset and fail to see the big break-through design there. I also don't understand why it took a design team of four to come up with it.

    The traditional headset still has plenty of room for design improvement. Must the support structure be rigid? Why Can't that be fabric mesh to further blend as fashion and reduce the "I'm wearing a helmet" feel?

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • Gen Hendrey

    These Vestalife headphones and earbuds are *so* nice-looking. Definitely on my shopping list! I'm so tired of crappy little earbuds with shoddy foam covers and ugly, prone-to-tangle cords.