Fashion With A Purpose
by Vicki Gemmell ◊ Aug 17, 2012
Nothing worthwhile in life comes without a risk, and Hamden resident Kelly Stutzman knows it. Stutzman, a working mother and CSSD Deputy Superintendent for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, has stepped outside of her comfort zone (but not outside her busy life) to become an inventor.
The idea for her product, Headband•it, was born in 2010, when Stutzman decided to obtain a license to practice psychology. “Working full-time, being a mother to a wonderful teenage girl, and finishing up the licensure program – I was so busy I barely had time to style my hair!” Stutzman recalls. “I would put on a headband in the morning, but eventually it would give me a headache and I’d have to replace it with my sunglasses.”
Indeed, anyone who has used a headband to style their hair knows just how uncomfortable they can be. “I thought, ‘There’s got to be a product out there, a headband that’s shaped like sunglasses,’ but I couldn’t find anything.”
While hiking up Sleeping Giant one day, Stutzman says, inspiration hit. If she couldn’t find the product she was looking for, she thought, why not create it herself? “I started to just play with it; stapling cloth over my sunglasses, and asking people what they thought.” After receiving a positive response, Stutzman went ahead and began researching ways to make her idea a reality.
To get her dream underway, she enlisted the help of local people: seamstresses, web designers, businessmen, manufacturers, vendors. “I’m trying hard to stay as local as possible with the vendors I use,” said Stutzman. “Up until this point, my whole world has been working with troubled teens and the judicial branch. The world of business was totally foreign to me, really unfamiliar,” Stutzman says. “But, in life, nothing worthwhile comes without a risk.”
So, Stutzman started up an Indiegogo campaign, through which she received over $4500 in funding. With the help of a local seamstress, the final Headband•it prototype was made: “a stylish, protective sleeve (lined in crushed velvet) that goes over virtually any size glasses” that gives the look of a fashionable headband when the glasses are worn on the head.
More than just a fashion accessory, Headband•it appeals to men, as well as women, for its use as a soft, lightweight, and compact carrying case for prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses alike. Both the Classic and Express Headband•it styles are lined with crushed black velvet to protect lenses from dirt and scratches.
Stuzman is committed to the local economy, and will be working with two U.S.-based manufacturers, as well as local vendors. Headband•it is expected to be available for purchase in September.