Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get Iced

BeansTalk’s Exclusive Interview with IcePod’s Jon Levine

BeansTalk finally got icopod.com’s owner to talk to us about his extremely cool (and celeb popular Icepod).

Why icepod? (ie Where did you get the idea for it)

In late 2004, my brother, Danny, who was (and still is) very in to hip hop, retro Jordans, basketball, and high-end urban style, had just bought an iPod. He also just started an online sneaker and apparel website (kixclusive.com) and the two of us were always brainstorming about different product and business ideas. Around the same time we happened to catch a few music videos where the artists were wearing huge blingin’ chains and charms... It didn’t take long after realizing the soon-to-become iPod craze and peoples’ obsession with bling that I put together the two. So, out popped the idea – why not combine the iPod and the bling together. The initial idea was to simply have a case for iPods made of precious metal and diamonds. My brother added the twist that led to adding the wearability, so that the iPod could be worn on a chain. My brother Danny also came up with the name – icepod. Over the next several months I developed the idea further, created a business and then finally after two years, given that no one else had beat me to the punch, I brought icepod products public and officially launched the company in January 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival.

What makes icepod different from other "I" products available on the market today?

icepod is the only wearable (on a chain or on a purse strap or belt loop) precious metal with or without diamonds (or other stones) line of pendants for the iPods and the iPhone. icepods and the icephone are fully customizable whereby the customer can choose the metal and stone type and laser engraving and other high-end handcrafting is available.

We will soon have products available for other popular hand held gadgets, such as the Zune mp3 player, BlackBerrys, and cell phones.

What kind of products do you have now?

We have a full line of products for the various recent iPod styles and the iPhone. Specifically, the icepods are made for: 30gb Video, 60gb & 80gb Video, Shuffle, both the 2nd and 3rd Generation Nanos, all model of the 1st Generation Touch, the 80gb & 160gb Classics, and the 1st Generation iPhone. We will very soon release pieces for the newest 4th Generation Nano, Touch, and 3G iPhone.

What is the price range and where can people buy them?

Prices range from $75 for a gold-plated icepod for the Shuffle, for example, all the way to thousands for a custom-made platinum and diamond pave piece for the 160gb Classic. All pieces come with a matching necklace. Prices for the mid-tier line that consists of 14K gold plated or Sterling Silver plated with either Swarovski Crystals or high-end cubic zirconia range from $75 to approximately $400. These products will soon be available online and in select boutiques around the country. Currently, icepod is available at Traffic Boutique in Dallas and New Orleans and will soon be available at Lulu in Bal Harbor Shops in Bal Harbor (Miami area), Florida. Check the website frequently as icepod will be everywhere very soon! We have just begun selling...

Also, occasionally we will have a limited release (no more than 100 pieces) of a special edition icepod that has been featured on TV, at a celebrity event, or in a magazine. Stay tuned to the website to catch one of these exclusive pieces while supplies last!

Is it a challenge keeping up with the changing sizes and shapes of the "i"products?

It can be challenging in that it is expensive and time consuming. Each time Apple, for example, changes an iPod style, we must have new tooling developed, samples made, and a new production process started that includes a long testing and quality control period. Plus it is very expensive and requires much collaboration with our manufacturers overseas. We do our best to release all new, in-demand styles as soon as possible.

Tell me about some of the reactions you've gotten regarding the product?

Literally ALL reactions have been positive, many times wildly enthusiastic... After all, icepod is truly unique and is a product never seen before in the marketplace. Customers are tired of the same old accessories and are always excited when something new appears! When I wear my icepod out, I am constantly stopped by random individuals wanting to know what it is and where they can get one! It’s definitely a conversation piece.

Purposely, icepod’s initial launch and promotional activities have been in the celebrity arena, such that we will become known as THE product to have, thus creating the demand. So far, every celebrity that we have met and gifted, from the A-Listers on down absolutely LOVED icepod. Miley Cyrus, for example, stated publicly, “I just love the little icepod...” and Rachel Hunter commented that icepod was such a clever and absolutely genius product idea. Every celebrity that I have personally met and gifted an icepod to were thrilled. I recently gifted icepods to Holly, Bridget, and Kendra (The Girls Next Door) at a recent Playboy Mansion charity event. They were very thankful, enthused, had nothing but kind comments, and wore their icepods the rest of the night, including while on stage during the Ludacris performance!

What are you hoping for, for the future of the company?

The parent company, Ice Innovations, hopefully will continue to grow and expand. We will soon be launching glamorous products for other popular handheld gadgets. We also have plans to one day launch a clothing line and possibly a fragrance. We will always strive to develop innovative, high-end, fresh products that our customers will want to be the first to own.

My husband has the ipod 80 gig video and it has that silvery thing that shows fingerprints like crazy. Will a product like yours prevent that?

While an icepod will serve as a protective cover (it is lined with a cushioned fabric), it is a piece of jewelry and should be taken care of as such. The current icepod pendant line covers the front of the iPod only. A soon to be released full front and back case (also wearable) will protect the entire iPod. The best part of an icepod as a functional protective cover, is that if dropped or scratched, the iPod will be protected and the icepod can simply be brought to a jeweler to be fixed, polished, or brought back to its original perfect state!

Anything else you'd like to share?

Some upcoming events that icepod will be attending are

Justin Timberlake Celebrity charity golf tournament and concert in Las Vegas

“I will graduate” Celebrity concert in New York City

Kewl Fest in El Cajon, California

Check out the icepod.com website frequently to see where we’ve been and where we are going. We will also be launching a new, all flash, fully e-commerce website in the next couple months, in time for the holidays! So stay tuned!

Jon Levine, the owner of Ice Innovations, tells BeansTalk readers that he can be reached any time. Visit the Contact Us link on the icepod.com site, email info@icepod.com and he'll respond to any questions or comments. Customers can also place a custom order any time by emailing orders@icepod.com.