Did Your Selfie-Stick Get Banned? A Selfie Revolution Is Here
Yekutiel Sherman was walking around Jerusalem one day when he spotted a shop selling smartphone cases and selfie sticks.
“Why carry two things, when you can carry one?” he thought to himself. A few months of prototyping later, Stikbox was born – a phone case that includes an expandable selfie stick.
Built initially for the iPhone and Samsung S6 – but with more designs in the pipeline – the Stikbox is one of those fun “I can’t believe nobody thought of this sooner” ideas. It’s simple, has obvious use cases, and even the naysayers would have to admit it’s no more ridiculous than carrying around a selfie stick.
Yekutiel and his team put together a Kickstarter campaign in December, and within a month had raised more than US$50,000.
But while the Stikbox folks were busy this winter and spring at CES in Las Vegas and CES Asia in Shanghai, the world’s knock-factories were already hard at work.
The China challenge
“In China, we were copied immediately,” says Yekutiel. “You can find Stikbox on many websites, [but] none of them are ours.
With the money raised from their successful Kickstarter campaign, the Stikbox team is aiming to start shipping cases this fall, when the gadget will also become available to the general public for US$50.
But some very, very similar devices are already for sale on Chinese ecommerce sites, some of which even include Stikbox’s branding and packaging (as well as plenty others that are shoddy wrecks).
Ever the optimist, Yekutiel says, “short term, this is good for us, as it gets the name and concept out there.”
Ultimately, Stikbox could be a great fit for the Chinese market. It is, after all, a place where eccentric smartphone cases and selfie sticks are commonplace.
But the Israeli startup probably didn’t plan to spend the first six months of its existence fighting for Chinese patents, and filing takedown requests on ecommerce sites like Taobao and Ebay. Vendors have responded positively so far, Yekutiel says, and Stikbox has pending patents in mainland China – not that a patent has been enough to stop the country’s forgers before.
Fakers gonna fake
While counterfeits certainly aren’t helping Stikbox, they probably won’t kill it. To a certain extent, getting knocked off in China is just part of the game there – but it does typically happen once you’ve at least got your product on the market.
China is a place where eccentric smartphone cases and selfie sticks are commonplace.
When Stikbox is officially released this fall, it will be available in a variety of colors and will include a bluetooth remote. The company is working to expand the number of phones supported by the device and says it will be ready for the iPhone 7 when the time comes.
Outside from its Kickstarter, Stikbox hasn’t yet raised any outside funds. The company is now looking at potential investors as it prepares to scale up.
“We believe that the future belongs to those who innovate,” says Yekutiel. Let’s hope he’s right – and that the future doesn’t belong to those who are just really good at churning out knock-offs.