So Ben, tell us a little bit about yourself and how ReflecToes nighttime reflectors came about?
I started my career as a manufacturing engineer at Avery Dennison where I worked with adhesives and apparel embellishments. After 7 years I began working with my wife on a home goods brand she created. The idea for ReflecToes came to me in 2016 while I was commuting by bike during a 2-month stay in Montreal and wanted to be more visible to drivers. While driving myself I noticed how the moving reflectors on bike wheels and pedals grabbed my attention and I immediately knew they were human. I thought reflective on socks would be ideal because they would be moving and I’d always had them on. When I tried to buy reflective socks, I couldn’t find any, so I decided to make them. My experience creating high reflective decals for sports brands gave me an idea of the challenges that putting high reflective on socks would pose and how I could overcome them. After several iterations and doing a full replacement for every Kickstarter order, in 2017 we released our current version of ReflecToes socks. Since then I leveraged my reflective experience to create high viz cycling gloves, running gloves, cycling shoe covers, iron-on decals, stickers and a vest.What makes ReflecToes stand out from the other reflective products out there?
ReflecToes products all use the right amount of high reflective material (brighter), in the most ideal locations (highlight movement), that have the best in class wash durability.When exercising outdoors, why is simply wearing bright colors not enough to stay safe?
Today’s drivers are increasingly distracted and need as much time/distance as possible to see pedestrians and cyclists. Contrast and motion are two keys to being seen near cars. Bright colors are good during daylight, but be sure they are fluorescent. Fluorescent colors convert invisible UV light to visible light to the visible spectrum doubling or trippling visibility. When the sun goes down though, even bright fluorescent colors don’t work well. There is such a small amount of light that you will blend in unless you are directly in front of a car. With reflective (technically retro-reflective), even the small amount of light on the fringe of a headlight’s range will be sent back to the driver's eyes. You will be seen from much farther giving the driver time to see you.
The other aspect is wearing fluorescent (day) or reflective (night) on your moving legs. This “bio-motion” catches attention and identifies you as a cyclist. Our brains are wired to notice motion and identify familiar motion. Studies show drivers at night identify cyclists accurately 90% of the time when they use reflective on their legs. This drops in half when only a reflective vest is used.Has your business been impacted by Covid19
People seem to be taking their exercising outside more and want to be seen by drivers so they are buying our socks more.How do you feel about the Bike Boom happening today?
I think it is great to see more people outside on bikes. Hopefully, this will be a long term trend and we’ll see more cyclists and better cycling infrastructure around the country.
What other products do you hope to develop in the future?
We pay really close attention to our customer's feedback and constantly get suggestions. We have more colors of our gloves coming as well as cycling jerseys and lightweight windbreaker vests for adults and kids.If there was one thing that you wanted our customers to know about you and your company what would that be?