Despite the huge success of the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones that sat the trend to wear huge cushions on the head, many people dream of discreet audio headset that blend into their elegant outfit.

The Tinsel team understood that and created the Dipper, an elegant necklace that provides full audio capabilities with two elegantly integrated earbuds, a microphone and three-button remote control.

According to Tinsel, with the Dipper and a smartphone, you can take phone calls, play music, use Siri or Google voice search. The device is as a necklace, and has been designed to avoid the issues you experience with regular headphones that does not fit with your outfit, get tangled in the purse and ultimately breaks.

The Dipper uses a regular 3.5 mm audio connector, and no Bluetooth, so it can be used with any devices that provides this connector, and, it does need any charging.

Tinsel is launching its Indiegogo campaign today and offers the Dipper at special pre-order pricing starting at $150. The product will ship in Spring 2015, and the retail price will be $199.

Key features includes:

  • Earbuds sized to fit most women’s ears
  • Microphone and three-button remote control
  • 3.5mm audio connector
  • Two-color finish options: gold/silver and gunmetal/silver

Interestingly, The Dipper has been designed entirely by a team of women, which is quite unusual in the consumer electronics industry, so I was curious about the genesis of the company and the product, and I asked a few questions over email  to Tinsel founder & CEO Aniyia Williams. See the Q&A below.

Q&A with Aniyia Williams, Founder & CEO, Tinsel


Aniyia Williams, Founder & CEO, Tinsel

Let us know a little about your background, what did you do before starting Tinsel?

Before Tinsel, I was at Voxer – a live-voice messaging app – and I ran the marketing team there for over 3 years. I grew up around a family business so have always had that in my blood.

How and when did you decide to start Tinsel, the company behind the Dipper audio necklace?

I decided to start Tinsel in September 2014 when I was still running the marketing team at Voxer. I was ready for a new challenge and I actually went to Tom Katis (who was CEO at the time) with this idea and wanted to see if it had legs, and convinced him to invest.

Besides the “non-jewelry look”, what were the key issues you noticed in the product design of regular headphones and earphones for women?

I don’t go anywhere without my headphones, but there’s a love-hate relationship there. From digging around in my purse, needing to untangle them, losing them or having my husband grab mine instead of his, headphones have a lot of pain points for me. And in terms of style, the options out there right now made me feel like a wannabe DJ, or the white little cords clash with my carefully planned outfit. So between function and style, today’s headphones don’t hit the mark for me. I wanted to take something that people know is a necessity today and transform it into something stylish that also makes their lives easier.

The fashion industry sets new trends at a rapid pace, so, in the future, do you plan to customize your product enough so your customers can feel they are up to date and they do not have to wear the same necklace every day?

In the future we want to launch new collections each season as many fashion brands do. We already have another design in the queue and are excited to get development started on that soon.

Your company is operated by a team of women, which is quite unusual in the consumer electronics industry, can you let us know who are the people who help you create, design, ensure manufacturing quality and market the Dipper?

We are extremely thrilled to have been able to assemble a team of talented women at the core of developing the product.

As I mentioned, my background is in marketing and other creative arts — this was key in developing the initial concept.

My co-founder Monia Santinello who manages operations is a great balancing force for me on the business side, has experience working with manufacturers and speaks 6 languages (including Mandarin!) which is very helpful for our international relationships. As you may know, the founders themselves really need to have a really strong relationship and trust, so I’m glad that we are very much a united pair.

We also have Lynda Rose on the team, who has decades of experience developing consumer products, especially electronics and audio products. She brings a wealth of experience and relationships with reputable manufacturers who have been incredible partners to work with thus far. We’ve been able to avoid many hurdles that first-time hardware companies fall prey to because she knows the process through and through.

Our product designer Phnam Bagley came to us through Lynda as well, and we knew she was the perfect designer to work with within seconds of meeting her! It was critical to us to have a woman design the product, because we knew she’d be able to inherently understand some of the challenges women have with technology and the things they wear. In addition to having designed headphones in the past, she has an amazing knowledge of fashion and a unique approach to creating products.

The core of our brand was developed with a lot of heavy lifting by Jason Lorne Giles — the man behind the brand. He was able to take my vision and craft a compelling platform along with the visual representation of what we see as Tinsel today.

We also have other amazing contributors on the project, but the folks mentioned here have been the leaders in bringing Tinsel to life.


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