“A lot of everyday products are designed with a male-centric audience in mind,” says designer Nate Barr. He admits that he hadn’t really thought about that until his wife, Bryn, challenged him to think from the perspective of people who aren’t always empowered to speak up. Bryn also inspired his latest invention, the Tulry Utility Necklace.
Bryn said she loved the functionality of Nate’s tools, like the Multi-Tool Box of Wonders, but had no way to carry them. “She pointed out that dresses don’t have pockets. Jeans pockets are too tight, and a purse is never big enough,” Nate explains. She encouraged him to create a unique way to solve this problem. The result marries an elegant jewelry design with a highly functional piece.
“We asked, could we design wearable tools that are stylish? We worked for nearly a year experimenting with different designs. The final solution was simple, the tools are stackable. They are thin, so from the front, you don’t see them, and the chevron shape provides a long, comfortable handle. We wanted something you could wear to work, out on a date, and to brunch with friends.” -Nate Barr
As Nate and his team got to work, they quickly realized that designing a beautiful, wearable piece–that was also useful–presented challenges they didn’t anticipate. Through what he calls “a couple dozen aha moments” they realized they’d have to make careful choices along the way. After many design iterations and months of testing, they accomplished their goals. The finished necklace is light-weight, strong, and features removable tools.
The v-shaped tools stack to form a chevron, which not only looks cool, but also works with gravity to keep each piece in place. “One’s instinct is that jewelry can’t be tools because tools are functional and jewelry isn’t functional,” says Nate. “Function and aesthetic might be competing product elements, but they don’t’ have to be.”
In this case, function and aesthetic work together, rather than compete. As a finishing touch, the stainless steel tools are held in place by two gold-plated end pieces–just another example of how this necklace stacks strength and style in one pretty package.