BetterBack is a portable ergonomic lumbar support that corrects your posture while seated. It was one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time and was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Katherine, the founder of BetterBack, identified the need for a portable ergonomic lumbar support in a work culture increasingly bound to office chairs which cause stiffness and back pain. Our goal was to quickly design, prototype, and test a product that met these needs and could be funded with a Kickstarter campaign.
Our initial prototype was sewn in my grad-school studio and included such high-tech materials as the lid of a protein powder jar. Within a few weeks I was pressuring my schoolmates into user testing the strange looking but extremely comfortable device.
One of our most important insights was that the majority of testers were so uncomfortable in their office chairs and so disturbed by claims like “sitting is the new smoking,” that they easily overcame their resistance to wearing a device that had multiple straps converging in the groin.
Several times a prototype even disappeared during testing and I found it neatly folded on my desk at the end of the day. We took that to be a good sign.
We shot the Kickstarter video in my school shop only a few months after cutting apart that first protein powder bottle. That campaign ended up being one of the most successful of all time, raising 1.2 million dollars. Within a year a second campaign had pushed funding past 2 million dollars, brought in more than 30 thousand backers, and landed BetterBack a spot on ABC’s Shark Tank.