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A-KIN to Magic

By Anthea Wang

Sleek and simplistic, the KIN wallet can hold up to nine cards without creating any unnecessary bulk | Photo by KIN Wallet
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Sleek and simplistic, the KIN wallet can hold up to nine cards without creating any unnecessary bulk | Photo by KIN Wallet

Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Design’s Product Design & Innovation alumnus Lim Li Xue, 23, and her teammates Cheryl Ho, 21, and Ng Ai Ling, 20, introduced the Kin wallet, the world’s first self-organising wallet, on Kickstarter, the biggest global crowd-funding platform.

In its first four hours up on Kickstarter, the wallet managed to exceed its original funding goal of $400 by 357 per cent. By the time their one-month campaign ended, the wallet was 6000 per cent funded, successfully raising $280,468.

Using a video and a series of gifs [Graphics Interchange Format], the trio demonstrated how to use the wallet on their Kickstarter page – simply put your money in from the open slot, flip it upside down, and voila! Your change has been separated. Should you want to retrieve your coins, you can do so by opening the flap at the side pocket. With its simple design and user-friendliness, the Kin wallet presents itself as a convenient product to use.

Initially meant as a school project, the three-women team from different years at the National University of Singapore was overwhelmed by the flood of positive responses from the supporters of their product, both locally and internationally.

According to Li Xue, over half of the supporters were locals. “The local support is very strong,” she said. “We received a lot of messages from Singaporeans … saying they support (us) because (the Kin wallet) is a local design. This really keeps us going,” she added.

Coming up with the final product was no easy feat. Li Xue explained that as they wanted to appeal to a wide target audience of all ages, their product had to be relatable, but also fresh and unique. “In pursuit of this newness, sometimes it’s a lot about ideating. I think we came up with about 200 to 300 ideas that we rejected,” she said.

In addition to the project, the girls handled everything else on their own, from administrative work such as replying to messages and e-mails, to marketing the product and creating visual materials to support their campaign, such as their promotional videos and pictures.

“It’s quite tiring, but (the result) was very fruitful,” Li Xue said.

Aside from designing the Kin wallet, Li Xue also found success at the IKEA Singapore Young Designer Award last year, claiming the first runner-up prize with her creation titled Spaces in Between, a mirror that lights up and reflects the time when the user walks past it.

Despite her achievements, Li Xue claims she is still looking for her niche. “I’m still exploring,” she admitted. “Branching out from being a student to becoming a designer is a discovery process.”

Currently, the Kin wallet is available in five colours: Burnt Sienna, Kepler Black, Meteorite Grey, Olive Green, and Ultramarine. At $47 each, the wallet is a worthy investment for those who want the option of not having to manually separate their change ever again. More information about this project can be found at kinstudio.sg.

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