Behind the Design: Nerdwax
An appreciation for vintage glasses and a childhood by the water don’t seem like two personality traits that correlate, but for Don Hejny, they’ve melded together to form his business idea.
Hejny is the creator behind Nerdwax, an all-natural cosmetic product placed in a lip balm-sized tube that’s used on the pads or bridge of glasses to prevent them from sliding down the wearer’s face. He had the idea about five years when he was touring the country with musicians as an audio engineer.
“We were at a festival in Texas and the artist I was working for was on stage and she had these big sunglasses on and they were sliding down her nose constantly,” He said. “She was playing guitar and she had to stop to push them back up. That’s when I had the original idea for the product.”
Hejny was able to combine his understanding of uncomfortable glasses with his experience of surf wax.
“I wondered if I could make something like surf wax, but less messy and all natural because you’ll be putting it on your face,” he said.
With this idea in mind, Hejny said he got to work experimenting with products.
Any wax-based product has some kind of oil to keep it together. Keeping in mind that he was creating a cosmetic product that he wanted to be all-natural and organic, Hejny said he stuck with beeswax and coconut oil as his primary ingredients.
After about two years of experimenting with oils and waxes and feedback from friends and family, Hejny said he had finally found the perfect recipe for Nerdwax.
“There’s kind of a sweet spot,” He said. “I wanted it to last you a full day. I don’t want you to be applying it all the time. But, I also need it to breakdown.”
However, after creating his perfect product, Hejny said he had to put the project on hold due to life changes. But, in April 2014 he said he was tired of waiting for his idea to become reality and launched a Kickstarter. His goal was 5,000 dollars, but by the end of the campaign he’d raised over 61,000 dollars.
“People are loving it and we keep just expanding and word of mouth is growing. It’s been a really fun process,” Hejny said.
Hejny said Nerdwax has been able to stand out among other glasses accessory products like hooks and bands because of how easy it is to use and how comfortable it is. Unlike having to buy separate accessories for eyeglasses and sunglasses, one tube of Nerdwax can be used on both. The product is also comfortable with it being a simple wax that sits in between the face and the glasses.
The product can last a few hours to a full day depending on what the consumer is doing and how much they apply.
Hejny also stands apart by making every batch by hand with his family and friends.
Himself and his wife check every tube of Nerdwax and typically make about 1,000 units at a time. Sometimes he said his 9-year-old, 7-year-old and three-year-old even get in the mix with placing labels and sealing envelopes.
“It’s been really fun to grow a business with our family and to see the kids be a part of it,” he said.
But, with the business growing, Hejny knows Nerdwax will have to move to factory production to meet demand.
He said they’ve previously used a factory in the U.S. that is certified organic, but downsized because the factory was not able to produce the wax in the tube they use. However, Hejny said the second time around with factory production, he’d like to work with them again.
Hejny said he’s also playing around with ideas of collaboration and expansion for the future. He said he’d considering pairing with a boutique eyewear brand and also creating custom microfiber pocket squares, but nothing is planned right now.
As of right now, Nerdwax is still focused on what it does best — bringing a quality product to the consumers who need it.
Hejny said the product’s name slightly mirrors its consumer. With the true definition of ‘nerd’ being someone who knows a lot about one subject to the point of almost being obsessed, Nerdwax is able to assist in the process.
“Our users are in to all kinds of different things, whether that’s crossfit or biking or running or just the average gamer,” Hejny said. “Whatever it is, whatever they’re into, Nerdwax can be there with them and be a help to them.”