KYT: The premium bags with a secret superpower

  • Design
  • May 30, 2019
  • StopPress Team
KYT: The premium bags with a secret superpower
Clemenger BBDO creative JP Twaalfhoven was a finalist in the Side Hustle category at D&AD Awards 2019 for KYT – short for ‘Keeping You Together’ –  bags handcrafted and designed for life with diabetes. The idea stemmed from his partner and co-founder Bridget Scanlan’s own Type 1 diagnosis eight years ago. He travelled to London to present live on stage at D&AD and on his way talked us through the bags.

How did it feel to hear you were one of only five finalists in the Side Hustle category?
Pretty stoked! I didn’t realise it would be quite that short a shortlist. This is a project my partner Bridget and I have lived and breathed. We were already thrilled that what we’ve created has really connected with our audience and customers so far.
Our ethos is ‘well-designed wellness’, so to be recognised at such a design-led show as D&AD is even greater validation for our ongoing mission.
Tell us a little more about the process you guys took to creating KYT – the highs, the lows?
To twist the question, the insight for KYT originally came out of a massive low. When Bridget was first diagnosed with Type One Diabetes, it was fair to say her world shifted – it was a big, swift learning curve, and I saw firsthand the emotional impact a diagnosis like this could have. And talking to many others with both type one and two, we found this was a shared experience.
We channelled this insight into what has now become KYT – it stands for ‘Keeping You Together’, as we wanted to create something that not only keeps your medical supplies physically together, but which can help keep you emotionally together, too.
To create the designs, we went on a year-long process of research, prototyping and refinement. Along the way we connected with hundreds of people from the diabetes community around the globe to help inform our direction and designs. The great thing is that many have said they can see their input in the finished bag.
A particular highlight was pulling a silver pin at New Zealand’s Best Awards last year in the ‘User Experience – Empowering’ category. This was a huge win for us, as we sweated the details of every aspect of the bag to make sure it not only looked great but worked as hard as it could for our customers. So to be recognised for design that empowered the user was particularly special. 
How does the bag work?
Our first bag, KYT Crossbody, reinvents the everyday experience of diabetes from the ground up. It’s designed to hide in plain sight as a contemporary handbag, so you can keep your medical needs discreet. A testing station folds down to keep equipment organised and in easy reach. The bag splits into two, keeping medical necessities and life essentials separate. And it reconfigures into five different bags to suit your changing needs; take it all, or just take what you need. All these key features came as a direct result of co-creating with our community.
No premium, design-led solution existed in the diabetes market. So it was a space we wanted to own. We’ve purposely gone for a premium product and brand experience – high-quality materials and ethical production have gone into a bag that’ll look great, and work hard. They’re sold through our online store for $345, which is comparable with other bags of similar size, materials and quality.

How many bag options are there?
Our first and only release so far is the KYT Crossbody – but there’s plenty more to come. We launched this as a proof of concept to validate that there was an actual appetite for this kind of product. So far, people have loved what we’ve made. And we’ve had plenty of people asking for more options, too. They asked for more colours, so we released three new colour ways in the lead up to Christmas.

They’ve also asked for bigger versions, smaller versions, and we’ve even had plenty of requests for bag options for men; a whole new segment of the market. 
We’re currently sampling three new bag prototypes – a refined version of the existing Crossbody, a medium version, and a new option for guys. This is definitely just the beginning though. We’re aiming to launch these with a Kickstarter campaign later in the year and – all going well – this will open up our ability to extend the range further. 
How have you marketed the product?
So far people have found us through social, PR and word of mouth. We built a small but engaged following from the beginning, by documenting our design process over social, from some of our earliest prototypes. Being open about this process allowed us to get great feedback and steering early on, which helped inform our final designs. It also meant people were invested in us and the bags by the time we launched them for sale.
We’ve also had some great local PR, including hits in lifestyle and fashion mags/sites, and a spot on Seven Sharp (not to mention the likes of Idealog). And this has converted – every hit’s led to an obvious boost in sales. We’re hoping D&AD will create more noise for us on an international scale, to help us grow global interest in the lead-up to our Kickstarter campaign.

What has the response been locally/globally from people with diabetes?
We thought our original market would be young Kiwi women aged 20-35. It’s actually ended up being women from 19-90, all around the world. Seeing our customers sharing their lives with KYT over social has been rewarding and surreal; especially seeing a pic of someone wearing one at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Word of mouth has been our friend, with many customers recommending KYT to others. We’ve also been able to create connections between people who’ve seen each other wearing a KYT and realising they have a shared bond in diabetes.
We’ve also found a large proportion of our market is gifting – with family and friends using KYT as a way to support the diabetic in their life. Reading some of the messages these people have included for their loved ones has proven to us we’ve tapped into something rather special, and rather rewarding.
The best feedback we’ve ever received was from a woman in her 80s, who got in touch to say she’d been waiting over 50 years for a bag like KYT. Pretty cool stuff.
Update: the winner of the Side Hustle category at D&AD Awards 2019 was The Wayback. 

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

  • News
  • November 20, 2019
How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

New Zealand e-tailer Mighty Ape surveyed 2,962 Kiwi shoppers post-Christmas last year. Among its findings are that Black Friday is officially bigger than Boxing Day among its audience, with almost four times as many products were sold on Black Friday compared to Boxing Day 2018. Cyber Monday, the online-only sale that falls on the Monday following Black Friday, has also proven to be popular with Kiwis. It now also outsells Boxing Day at Mighty Ape.​ ​It's presented further findings in a clever infographic.

Read more

Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

New World and Colenso BBDO have unveiled this year’s Christmas ad, showing the generous Kiwi tradition of inviting every available Tom, Dick and Harry to Christmas lunch, resulting in many mouths to feed.

Read more

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • Latesha Randall
Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

Latesha Randall is ​the co-founder of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, a delicious dairy-free yoghurt born out of a beautiful town two hours south of Auckland. She previously documented the adventures of her company when it was a start-up in a column in Idealog – you can read it here. Recently, Randall traveled to the 2019 Natural Products Expo in Baltimore, USA and observed the food trends that were happening abroad. New Zealand foodies, take note: here, she reports back on what she thinks will be big contenders in the future food space.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

Two prominent Kiwi outdoor goods retailers, Kathmandu and Cactus Outdoor, have collaborated to produce a line of certified ‘Buy NZ Made’ products which will be launched in Kathmandu stores around New Zealand on Buy NZ Made Day this week.

Read more

Casual brows

  • Opinion
  • November 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Casual brows

As competition hots up between internationals and local brands in the beauty category, NZ Retail and The Register editor and associate publisher Sarah Dunn considers what comes next.

Read more

How New Zealand businesses performed in China’s 11.11 shopping festival

  • News
  • November 15, 2019
  • The Register team
How New Zealand businesses performed in China’s 11.11 shopping festival

This week marked Singles’ Day - a Chinese holiday run by mega-retailer Alibaba that, while still relatively unknown in the western world, is surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday in scale and sales. Alibaba reports it generated US$38.4 billion of gross merchandise volume this year.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit