Canada Safety Reflector 🇨🇦

Happy Canada Day! Bonne Fête du Canada!

Today is a special Canada Day, the 150th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution Act. To celebrate, we have launched a Canada safety reflector in our webshop! It will be available online in Canada later this summer. We are excited that our funflector safety reflectors have been so well received in Canada and are looking forward to help more Canadians around the world stay visible in the dark.

Oval Canada safety reflector with red maple leaf on front and Canada on back
Oval Canada safety reflectors to hang on jackets, bags, backpacks, strollers or wheelchairs. The image shows front and back.

The Constitution Act laid the foundation for Canada in 1867, the first Dominion within the British Empire with four provinces; Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. It then took until 1982 to fully end the separation process so that Canada could make changes to their own constitution without the involvement of the British parliament.

Canada is a Little More Like Europe

For a European expat living in the US, it is directly noticeable that Canada has stronger ties and more similarities to Europe. It’s not just its constitutional monarchy, universal healthcare and strict gun laws. It is also the feeling we got to be halfway to Europe when visiting Toronto. We were greeted by a swift, quiet and modern train, the UPExpress, taking us from the Toronto Pearson International Airport to Union Station downtown Toronto.

Riding the UP Express between downtown Toronto and Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Riding the UP Express from the airport to downtown Toronto, of course with a moose safety reflector on our backpack!

As we walked around – visited the first postoffice, had lunch at St. Lawrence Market, stopped by the MEC store and walked over to the Music garden – we got the feeling that the city planners had put a little bit more thought into accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists than what we have become used to in the US. It didn’t feel quite as much as “cars first and pedestrians second” as when walking around downtown Chicago.

Monument to Multiculturalism in Toronto, Canda
Old, new and naked give Toronto a European touch. Monument to Multiculturalism at Union Station.

While we were at designing the Canada safety reflector, our creativity spilled over to a notebook that you can find on Zazzle in Canada, the US, the UK, Sweden, Germany and many more. (Search for 130216423539889285).

Notebook for Canada lovers with oversized maple leaf and "Canada" in red lettering. Design by glimling
Notebook for Canada lovers. Design by glimling.

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The Treble Clef Safety Reflector 🎼

Safety for Musicians and Music Lovers

Musicians and music lovers are at double risk ending up in nighttime pedestrian crashes. 1. They are mostly dressed in black. 2. They often head homewards in the dark after evening concerts and rehearsals. Obviously, these things won’t change, so the easiest solution is to add some reflective gear that fits right in. A black treble clef safety reflector is stylish and blends in with any black outfits. It can hang on instrument cases, jackets, purses, backpacks and bags. Then in nighttime traffic, it puts its wearer in the spotlight with its reflective power. Thanks to a unique manufacturing technique, our black reflectors reflect as effectively as those in lighter colors. Check out all the colors in our webshop!  When the music lovers in you family have more musical jewelry, Christmas ornaments, socks and scarves or ties than they need, the treble clef safety reflector will be a welcomed gift any time of the year.

Black treble clef and white snowflake safety reflectors.

The treble clef is a fascinating symbol and what a joy it was as a kid to master the acrobatics of the pen to write it! It starts from the center of the swirl, loops around itself, goes up and then straight down through the initial swirl to end with a “hook.” In modern notation, the swirl vortex is located on the second line of the stave, which is where the G4 note is. That’s why it also goes by the name G-clef.

The funflector treble clef safety reflector on a purse.
The funflector treble clef safety reflector is an elegant accessory for every purse and handbag.

Where Does the Treble Clef Come From

The story of the treble clef is somewhat obscure, but here is one plausible explanation. About 1000 years ago, the musical stave only had one line, instead of todays five, and a letter in the beginning would tell the pitch. The  letter was accompanied by a gamut to indicate the range of notes of a voice or instrument. The G, followed by the gamut “sol, re, ut” turned into “G.S.” Later, the S migrated to a position above the G. In times of hand copying music, the S above  the G eventually turned into the treble clef as we know it today. For the curious reader, this is described more in length by Jimmy Stamp in the Smithsonian magazine.

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How To Choose a Brand Name

Eons ago, when we were still at the research stage for all that we do today, we needed to choose a brand name. All we had, was a handful of safety reflector samples from a manufacturer and a some ideas and advice. Today, on the anniversary of finding our funflector brand name, we would like to share some ideas we had on how to choose a brand name that cut through the noise on search engines and help you build your own niche. These were our criteria:

  • The brand name needed to be different from our business name, the newly registered glimling.com LLC
  • The brand name needed to be available as a .com domain
  • The brand name should not be a normal word or series of words as it would be hard to find our products when using the brand name in search engines.
  • The brand name needed to be reasonably short so the URL was easy to read, remember and type.
  • The brand name needed to flow and be easy to pronounce and spell in American English. Having lived in Sweden, Germany and France in addition to the US, we had plenty of impossible names to draw from.
  • Of course, the brand name must not be offensive, obscene or disrespectful.
  • Lastly, it would be nice if the brand name described the product.

We came up with gazillions of ideas, and some we believed in enough to test in google. For most, however googling was the end until March 15th. That’s when when we typed in funflector.

how to choose a brand name - funflector on google 2010

The result: “Your search – funflector – did not match any documents.” Yes! In that very moment we knew we had chosen a great brand name!Try that today and see how many hits you get!

So, that’s our story on how to choose a brand name!

A couple of weeks later, as we were about to submit trademark registration for funflector, we listened to a webinar about branding. They talked about how many of the best brand names were made up from two normal words smushed together into one name. And that was exactly how we had turned “fun reflector” into funflector!

We still love our brand name and it keeps serving us well.

What’s your favorite advice when it comes to brand creation? Please comment below!

Elisabeth 

Thoughtful Valentine’s Gift Idea ❤️

Without getting a chance to breath after the holidays, endless store shelves are already filled with red and pink Valentine Day’s gifts. It can easily be overwhelming and just a bit too sugary. If you are looking for a useful and thoughtful Valentine’s gift idea, this piece of rainbow striped eye candy might be just that. It is absolutely sugar-free and instead it brings safety and a piece of mind. It is super easy to send as a gift with a greeting card.  Who would you not want to surprise with a loving heart any day of the year?

Heart safety reflector makes a thoughtful Valentine's gift idea for those you care about the most.
Looking for a thoughtful Valentine’s gift idea?

Funflector safety reflectors are thin, soft and lightweight and make  great gifts and a-little-somehting to gift all seasons of the year.

A heart shaped safety reflector is a perfect thoughtful Valentine's gift idea.
A heart shaped safety reflector is a perfect Valentine’s gift idea.

With the signature color matching ball chains, the funflector safety reflector can be hung in many places, zipper pulls on bags and jackets, on strollers and wheelchairs.

Love your dog? Giv it a dangling safety reflector on its collar to help drivers see it.

Love your kids? Give them a safety reflector (or two) for their backpacks and jackets so the early morning school bus driver can see them clearly. College students need reflectors too!

Love your mom? Give her a safety reflector for her purse or jacket.

Love your grandpa? Give him a safety reflector for his walker or jacket.

Love coffee? Give yourself a coffee themed safety reflector!

Because it is better to be seen than sorry…

Happy Valentine’s Day!  ❤️

Halloween Safety

Halloween is just a week away and it’s time not just to plan costumes and decoration but also to prep your teens and kids for a safe and fun night. Drivers not seeing trick-or-treaters is the number one halloween safety concern that should be on every adult’s mind this week. It is not too late to order funflector reflectors, ultra-bright Halloween reflectors that are fun and stylish. The Ninja and Ninja star safety reflectors are sailing up as our best sellers this year! From now to Halloween, we’ll promise to get any orders out our door within 24 hours.

Halloween Safety Tips Poem

4 Steps to Halloween Safety

Twice as many kids get killed on our roads on Halloween compared to any other night of the year. Here are 4 easy steps you can take to significantly lower the risks. Go to our post from last year if you want to dig deeper.

1. Use reflectors. At least two (front and back or left and right) but there can never be too many!

2. Follow Traffic Rules. You should know them, if not: study!

3. Talk Traffic Safety with Your Kids – start BEFORE Halloween, or even better, discuss traffic safety with your kids year-around.

4. Remind Drivers, particularly young drivers, on the importance to putting away distractions while driving.

So how about the flash light, tainted candy, ration the kid’s candy, inspecting candy and more? In our opinion, they are well meant, but draws attention from the real danger! Flash lights are good for seeing where you put your feet, but does not give as good surround visibility as a couple of reflectors. Good quality safety reflectors are a very effective solution.

The scary part of Halloween should not take place in the emergency room so it’s better to be seen than sorry!

The glimling team

Meet the Gravitational Wave

Meet the gravitational wave safety reflector
Gravitational Wave safety reflector. Design by the Particle Zoo.

On February 11, 2016, scientists of the LIGO collaboration sent ripples through the scientific community with the announcement of the detection of a gravitational wave. Gravitational waves are released from collisions of black holes, supernovae and even the remnants of radiation created by the birth of the Universe. It’s a story of bright brains, the unimaginably huge, the extremely tiny, and human persistence. Einstein predicted them 100 years ago but never expected anyone to be able to measure the tiny effect.

Gravitational Wave Safety Reflector

The remarkable discovery inspired the Particle Zoo to design a Gravitational Wave for the Particle Zoo collection. We are very excited to introduce it and you can find it in the funflector webshop. It is actually the first in the collection to be released as a safety reflector before existing as a plushie :)

So, what’s the big deal with gravitational waves?

Imagine 1.3 billion years ago, two black holes, about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, dancing around each other several times per second before merging into one black hole. Within a couple seconds, they release the energy equivlant of 3 suns worth of mass. That energy is spread around the universe in a gravitational wave and ripped through the LIGO detectors in September 14, 2015 during an engineering run. With two 4 km (2.5 miles) arms with state of the art vacuum chambers and laser beams, a distortion the size of 1/1000 of the diameter of a proton was detected. The 1000 scientists and engineers could hardly believe how lucky they were and for several months turned every stone to make sure it was a real event and not just a fault in the equipment or software. In December last year, they detected a second event. Below is a nice 6-minute explanation by awesome Neil deGrasse Tyson of the physics behind and the magnitude of the discovery.

Like many new discoveries, the detectors are miracles of engineering and the team had to push technology to new hights to accomplish the new discoveries. If you want to dive deep into both physics and technology, this hour long lecture on Gravitational Waves from SLAC is a good start.

I remember learning about the experiment while taking a class in relativity in college. At that time, it seemed like they aimed for a very lofty goal, so I was thrilled to read about the discovery back in February. Although I’m not pursuing physics research anymore, it’s fun to circle back and provide friends, former colleges, physicists and other scientists with some unique and very niched safety reflectors for jackets, bags and backpacks. I know how easy it is to lose track of the time and not get out of the lab until way later than planned…

Elisabeth 

Trabant or Volvo Style Safety?

Like most everything else, not all reflectors are created equal. You can buy “reflective gear” and “safety reflectors” and yes, or course, they all reflect – at least a little bit. But how do you know if they reflect enough? You want the Volvo, not the Trabant when it comes to the safety of yourself and your loved ones, but how do you know which is which?

Let’s take a look at two reflective slap wraps, both with a black and white pattern, but made with different manufacturing techniques and different reflective materials. The striped one, we found online, while the other one is “Baroque” from our own webshop.

Comparing good and bad safety reflectors
Diagonal stripes printed ON the reflective surface while the baroque pattern of the funflector wrap is printed on the material UNDER the 3M Scotchlite material. Surprised about the result?

How is the safety reflector printed?

As you can see in the image, the two safety reflectors may look similar, but the way they are manufactured are vastly different. The striped one is made in bulk and then printed with logos and patterns as orders come in. But what happens if you print on top of the reflective material? Well, obviously, you loose reflective power where the ink is as you can see in the image. The funflector wrap, on the other hand, has been assembled with a printed material that goes UNDER the reflective layer. That way you can get as much colors/prints as you want, and the entire surface is still totally reflective. Obviously, this makes manufacturing more complicated as the sealing machine needs to be fired up for each order. You can tell the difference by wiggling the reflector and see if the clarity of the print looks different depending on the angle. If i does, then you know that the microprisms are on top of the the print and will reflect the car headlights back to the drivers to its fullest capacity.

What material is the reflector made from?

Good reflectors use reflective material from companies who put serious effort into maximizing reflectivity. We use 3M, which you can recognize on three little triangles scattered across the material. Less reflective material usually has no trace of manufacturer. As you can see in the image, the reflective power of the striped reflector is weaker than the other, uneven along the length of the reflector and half is covered in ink.

Price is often a good indicator of the level of safety, just like the Volvo cost more than a Trabant, good reflectors cost  more than bad ones. The material cost more and the manufacturing process is more complicated. However, for us, saving lives always wins over saving pennies.

Trabant at the German History Museum in Berlin.
Trabant at the German History Museum in Berlin. Cute? Yes. Safe? No.

 

The glimling team

3 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips

Back to school notebooks, pens and safety reflectors.School supplies piled high, schedules checked and papers signed. Getting kids back to school can be daunting, and it is easy to forget all the soft things that are not on the provided supply lists, for example talking with your kids how to handle difficult and dangerous situations or what to do if they see bullying or are the target of it. Strategies and safety tips for how to deal with bullies, strangers and traffic dangers is something every kid should be taught.

1. Tools for Kids to Deal With Bullying

Bullying hurts, emotionally and/or physically, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, it also prevents learning and developing new skills. Take the time to talk with your kids about bullying, how to stand up for others and how they can protect themselves.  It’s not always so easy to bring up the topic of bullying with the kids, we found some good tips here on how to talk about bullying. Go here to get strategies for your kids to deal with and prevent bullying. Give them the confidence to stand up for themselves but also to help others who might be the target of bullying.

2. Teach Kids More Than “Stranger Danger”

“Stranger Danger” is easy to tell kids, but it does not give them any tools to deal with creepy, scary and dangerous situations. When doing nothing is not enough, kids need to know what action to take. We like the site ChildSafetyFun.com as it gives kids and parents tools to assess strangers, most of whom are thankfully good people, and take immediate action when they are not. It teaches kids how they can verbally and physically protect themselves and encourages you to practice different situations with your kids.

3. Practice Road Safety With Your Kids

Whether your kids walk or bike to school, or wait for the school bus at the side of the road, they need to understand to take traffic seriously. That goes for teens in middle and high school too! We have mentioned it many times before on this blog, but here is a quick reminder:

  • Cross streets on crosswalks and at intersections. Most  pedestrian crashes (70%) occur in the middle of the block.
  • Walk on the left side if there is no sidewalk. That way you know what’s going on with the traffic closest to you, and you will have more time to step away if needed.
  • Wear reflectors from dusk to dawn when walking, biking or running. Cars have rear lights to be seen and it is equally important for anyone not in a car to make themselves seen by drivers. Of all fatal teen pedestrian accidents, 75% happen when it’s dark. Make sure your kids don’t end up as a tally mark in the 2016 crash statistics.

The best way to teach kids how to behave is to practice what you preach. Be a good role model and park the car a block away next time, and use that to practice crossing streets. Especially, teach the kids to watch out for drivers turning “right on red” because those drivers are often only looking to the left… Wear reflectors yourself (you don’t want to become a tally mark either, right?) from dusk to dawn. For those adults who don’t think ninja star or kitten safety reflectors are the right style for you, we have some more “neutral” ones too :)

The funflector team

 

P.S. And to all parents out there who need to take a deep breath now when kids are back in school: This safety reflector is for you, enjoy!

Don't forget yourself: Take Time To Smell The Coffee! Safety Reflector
Don’t forget yourself: Take Time To Smell The Coffee safety reflector!

The Meaning of the Ampersand

Ampersand safety reflector in sandalwood hanging on the handle of a bag.
Ampersand safety reflector in sandalwood hanging on the handle of a bag.

The typographic symbol “&” or “ampersand”, is a fun squiggle that requires some practice to write smoothly. As the funflector team has worked on the design of our ampersand safety reflector, I remember the proud feeling of accomplishment when, in second grade, I finally got the pen to turn and twist the right way. From a designer’s perspective it is fun to play around with and many different 3D versions has lately made it onto the shelves of many home decorating stores. The Design Hack has written a blog post on the history and their love affair with the graphic beauty and styles of the ampersand and we totally share their love of the design.

If you want to decorate your home with ampersands, there are so many styles, materials and sizes, but how about if you want to decorate your bags or clothing with one? We did not find many ampersand accessories beyond jewelry so we are proud to add an ampersand safety reflector to our 2016 collection. It looks awesome on jackets, bags and purses. Check it out in our webshop here!

What’s the meaning of the Ampersand?

Ampersand home decoration and safety reflector.
Ampersand home decoration covered in with sequence and purple safety reflector.

The ampersands symbolizes the word “AND”, which is
the word that brings people together, ties together two disparate things or thoughts,
the word that can make 1+1 equal to 3
AND it is the word that if used in the right place, sparks discoveries and innovation! The ampersand is also a reminder that we are not alone, but stronger together. As a friend of mine put it: “I have many brothers and sisters and think of us all strung together by the word AND. So when I se the ampersand, it makes me think of my loving family.”

In many languages  it represent a very short word
AND in English
UND in German
ET in French
OG in Danish
even in Finnish where something as simple as 1-2-3 is yksi-kaksi-kolme, the word for “and” is JA.

Why is it a favorite for us? When you put AND between thoughts, concepts and models that have not previously been combined, that’s when you get discoveries and innovation! It is also a constant reminder to take one more step, to dig one shovel deeper and take in one more viewpoint. And then what?

We’d love to hear what you think of when you see the ampersand. Please comment below!

Elisabeth

Happy 4th of July!

The funflector team is wishing everyone a fantastic and safe Independence Day!

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

This year, we are sending our 4th of July greetings from Paris, France, one of many stops during our very inspirational travels this summer. We have been collecting ideas for future safety reflector designs and of course taken the opportunity to shoot some fun photos.

The funflector team

 

Better seen than sorry | North America's premier SAFETY REFLECTORS for walking, running and bicycling

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