Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace - manufactures a novel body cooling necklace technology that has helped thousands of people who suffer from the heat.

Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace – manufactures a novel body cooling necklace technology that has helped thousands of people who suffer from the heat.

Sam White, Founder of Nano-Ice, LLC

Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business

Sam White created this Cooling Necklace for his wife when they lived in India. She suffered from India’s unbearable hot weather. They would walk outside into a wall of heat and he was desperate to help her find some relief. Sam had originally gone to India to launch a different start-up that developed a new technology for enabling farmers to cold-store their perishable harvests. Sam took eight of the unused stock of plastic spheres with a water-based solution that had been used for the farmers, asked a tailor on the streets of Mumbai to sew them in cloth and gave it to his wife to put in the freezer. The necklace made all the difference. The next day she came home so thrilled that the cooling effect lasted for hours! At the time Sam did not think of it as a business opportunity but when they moved back to Boston, he started to think about sharing the benefits his wife got with other people.

He started to put the pieces together to create a wearable cooling technology that fits into a beautifully designed necklace that anyone, both men and women, can comfortably wear. The goal of Nano-Ice is to help people Beat the Heat in Style and help those who really suffer from heat issues. Today, many thousands of people are using this technology for a variety of heat-related issues. The Cooling Necklaces are handcrafted outside of Boston, and are improving the livelihoods of people who are in the local community.

Let’s talk about what’s behind this innovation. The technology inside the cooling spheres is based on a water-based phase-change material that freezes water in a more efficient manner. The liquid frozen inside the spheres of the Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace is the cutting edge development of the energy storage industry that Sam helped develop in India. The way we get the cooling effect to last longer is based on what happens during the freezing process; The Nano-Ice crystals interlock with each other more efficiently than standard frozen water, which means a longer cooling experience for you the customers (see graphic below). The Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace stays cold for up to 2 hours, but even after the ice crystals melt, you feel the cooling effect because the neck is responsible for regulating body temperature and is the ideal spot to cool down and gain optimal comfort. The frozen spheres are cooling the pulse points on your neck and is cooling blood going to your brain, so that effects is long-lasting after the ice melts. 

The design is especially convenient for people on the move or looking to put a stylish edge on their cooling experience. It’s as simple as taking your Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace out of your freezer and wearing it around your neck for instant relief. When traveling you can use an insulated lunch bag with a Freezer pack to ensure the necklace is cold. Stains from wetting a scarf with nasty chemicals inside are a thing of the past. 

The challenges the business/market is facing

The biggest challenge Sam faced was based on making the manufacturing process more efficient. For example, they started using magnets to tie the ends together. The problem was that very few people had the talent to sew the ends around the magnets. Then, one of the seamstresses who turned out to be a designer, the wonderful Laura Alspaugh, came to Sam with the idea of making the ends longer so the customers could simply tie them around their necks, like a scarf. That led to the idea of using bathing suit fabric that was both stretchy so people could stretch it over their heads once tied. The additional benefit of the bathing suit fabric is that it could dry fast when a little condensation appeared from the melting ice in humid weather. The next major problem was filling the empty spheres with the secret liquid they created that stores a lot of thermal energy. At first, they used a needle to fill them one by one. Then an engineer named Lael Odhner, the founder of Right Hand Robotics, suggested using a vacuum inside a pressurized chamber to fill 50 spheres at once. That enabled Nano-Ice to scale the manufacturing process very quickly. 

Now that the manufacturing side of the business was complete, then the issue became who wanted this? When he first started out, Sam was sure that the market was going to be construction workers, miners, and chefs. When he asked the heads of construction worker teams, they all said it would be really helpful. After months of targeting those markets, he realized that the necklace was too distracting when they were concentrating on their work. This was a tough dose of reality. Sam wishes he volunteered as a construction worker for a week to find out faster. If these workers who were stuck in hot weather conditions were not going to need them, who did need them, besides his wife?

The opportunities the business/market is facing

After his successful Kickstarter campaign, Sam started to get feedback from people who have autoimmune issues such as MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), where the heat brings on their serious symptoms. Sam was getting wonderfully thoughtful messages about how his cooling necklace has changed their lives. Many of them were stuck inside, afraid that the heat would bring on more symptoms. And now, for the first time, they could take walks outside with the Cooling Necklace and they would not experience the symptoms they were so scared of. It also started to be clear that many women started to use the Cooling Necklaces to alleviate hot flashes too. Women with menopause would get hotflashes even in their own airconditioned homes and the Cooling Necklace would prevent the symtoms. They could not go gardening again without the fear of what the heat would do to them.  Since then, he has received so many heartwarming notes telling him that his invention has changed their lives

Advice to others about starting a business

In many cases, persistence is more important than skill. Sam went through 12 different iterations of just the form-factor once the technology inside was perfected. How large should each sphere be? What should the color of the bead be? Where can the raw material be sourced? What are the current color trends for accessories? How would the two ends connect around the neck? The very first prototype was a baseball hat that had the cooling spheres hanging off the back! There were many times he just wanted to quit, but once he got that first note about how it changed someone’s life, he kept going. It was important to celebrate the small victories, such as finding the first fabric color. It was those small things that enabled him to maintain a positive attitude. Persistence is the antidote to skill in this case.

If there is one takeaway from Sam’s experience, it’s on the early customer side of the business. He suggests that just because people in a certain industry (such as construction) tell you that your invention would be great, be fast about recognizing if it’s not the right market and pivot quickly. It’s not easy to figure that out. Most people want to be kind when you bring them a new idea with such excitement in your voice. And in most cases people will tell you that they would love it. But the true test is when you start charging them money. Would they pay for it? 

Be honest with yourself when asking, “would I pay for it if I were that person”? And once you get the answer, don’t be afraid to change course quickly.

Ultimately, the Kickstarter surfaced the people who needed it most, and that was lucky. Sometimes luck is even more important that persistence! 

We hope reading about this journey is helpful.

Sam White

[email protected]

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Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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