Penny In Yo’ Pants, the concept that became an internet sensation in 2014, is back with a new product and a crowdfunding campaign to get it into production.
The original concept was simple: combine a penny and an elastic band and you have a novel way of transforming a skirt into shorts when cycling. The idea and the associated video quickly went viral online, with coverage in the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, BBC World News and Cosmopolitan magazine.
Johanna Holtan, one of the people behind Penny In Yo’ Pants, explains how it came about. ‘It began at CycleHack, a 48-hour global hackathon event that aims to reduce the barriers to cycling. There were a few of us who were keen to explore ideas around making it more comfortable to wear everyday clothes on bikes.’
‘At CycleHack, the idea isn’t enough so we created a really short one-take film, a brand, and website. Before we knew it, women all over the world were sharing it, and talking about how it was actually inspiring them to give cycling another go’
Although immensely popular, the team behind Penny In Yo’ Pants also received feedback that the system was aggressive on fabric, and not that easy to put on and take off. They started working on a new product based on the same idea, and after months of research at MAKLab in Glasgow, the new improved Penny In Yo’ Pants was born.
‘The new Penny uses the same ideas as the penny and rubber band, but makes it a bit more stylish. You push a penny (or any currency) through the back of the skirt and into a newly designed puck. The puck frames the fabric nicely, and when you aren’t using it, it doubles as a broach or cinch for a scarf.’
The product is available via crowdfunding site Indiegogo over a 30 day period. £5 gets you a Penny, £12 gets you three, or you can simply donate money to the cause. There are also options for retailers and suppliers.
This isn’t the first time crowdfunding has been used to lauch a product for the women’s cycling market. The popular Urbanist range of chamois pants was initially launched on Kickstarter, and is now available through retail outlets in the UK and worldwide. Could we see a repeat of this success story here?
The Penny In Yo’ Pants team certainly hope so. ‘We really believe in the power of small ideas and making a change. It would be great to see Penny grow in a way that is not only useful for women’s journeys, but also creating awareness.
In line with this philosophy, the team are also donating a portion of the sales profits to good causes and charities that support women on their bikes, a concept they call ‘Penny for Good’. The Afghan Women’s Cycling team are the first to benefit, a team who, as Holtan states, are ‘challenging gender barriers and putting their lives at risk for the love of cycling’.