Jennifer Shrader Staff writer
October 23, 2013
For University of Georgia students and alumni, school pride is just a touch away.
Hillyer Jennings, a LaGrange High School graduate and University of Georgia alumni, created and now is marketing “wrist tunes,” a bracelet that plays “Glory Glory,” the UGA fight song.
And for those who don’t necessarily bleed red and black, other school songs and music are in the works.
For Jennings, the bracelets were a way to combine music and business, and the inspiration didn’t come between the hedges.
“When I was a second-year student at Harvard Law School, the idea for Wrist Tunes came to me while celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” he said. “It really just popped into my head. I knew that if the product existed, I would buy it. That simple validation is what motivated me to make Wrist Tunes a reality.”
Jennings, now an attorney in New York, said he always had a passion for music.
“I started taking classical piano lessons at age seven, and I earned a music (piano) minor from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia in 2009. Also while at UGA, I majored in Finance in the Terry College of Business, and I was in the Music Business Program. The mixture of music and business was perfect, and I knew that I wanted to do something entrepreneurial long-term,” he said.
Developing the product wasn’t easy for Jennings, who admits to not being technologically savvy.
“Although the product idea is simple enough, I originally had no idea about the technical aspects of the product, including the printed circuit board, the capacitor, the wiring, the batteries, and the speaker,” he said. “Without the appropriate technical know-how to build the product myself (I tried and failed miserably), I made use of what was around me by finding similar components in other products, prepared drawings of the product, and then hired experts to help me put it all together. First, I hired an electronics engineering firm based in Massachusetts to perform a feasibility study, and then I was referred to a tech company in Hong Kong that helped me develop the working prototypes.”
UGA fans have loved the results.
“There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from UGA fans when they see and hear the product,” he said. “The bracelet is a fun product that plays the song out loud and puts a smile on your face. People love UGA football, and Wrist Tunes are a great way to show support for your team. I have sold the bracelets in Athens on gamedays, and the bracelets are for sale in about 16 retail stores across the state of Georgia, with more to come”
Jennings has plans to develop the product for other SEC schools and beyond.
“Next football season, Wrist Tunes will have Alabama and Auburn fight song bracelets, and the company will continue to expand its collegiate offering to get all of the SEC schools, ACC schools and eventually all large universities across the country,” he said. “At the same time, I am pursuing pop music bracelets that should be released in 2014. The idea is to have bright-colored bracelets with songs from popular artists who have nationwide, and even global, fan bases. I am excited about the product and the direction of the company, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.”
“I have to thank everyone who has helped make my dream a reality and get the business off the ground,” Jennings said. “The bracelets can be purchased online at www.WristTunes.com and at several stores in LaGrange, including Plum Southern and Edelson’s Army Store. The bracelets are great gifts throughout the football season, and they will be great stocking stuffers for Christmas.”