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Review | Back to BASICS (Products)

By Jessica Hancock

It all started by a lake in Montana where co-founders Jon Richards and Jacob Durham grew up. While they spent their summers there as kids, their imaginations ran wild. “Between building traps to catch groundhogs, constructing forts, and even building a dance floor that we could pull behind a boat, our creativity led us to all kinds of shenanigans. It has been so fun to use this creativity to build a company and help people simplify their lives.” Jon replies.

Fast forward a few years: they’re sitting at a Utah Jazz basketball game and doing what they always did, thinking of how they could make something better. Bouncing ideas back and forth during the game, they decided right then and there that they were going to do a Kickstarter campaign, just for fun. Both Jon and Jacob like minimalism, so they started there and decided they could design a better, more usable wallet. The BASICS Wallet was born.

That first campaign took off like wildfire, earning $171,000 for their simple wallet design. The BASICS Company was born. Jacob and Jon quit their day jobs after the successful campaign and dove headfirst into creating. The simplicity and utility that the wallet offered could be applied to so many everyday products, and the cousins saw that clearly. They also conceived of a new product idea during this time. Throughout design process, Jon and Jacob were consistently using their notebooks, but no one notebook could do the whole job. This would become their second product.

When the cousins launched their second Kickstarter campaign for the BASICS Notebook, they had no idea how it would take off. $383,000 later, and surpassing all of their expectations, the BASICS Notebook flew off the shelves (online). “The notebook was designed to make people’s lives easier to manage, and there’s nothing else like it on the market,” says Jon. It offers multiple scheduling options, scratch paper, and even whiteboard paper. “Crowdfunding is a very unique platform that allows you to launch products into the market with very little risk. We use Kickstarter and have raised over half a million dollars in under one year.  As long as you put in the time, you can be successful. Social media plays a huge part in spreading the word about ideas and can be a great space to spend time learning what your customers want,” states Jacob.

So where do they go from here? Only up is an option. They are currently selling to over 70 countries worldwide, “We plan to launch other products under the BASICS name that help people to simplify their lives and get back to the BASICS with style.”

The BASICS Wallet
Price: $19.99 and there’s nothing else like it.2016-06-14 11.29.15
When I first opened the wallet, I thought, “How the heck am I going to use this thing?” I’m one of those people who carries around 20 cards, from bank to store cards, and I rarely carry cash. Part of my struggle is knowing where to put everything. So, with the wallet, I ended up just taking my five most used cards and then storing the rest in the zip pocket of my purse. It’s got this sort of bungee spring, and the pull tab makes it so I can quickly pull the cash out of one side or the cards out of the other. Here’s what I wasn’t expecting: I loved it. When I switched purses or just wanted to run around at the ball field with the kids, I didn’t need to bring my purse. Just grab the wallet and phone and go. I literally never thought I would be a wallet person because I love being able to carry all of the things in my purse, but this doesn’t feel like a wallet. It’s like a tiny organizer that helped me decide what I really needed and what I didn’t. At the end of the day, it even frees up some space in my purse so I can still carry all of my other necessities while knowing I can lose the extra weight anytime.

The BASICS Notebook and Whiteboard Pen
Price: Notebook $29.99, Whiteboard Pen $2.99

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First things first – it comes with a user manual. You’re probably reading this and thinking exactly what I was thinking: “Who the hell needs a user manual for a notebook?” The short answer is everyone. Seriously, take the little booklet out, so you don’t miss any of the features that were thoughtfully put into the design. Once properly acquainted with my new sidekick, I dove right it. There’s a lot to cover here, but there were a few things I loved off the bat. One is the look of the notebook. It’s clean and straightforward, with an open design, slim bookmarks to hold your place, and comes in either black or mint. (Note the space for the pen on top).

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Second was the lay-flat design. No more holding one side down while fighting the other side to write. The notebook has two elastics that hold down each side of the notebook for you.

Third was the open design of the calendar. The first page of the calendar is a month view, and the next few pages are week by week view. This way you can easily put in holidays and projects to remember for the long term as well as a weekly breakdown of how you are going to accomplish those things. Within those calendars there’s space to make notes, set-up monthly and daily tasks/goals, a priority list, and even an activity to do each week.

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Finally, all of the free pages in the back. There are lined pages for notes/ideas, perforated, lined, and blank pages, and two double-sided pieces of whiteboard paper. Yes, whiteboard paper. I didn’t think I was going to use those very much but turns out they’re actually perfect for brainstorming, so I don’t have to waste a whole sheet of paper for anything. The whiteboard pen has a fine tip, so it writes like a regular pen which comes in handy if you don’t have one with you.

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My only complaint is that I want MORE. I wish there were a few more lined and blank pages in the back because I’m watching them fill up fast. This has become my new favorite planner/notebook. It’s like a little one-man band in my purse.

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