VestPakz is a vest with huge front and bag pockets. Christen Bell invented it as part of a science experiment because she wanted a convenient vest that could carry her school books.
The main selling point of VestPakz isn’t just its convertible nature. It also distributes weight evenly on the front and back. Christen owns the patent to the VestPakz, but her dad, Michael Wooley, has been the primary representative since it was invented.
It took Wooley some time to find a manufacturer for VestPakz, eventually securing a manufacturing deal with Eastport. The company was centered around the product, and Wooley became its CEO.
However, the product isn’t a well-known brand name despite VestPakz having been around for a while. However, when Christen Bell first invented it, she was invited to Oprah’s show for her accomplishment. Bell shared that her teacher wanted them to solve a common problem with a convenient solution, and she came up with this.
The invention was so clever that it was featured at the Smithsonian Innovation Festival in 2014.
Are They Still an Active Company?
No, they are out of business. The company fizzled out after failing to secure the deal from Shark Tank.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Michael Wooley came to Shark Tank with a representative from Eastport, Arthur Grier. He came seeking an investment of $50,000 for a 10% share in VestPakz. To demonstrate the efficiency of Vestpakz, Wooley brought two children wearing the vest. He also handed out samples of the product.
He added that VestPakz had managed to get $10,000 from sales in the past two months. Wooley said that Eastport had exclusive sales rights as the manufacturer, and he got a 6.5% royalty from each sale.
They shared that the product did really well because it had been put out in 75 Walmart outlets. Wooley was looking to put it back in the market in time for the approaching school season.
What was even odder to the Sharks was that the product only managed to make $10,000 in the 2 months it was on Walmart for. Apart from that, most of the pitch was about the potential for a re-order from Walmart.
The Sharks were hesitant from the beginning. They found it odd that it had taken so much time for the product to be put out there if Christen had invented it almost a decade ago. Plus, the sales were disappointing, putting Lori and Robert off from the beginning. Kevin and Mark felt the concept was weak and unlikely to do well on the market.
Only Barbara seemed to like the product but didn’t feel it was being marketed correctly, so she backed off too. A big drawback to the pitch was that the inventor herself wasn’t present to talk about the product, which made Wooley’s claim to it seem illegitimate.
The VestPakz Shark Tank review didn’t go well overall.
Our Review of VestPakz
We tried out VestPakz to see how it performs in real life.
The good news is that the vest was easy-to-wear, and you could easily slip your books into the front and the back if you were in a hurry. The design is pretty appealing. It comes in pink and a camouflage pattern, depending on your preference.
The bad news is that it isn’t as novel as some of the newer convertible backpacks. It doesn’t offer waterproof protection and doesn’t have much variation in the number of pockets available.
- It’s lighter than a backpack.
- It’s easy to wear in a hurry.
- Smart product design
- It can’t fit a lot of books.
- It isn’t waterproof.
- It doesn’t have variations in pockets.
- It’s expensive.
Who is VestPakz for?
The target audience for VestPakz is school-going kids who want a convenient convertible backpack. Eastport mainly advertises to kids aged 4-6.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Convertible backpacks aren’t that novel. There are many options available for an easy-to-carry backpack to stuff things into when you’re in a hurry.
CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpackis one alternative to VestPakz. Like VestPakz, it’s a backpack that supplies water to students who want to stay hydrated. It can hold 1.5L of water, and unlike the VestPakz, it’s also better designed with extra storage pockets and reflective colors.
It comes with a wide variation of pockets. There’s a cycling tool organizer pocket, a breezy mesh rear panel for a nice and relaxing ride, and a stretchy overflowing compartment for stashing a raincoat or additional layer.
This backpack isn’t just for school-going kids, though. It’s perfect for traveling as well. Because of the reflective colors, kids will be easier to spot from a distance, plus it has a safety whistle attached so they can blow on it if they’re ever in danger.
The pack has an on/off lever to prevent water from leaking and can deliver a lot of water per sip. It’s perfect for reminding kids to drink water throughout the day, and they can also use it to carry their books.
Our Final Thoughts
VestPakz is an exciting novelty item for students looking for a fun way to carry their books to school, but it seems like it would be harder to use daily.
Carrying a backpack seems much faster and more convenient than wearing a vest. The idea is a bit outdated since it was first invented when there weren’t that many convertible backpack options on the market. The pack doesn’t offer many pockets and can’t handle many books.
However, VestPakz is an innovative invention that is definitely more lightweight as compared to a backpack. It’s also perfect for its target customers, who don’t have that many books to carry to school.