It’s 2006. Our car’s 5-disc player is proudly set to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and we are excited to get home and watch season two of The Office, even though the settings on our Tivo only allowed us to get the first 75% of the episode. But for Kevin Winzer, then 18, the time was spent behind a sewing machine, sewing what would become You Saw Me’s first prototype. Kevin was stitching-up a sleeker reflective vest as part of his Maryland high school graduation project and a bargaining chip for his mom allowing him to safely sport a Yamaha YZF-R6.
It’s 2009. We’re hit by storm with the unveiling of Lady Gaga, but the safety vest has not left Kevin’s mind. He approaches former soccer teammate and close friend, Seth McBee to tinker with that first vest prototype. With excitement still stirring from engineering prerequisite courses successfully passed, the two decide to put “a bunch of LEDs” and reconfiguring the vest to appeal to motorcyclists and active roadside pedestrians, which we read about being hit by cars. In 2006. In 2009. Today.
With provisional patents filed, the team hand-sewed and meticulously soldered vests and began shopping them around, jotting down invaluable feedback for product development. The team progressed their material procurement and their manufacturing process, eventually contracting out a seamstress who specialized in wedding dress alterations, and later hiring a textile contract manufacture to produce the first launched product: a yellow vest with white LEDs embedded underneath. As Kevin and Seth completed college and entered the corporate world, they sold these vests and obtained more valuable feedback from their customers: “Do you make them in pink?”; “Are there pockets to hold my keys while running?”. The team went back to the drawing board. In 2013, now equipped with US and international utility patents, they resigned from their day jobs and relocated to Lexington, KY to show-off this game-changing safety apparel.
It’s 2014. Lady Gaga is here to stay and we are only now getting sick of that “All About That Bass” song. Despite a failed Kickstarter campaign, we are pushing forward to deliver the brightest, highest quality, and customer-designed safety vest. We appreciate everyone that “saw us” and have helped us get to where we are today. If you can take anything from this post, this site, or our product, know that we strive to make visibility safety custom, cool, and versatile. Our goal is to inherently save lives by creating an illuminated safety product line that people enjoy wearing, meshing fun and functionality with a highly engineered solution to becoming more noticeable.
Thanks for reading, stay safe, stay seen,
Seth & Kevin