Imagine you’re working out at the gym or in your home while following a routine through a fitness app on your phone, or you’re doing deadlifts and recording it to perfect your form.
Some people will prop their phone on a kettlebell. Others lay it on the floor or hold it at arm’s length. More often than not, however, there’s no good place to set your phone during your workout.
A Frederick resident and certified personal trainer saw this as a problem and decided to create a solution.
SideBottle is a plastic water bottle that holds a smartphone to the side of it with an adjustable kickstand on the bottom to put the bottle and phone at a desirable angle.
“For me ... I can combine two things, and that’s really how the idea sparked,” said Jimmy King, creator of SideBottle. “How can we get people’s phones out of their pockets, but off of the gym floor? That’s huge in fitness. Many gym owners and many gymgoers will agree that they always have those two things with them.”
Before developing the idea, he wrote workout plans for his parents on Post-it notes and stuck it to their water bottles.
He and his wife, Hannah, both have a fitness background and plan to market it, initially, to gyms and those in the fitness industry.
The mobile fitness app industry was valued at $2.1 billion in 2017, according to Polaris Market Research, a worldwide market research and consulting organization. By 2026, the fitness app industry is expected to grow to $14.7 billion.
“That’s where we see the sales going with this,” he said. “That’s really how we thought of this idea. Being in all different types of gyms and seeing a huge amount of people with water and phones with them at all times.”
Along with combining the two, it was also important that the phone, and camera, be able to be in use as people in the fitness industry tend to record their workouts.
“That’s why there’s an adjustable kickstand. It makes it so the front camera is at a really ideal angle every single time,” he said. “Using this to track their workouts is huge.”
SideBottle has a patent pending on a water bottle that can hold a phone and keep the phone usable while it’s attached to the bottle. The patent also includes the adjustable kickstand with its two locking positions.
The bands that hold the phone in place are adjustable, so it can hold any smartphone with a small- to medium-sized case and a pop socket — a round base attached to the back of a phone.
“We wanted to make sure in the design that it was simple and convenient.” he said.
Hannah King used to be a dancer and would film herself practicing choreography. Now that she is also in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, SideBottle solves a huge problem for her.
“It’s really convenient for me and for filming my workouts and correcting form for my clients,” she said.
Jimmy King, a business entrepreneurship graduate of York College of Pennsylvania, said he came up with the idea a little over a year ago which started with “poorly drawn samples” and led to finding an engineering team, finding someone with a 3D printer to create a prototype and figuring out what materials to use.
Along with the plastic bottle, the phone straps are made of durable silicone. The bottle will come in different colors and be semi-see-through.
While he’s taken the product from idea to development mostly on his own, he has had help from family and friends.
Brian Weddle is usually the first to hear about one of the many ideas King has and ends up telling King if it’s a good idea, or a bad one.
Weddle, who has known King since childhood, owns a graphic design company, One 87 Graphics, that used 3D printing to build the prototype.
“Everyone wants to hit it big, so we’re always thinking of something to make or do,” he said. “This is one that he’s actually taken the farthest. We started with just sketching stuff out and then we got with a company to have it designed.”
He also helped design SideBottle’s logo.
“He really just tells me what to make,” he said with a laugh. “He tells me what he likes, what he doesn’t like. We probably worked on it for about a week and had little alterations here and there.”
While the water bottle will produce condensation, the wall where the phone sits will condensate less.
“With phones nowadays, we are not concerned about the level of condensation getting into the phone and damaging it,” he said. “We’ve tested that many times with the prototype, and cold water is not going to be an issue.”
If it does become an issue he plans to look into solutions, like using stainless steel. He also focused on the bottle being leak proof by implementing a durable lid.
The bottle is on Kickstarter with a goal to raise $18,000. As of Thursday, it had raised $4,300.
The money will go toward making the molds for each part of the bottle. The molds will be used to mass-produce the bottles.
“We have the manufacturers lined up; everything is ready. We’re just in that money-raising phase,” King said.
The manufacturer is in China and has experience making other water bottle products, he said.
He’s already taking pre-sales with larger gyms but plans to go to market in January.
“Our main sales avenue is going to be fitness, at first,” he said. “I think some youth sports are going to like it for filming, climbing, baseball, tennis or any youth sport in general. Filming your form and learning from that is huge.
“If you are filming a workout, then we’re really excited about just helping people correct their form, notice their progress and celebrate those small victories.”