Lever Gear’s Minimalist Wheels Keep Turning

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The ‘every-day carry’ manufacturer is launching a new product

By Neil Cotiaux

Lever Gear, the light-manufacturing transplant from Asheville, N.C., is celebrating its one-year anniversary in Greenville by launching a second easy-carry gadget.

Now being introduced as an online crowdfunding offer, Lever Gear’s CLiP System is designed as a way to keep track of personal possessions often left behind in today’s fast-paced world — pills and first-aid items, for instance — and can also store things like hex bits and convert into a small screwdriver.

Lever Gear’s CLiP System BitLight option incorporates a rechargeable LED flashlight alongside a miniature slide-out drawer for carrying personal must-haves, while BitVault trades illumination for additional storage space. Both options fit on a keychain but can also be tucked into a bag or pocket.

“We’re just beginning the manufacturing now,”said Mike Scully, Lever Gear’s founder and CEO, who holds engineering and industrial design degrees from North Carolina State University.

For Scully, introduction of the CLiP System represents the next logical step in Lever Gear’s product line.

Scully and his wife April started the company as a way to commercialize his first easy-carry concept, a miniature tool kit the size of a credit card that fits in a wallet. In 2017, the couple moved to Greenville and became part of Hampton Station’s entrepreneurial beehive.

Targeted to a mostly male audience ages 18 to 45 who Scully said are “particular about the gear they carry with them,” the 1-ounce Toolcard Pro (1.3-ounce with a detachable money clip) is made of stainless steel and features 40 tools such as large and small flathead screwdrivers, a bottle opener, cord cutter, box opener, wrenches, and hex bit holder. The Toolcard Pro retails from $29 to $42 based on choice of finish — silver, polish, or black — and money clip option and complies with TSA in-flight rules.

Offered on the company’s website and on Amazon and through initial crowdfunding, about 30,000 units of the tool card have been sold to customers on six continents from March 2016 to date.

Scully believes it will find a wider audience.

“We just finished the design of our retail packaging so now we’re ready to approach brick-and-mortar stores,” Scully said, adding that P squared, a boutique on East Stone Avenue in Greenville, has just picked up the item. The company’s products are also being displayed at trade shows.

While men are most likely to buy the tool card, women are buying the cards as gifts, Scully said. The device can also be customized with logos or messaging for affinity groups such as police, firefighters, or EMS crews as well as for corporate clients and employees.

With growing sales of the Toolcard Pro and this year’s launch of the CLiP System, Scully thinks the market for his brand of easy-carry, utilitarian products is sustainable because his core customer base is “intentional about the products they buy.”

“Part of our strategy is to really have some innovation in our products,” he said. “We want them to be unique and innovative.”

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