Last week we made quite a splash writing about Winkers Jeans, the jeans that "wink" at you if you are walking behind someone's...behind...who is wearing them. The YouTube video demonstrating how the jeans "work" is now closing in on 650,000 hits.
The jeans cost as much as $579, but the website makes it seems like there's a long wait for delivery. So I wrote to the jeans' creator, William Jones, to ask him how business is going.
"We are looking for someone who is able to mass produce some of the designs," Jones wrote me from his home in Everett, Washington. "We prefer to have WINKERS made in the USA by a firm that is already established and would license our patents and trademarks and copyrights." The 73-year-old retiree says he's gotten a lot of interest from retailers wanting to distribute the jeans once they are manufactured.
But Winkers jeans almost didn't happen. Love was the key.
"Winkers was nearly abandoned because I could not find an interested company," Jones writes. "Then I met this woman, on the internet. We seemed to get along very well, so I went to see her. She lives in Peru."
Jones writes that his lady friend, Otila, is a grandmother and a school teacher in the town of Chilete. After meeting her, "I realized that if I took care of my part, I could have a very good relationship with her." I'm not sure what he meant by that, but no matter. They married in April. "On returning home," he says, "I knew that if were to live here (in the U.S.), that I would have to do something about my income. So I picked up WINKERS again."
With the help of his five adult daughters, Jones says he made some jeans and put the video on YouTube June 30th. Nothing happened. Then he says a patent attorney who helped him register his trademarks sent out a press release. "The press release went out on August 19, and in two days the number of (YouTube) hits were at a hundred thousand." Soon Jones was profiled in the local newspaper, where he revealed that he got the idea for the jeans a few years ago while walking behind an attractive woman "and couldn't help but notice her tush...It dawned on me: those are winking at me."
As for his new wife, "She is as excited about WINKERS as I am. Some of her family members have suggested designs." But not everything about their new-found notoriety has been pleasant. "Much to my surprise, there have been a few people who have contacted WINKERS and announced that they were going to steal my idea, sell them for a cheaper price," Jones says. "What is really astonishing about these people is their anger and foul language." (Serena?) "I don't get it! Maybe it is that they lack any creativity and are jealous."
Finally, I asked William Jones about the hefty price tag for the jeans. "At present, all WINKERS are custom made, which accounts for the price," he says. "But, then, all good art is expensive."
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