Annotated Styled for Storms
In 2005, David Kahng felt that the umbrella market wasn’t
getting the attention it deserved. So the Tufts engineering grad,
along with his business partner, Ben Tai, founded Davek out of his
New York City apartment with nothing but a round of financing from
friends and family. Today, the company’s eight-product line, which
includes the Alert, a sleek, sturdy, $135 contraption (shown here),
sells in 350 stores across the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, and
Europe, including Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Bergdorf Goodman.
Davek’s unconditional guarantee covers repairs and replacements
for life—or, as Kahng puts it, “one umbrella forever.” —JILL KRASN Y
No Loose Ends
made from a 210-
from Taiwan, is thinner
and more durable
than those on cheaper
umbrellas. A water-repellent coating allows
Daveks to dry with just
a few shakes.
The Weight of
Davek umbrellas are
hefty. That is intentional:
“When something’s made really well,” Kahng
says, “you can feel the
density of that piece.”
THE PROJECTED SIZE OF THE GLOBAL
UMBRELLA MARKET BY 2025 (ACCORDING TO RESEARCH NESTER)
PARTS ARE SOURCED
FROM 20 SUPPLIERS TO
CREATE A SINGLE DAVEK UMBRELLA.
A Delicate Balance
Instead of using just the
aluminum found in most
drugstore umbrellas, Davek
combines high-grade steel,
aluminum, fiberglass, and a
zinc alloy to balance rigidity
and flexibility. This allows
the umbrella to invert when
gusts hit and revert intact.
The Alert has a proximity beacon
embedded in the handle. The
umbrella sends a smartphone
notification if its owner sets it down
and moves more than 30 feet away.
Design by Failure
In 2005, Davek had a product run in which the rivets began to rust after six months.
The company had to pull all the stock
and replace the faulty parts. Now, Davek’s rivets are made from stainless steel,
which costs five times as much.
Only in New York
Prototyping is much easier in New York City’s storied
garment district; in one of those
mazelike wholesale emporiums, Kahng found the perfect little
fastener that lets users snap the
ultra-compact Traveler model onto a bag strap.