Two years ago, Lincoln McCardle was a part-time Western student tired of freezing his fingers on cold winter days.
Now he’s the face behind Twittens — a perfectly cozy fit for social-media nuts and everyone else who is tired of fumbling for keys, change and smartphones in fat-fingered gloves.
“Honestly, all I wanted when this started was to change the song on my iPod without taking my glove off,” McCardle, 39, of London, said about the product’s humble roots.
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“I went from wanting a pair to emailing all these Canadian glove manufacturers with an idea.”
Twittens — which are being rolled out in stores nationwide this winter — are a take on the fingertip-less gloves that have been on the market for a while. Instead of having the ends cut off all 10 fingers, McCardle’s gloves have removable tips on the thumbs and index fingers only.
The idea was born partly out of vanity, McCardle said.
“I kept seeing all these girls walking (around the Western campus) with the other (fingerless) gloves, and I said to myself, ‘How would a 40-year-old man look in those?’ My idea had only the forefinger cut off at first. My brother-in-law, a BlackBerry junkie, suggested adding the hood to the thumb as well.”
One hood, two hoods, whatever. The idea caught on with glovemakers.
Within a month of floating the proposal to manufacturers in late 2009, McCardle had signed a production deal with Impacto, a Belleville, Ont., company that specializes in workplace-safety gear.
The first prototype of the gloves — sent to McCardle in June 2010 — looked more like something you might see at an industrial safety demonstration.
“They had these big long arms that went up to your elbows, and this heavy material,” McCardle said.
After a smart redesign, Twittens were officially born last November. With the timing a bit short for winter 2010, the gloves were available only to a limited market.
This year, the high-tech take on an old standard is on the racks in 200 stores nationwide. McCardle is working to launch the product in the United States where the name — Twittmitts — will be different.
Oddly enough, the trademark Twittens “was already taken,” he said.
And, perhaps the biggest endorsement, both of McCardle’s sons — aged seven and three — are big fans.
“They both have a pair, and my seven-year-old is pretty much convinced everybody’s dad does crazy things like this.”