Keep Calm and Fidget On: Anxious Energy Fuels Big Business Idea with Calm Strips

Sometimes the best ideas come as a result of creative problem solving. For Michael Malkin, he turned busy Apple Store shifts and an excess of restless energy into his business Calm Strips – and the rest is history. What may seem like a simple product proved to be a stand-out option for anyone looking for a discrete fidget tool. In this episode of Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories, the entrepreneur is joined by team member Luce Fuller as they share the story of how Calm Strips grew from an idea, to a product, to a growing business all in the span of just over a year. 

The Beginning of Calm Strips

In the beginning of 2020, Michael Malkin was working what he considered his “dream job” – an associate at the Apple Store and surrounded by customers and technology on the daily. While he loved what he did, Michael admits that busy weekend days brought crowds that triggered his anxiety. For Michael, the best way to deal with his restless energy was carrying a fidget tool – but he was left with a hard decision since most tools on the market were clumsy, inefficient, and not appropriate for public use. This simple need sparked an idea in Michael, and since he couldn’t find a solution that worked for him, he decided to make one himself.

Building the Brand

From packing orders on his couch, to growing his team to four, Michael saw growth quickly after his April 2020 launch. Together with his teammate (and our second Podcast guest) Luce, Michael began to realize two things: 

1. There was a silver lining to the pandemic: A growing need for products that help bring calm into customers’ lives.

2. His biggest markets aren’t individuals like Michael (adult retail workers), like he initially thought.

The Calm Strips team expanded their market to include educational institutions and foundations that assisted with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) – something that about 44% of people have a version of. By expanding their audience, they are able to reach even more people who benefit from their calming, grounding products. 

Today, the Calm Strip team is passionate about getting their products in the hands of people of all needs and backgrounds. 

What else can you expect in this episode?

  • How Luce got involved with Michael’s vision, and her role today. 
  • How Calm Strips works directly with BFRB Foundations and the impact it makes.
  • Why Calm Strips are superior to other fidget toys, especially for kids in a classroom.
  • Michael’s failed businesses that acted as stepping stones to creating Calm Strips. 
  • The story of their “packing party” held at Michael’s local dentist. 

Where to find Calm Strips: