SOZY's Sophie, left, and Izzy at NSS
The youngest exhibitors at this week’s National Stationery Show (NSS) at New York’s Javits Center have to be 11-year-old identical twin sisters and Sophie and Izzy, whose shortened names together make SOZY—the name of their new company manufacturing their Annotator highlighter/pencil product.
The Los Angeles-based twins debuted their invention at the Emerging Designers section of the NSS exhibition hall, where they were busy looking for licensing, contests and giveaways, product collaborations and social media campaigns for the novel writing instruments, which are geared to kids their age.
“It’s a #2 pencil, liquid highlighter and extra-strong eraser in one!” says Izzy, distinguished by her gray “MERCI” longsleeve shirt, Sophie by her black “BONJOUR” model.
“The story is, I was annotating in class, writing notes and highlighting them with a highlighter,” Izzy continues. “I was going back-and-forth between the two instruments—the pencil and the highlighter—and it was really annoying. So I created a hack: I scotch-taped the highlighter and pencil together! Then my mom said, ‘This is silly! Let’s just buy [a highlighter/pencil] from Amazon,’ and it turned out it didn’t exist anywhere--only a pen with a highlighter.”
The problem, she explains, was that her school doesn’t allow students to use a pen.
“It’s because if you mess up, you can’t erase it,” she says, “especially in math!”
The SOZY Annotator, then, is available in two versions, both in packs of four.
“One pack is pastel-colored and is more calming,” says Sophie. “The other is more brightly-colored and is more energizing.”
Both four-packs are available at the SOZY website for $10 each. The product has also been picked up by dealers including Kitson, Uncommon Goods, The Graphite Store and Presence.
And while the twins are now 11, Izzy stresses that they were 10 when they created the SOZY Annotator.