The ChangeRing Compilation
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The ChangeRing Compilation

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Obamaphile by Samantha Fennell

The new must-have accessory for Fall isn’t necessarily the It bag of the season or the shoes you began coveting before they even made it into production. No, the accessory of the season is a key ring. Really. But not just any key ring: the ChangeRing. And like so many brands created by design duos (think Domenico and Stefano or Jack and Lazaro), the ChangeRing is the brainchild of just such a pair: former restaurateur Bryan Davis and former model AJ Bontempo. I met Bryan at a lunch at Pastis on Friday with my friend Cynthia and became enthralled with the project.

The ChangeRing is a wearable key ring that displays two delta signs (the mathematical symbol for change—get it?). The idea is that you show your support for the Obama campaign and the Senator’s message of change.

Think of the Yellow Livestrong bracelets, 70 million of which are in circulation.

But it doesn’t end there. You can’t just buy one—because it’s all about giving, too. For just 20 bucks you can buy one online at, and they will forward a second one to a friend or loved one. You can’t do that with a Downtown bag or a carry-all from the Hysteria Collection!

Part of the proceeds go to the Obama campaign (although ChangeRing is not officially sanctioned and is a for-profit operation). Another portion goes to one of many charities of the buyer’s choosing. And as if that weren’t enough, a slew of musical artists have gotten on board with the project as well, and they’ve created a compilation of songs about change, such as Bowie’s “Changes” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” performed by bands such as the Bowery Riots and Fishbone. Given that Bryan’s partners in his Miami restaurant venture were music insiders Lil’ Jon, Big Boi (of Outkast), Lil’ Wayne, and Chingy, this was a no-brainer.

And to round out the social-consciousness angle to perfection, the ChangeRing is made in America, creates job opportunities, is Green (from recycled steel to soy-ink-and-recycled-cardboard packaging), and if you lose your keys (and who of us hasn’t?), it’s got “Boomerang” technology—a retrieval system that uses text messaging to link lost keys with their owner, giving new meaning to the saying “what goes around, comes around.”

For more information on how you can get involved, go to - Elle Magazine Online

"Young entrepreneurs peddle politics-themed products to convention-goers"

By Malcom Glenn, Youth Vote '08 correspondent

DENVER--For those that frequent the downtown area of the Mile High City, hosting the Democratic National Convention has largely meant one thing: lots and lots of people.

Convention officials estimate that by the end of the day Thursday, more than 50,000 visitors will have come through downtown.

And for a few young entrepreneurs here, it means one more thing: lots of opportunities to earn some cash.

The streets of Denver are lined with many of the usual suspects out to make a buck, selling Barack Obama T-shirts, buttons and other hope and change-related paraphernalia.

They jockey for space among the pro-life protesters, Bush-bashing grannies and faux-psychics intent on taking advantage of tourists.

The lines they use to get customers are typical. One man, selling superhero-themed Obama shirts, yells, "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Obamaman!"

But a few products require a slightly more detailed sales pitch.
One of those is the Change Ring, something that "started with the simple idea that delta means change," said co-founder Bryan Davis, a Brown University graduate now based in New York who's at the DNC promoting his nearly six-month old product.

"We wanted to take an everyday article and create a fundraising vehicle for Barack Obama," Davis says.

Made of recycled stainless steel, the ring's packaging is comprised of soy ink, helping it fit in well with a Convention that the Democrats have billed as the greenest ever. Davis demonstrates how to use the Change Ring, clipping it to his jeans as he pitches the product to passers-by. Or, he says, you can attach your keys to it, or even attach it to your ears. But when asked how much one costs, he looks confused.

"You can't buy just one," he says. Each purchased ring comes with a second ring for free, meaning that two rings cost $10 and you can get four for $15.

He finds little competition, but a man of a similar mindset, in Sean O'Keefe. Currently a student at the University of Chicago, O'Keefe sells magnets--yes, magnets--with his mother on the city's famed 16th Street Mall, intriguing some pedestrians and confusing others with his unique merchandise.

O'Keefe's magnets aren't your typical refrigerator fare. They're malleable and intended for cars, serving a similar purpose as bumper stickers but without the permanence.

"My mom wanted to do this for a long time," O'Keefe says as he continues to show the magnets to an interested local. "She got a certificate in non-profit management, and we had our first print-run this summer."

The magnets' test run came at a political convention in the state of Washington, where business was slow at first.

Sales haven't been great this time out, either, but with only one more day of the DNC to go in Denver, O'Keefe is still optimistic.

"Most sales didn't pick up until the last day in Washington," he says.

Though only Obama-themed magnets sit on the top of the piles, O'Keefe says they feature artwork from both parties and a number of candidates running for other offices.

By contrast, a portion of the Change Ring proceeds are donated directly to Obama's campaign, while some of the money is divvyed up among different charities. Because the Change Ring project, which files taxes as a non-profit organization, is in open support of the Obama campaign, it cannot disclose the charities that it supports. But Davis can string off a long list of some of his most well-known customers.

"We've had Cuba Gooding, Jr., Halle Berry, Sam Madison of the New York Giants, and a number of Olympians buy Change Rings," he says.

It's clear that the magnets are a way to decorate cars and other metal objects, but it's less clear exactly what the Change Ring does.

Davis says that for one, it gives work to disabled citizens, who create the packaging for the ring that is intended to be returned to the organization once the ring is received.

As for a use for the product itself, Davis looks coy.

"The Change Ring is about giving," he says with a smile.

Back on 16th, O'Keefe runs through the various magnet sizes and prices. They range from pocket-sized and less than $10 to relatively large and almost $30. There are a few without politicians on them, but when asked how much he charges for the fish magnets, he laughs.

"We give these away to little kids," he says. "We negotiate, too. We don't want anyone to leave empty-handed." -

"Vanasco: A ChangeRing will do you good"

My favorite vendor at the Democratic National Convention so far is The ChangeRing. Note the cutie above. But they’re more than cute. They’re innovative. They’re selling a keychain (see photo below) that is all about change. When you hook it to your pocket, it looks like a triangle - the physics symbol for change (or for gay people. And hmmm, the company is based in Chelsea…).

Why are they selling it at the DNC? You know, Obama, change…..

The men I saw wearing it around Denver tend to have it hooked on their pockets - the women wear it like a necklace, below. I myself think it may also make a dandy bottle opener - which I may use to open a Colorado-based Coors, now that the company is courting gay and lesbian customers.

The greatest thing about it, though, is that it has a key locator - you register it, and if someone finds your keys, they call a number on an accompanying tag, and the company’s servers route the call directly (and anonymously) to your cell phone, so that you and the guy who found your keys can connect. And maybe it will be like a movie, and you’ll fall in love, and get married…. -

"Product marketing joins politics at Democratic convention"

DENVER--Political conventions nowadays are as much about capitalism as they are about politics.

AT&T vendors here pass out Chapstick and cup cozies with the company's logo. Delegates wander around in CNN caps. Lanyards for official credentials sport a Qwest logo. Coca Cola tote bags are carried into the Pepsi Center, while entrepreneurs hand out free samples (or sometimes try to sell them).

The Big Tent, where bloggers are spending most of their time, has become a veritable trade show of tech-oriented products and businesses.

Kary and Gerhard Rivera are Denver locals--they're both spouses and business partners--who are taking advantage of the convention events to promote their site Fling It Girl, which launched last month. Kary describes the site as a kind of "Digg for women." Formatted like Digg, the site lets users submit, vote for, and bury items items from the Web. Most "flung" items are female-oriented, including fashion and home decor, though the site does have a "guy stuff" section.

"It's exciting to have the convention here in Denver," Kary Rivera said. "It's a right-place, right-time sort of thing, so we wanted to take advantage of it the best we can."

The Riveras were asked to volunteer at the Electric Vehicle Rolling Showcase but ended up at the Big Tent on Tuesday. Along with meeting the founders of Daily Kos and Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, the couple ran into actress Daryl Hannah for a second time this week and gave the celebrity a Fling It Girl tank top.

"Fling it Girl is not a political site at all, so we looked at this as more of an opportunity for us to shake hands and see faces," Kary Rivera said.

Andrew Hunter was at the Big Tent on Tuesday to promote the the Change Ring, a product capitalizing on Barack Obama's popularity and his theme of "change." The Change Ring is a key ring or pendant modeled after Delta, the mathematical symbol for change.

The Change Ring is a key ring inspired by Barack Obama's campaign. Naturally, its creators are pitching the product at the Democratic convention.
(Credit: The Change Ring)

The key ring comes with key retrieval system called Boomering SMS. A dog tag with a serial number is attached to each ring, and the owner of ring is supposed to enter the serial number, along with their cell phone number and e-mail address, onto the company Web site. The dog tag has instructions for anyone who finds a lost Change Ring to text the Boomering SMS code to the company's short-code. Change Ring then bridges communication between the owner and the finder of the key ring.

Two Change Rings can be purchased for $19.99, and a portion of the cost goes to Obama's campaign, and a portion goes to American charities.

While start-ups were on display in the Big Tent, the delegates are benefiting from the eagerness of corporate America to participate in the political process.

Florida delegate Amy Mercado on Wednesday carried around an Oracle tote bag. The Silicon Valley company, along with Florida Power and Light and Disney, is sponsoring Florida's efforts to send a "green delegation" to Denver.

The delegates from Washington state were treated to a reception hosted by Microsoft.

"There's lots of companies here pitching themselves and their businesses to their state delegations," said Washington delegate Patrick Gunning. "Most of (the delegates) are pretty influential in their home states."

His fellow Washington delegate, Caitlin Ormsby, said she didn't mind the corporate presence, "as long as they're on board with Democratic policies."

Gunning said it was important for the Democratic party to have a strong relationship with large employers like Microsoft, but added, "It's definitely a big party for corporate America here, and I'm not entirely sure what to think of it." - CNET

"What is the ChangeRing you ask?"

Funny story, while sitting in the dead of traffic in Denver- we hear some screaming and then notice a man come running towards our car. He tells us he has seen our video and wants us to have a “ChangeRing” were like, okay cool, a ChangeRing. Then we met later more officially, like not in the middle of a four lane freeway...and he gave us the whole scoop on what the ChangeRing is and what it symbolizes. We thought it was too cool- so now we want to share with YOU!!! -


This is the ChangeRing's first compilation release. Please go to our website to hear the complete compilation.



In support of Barack Obama and his message, we have collaborated with the popular artits on this page to produce new interpretations of classic "Change" songs.

From Dylan to Tupac, to Jim Morrison (the poets of our time), from Sam Cooke and John Mayer to Aretha Franklin and David Bowie, The ChangeRing Compilation spans a wide assortment of musical eras and genres, uniting them under one cause: to bring about Change in our country and the world.

The response to the project has been overwhelming and the compilation continues to grow as more artits submit their songs to be added.