Harmonie's Look on Fashion

Archive for the ‘Business trend’ Category

One of the numerous brands I got to know at The Brandery is the French brand Faguo.

It is a brand of responsible sneaker shoes. Its concept is to plant a tree for each pair of shoes sold in order to offset the carbon footprint caused by the business of producing and transporting the shoes.

The company was created only two years ago by two French business graduates who met while studying abroad in China. Their passion for China and fashion encouraged them to create their brand. Faguo actually means France in Chinese.

The shoes are manufactured in China and one employee is there on a daily basis to check the quality of the products as well as the working conditions of the people producing the shoes.

Transportation from China to France is done by ship to reduce CO2 emissions and final transportation in France from the port to the warehouse is by boat too. Those concerns for the environment are symbolized by the coconut botton placed on the side of the shoes.

Warehousing, packing and shippind is outsourced to an association that focuses on profesional rehabilitation.

The brand is extremely sucessful and is already sold in France, Belgium, Japan, Denmark, Norway and Canada. Faguo is rapidly expanding its distribution network from the current 150 points of sale.

At the product level, Faguo is reinforcing its range with new references added each season.

For spring 2011, limited edition shoes were created through collaborations with four French bloggers as well as special edition made of Liberty of London fabrics (I am in love with those !!!) only to be sold in selected retail points.

A child line has been introduced lately as well. For fall, the brand will be offering some of its products in leather (black, brown and grey).

I love the vintage look and the stripped inside!

To me Faguo is a great alternative to sneakers’ giants like Converse. At least, when buying the shoes you know that you try to reduce the impact of the purchase. Of course, it is not as if the shoes were manufactured in your own country or using recycled materials but it’s still one step to respecting our environment.

I think that their product development is wise. Bloggers do have an increasing influence on product purchase for the general public and it is a good idea to have bloggers participate in the product development process to enhance creativity. The same concept was used about a year ago by André (a large French shoes manufacturer) with its collection “Quand les bloggeuses s’en mêlent” (When bloggers are a part of it) where 6 bloggers designed custom shoes for the brand based on their own aesthetic.

Internet and social medias prove once again to be fundamental when shaping your business.

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Crowdsourcing is a word used to define creative concepts and processes where people outside the company are in charge of the design of the products of a given company. The trend consulting company Nelly Rodi even mentioned Crowdsourcing as one of the main trend of 2010.

Let’s take the example of Threadless t-shirts, a company that use crowdsourcing to get designs to print on tee shirts but also totes, reusable water bottles and all kind of diverse products.

The concept of Threadless is to get designs from people everywhere in the world. Those designs are submitted to votes through their website and the best designs are printed on the company’s products.

http://www.threadless.com/submit

1: Design submission.

They manage to make it very easy to submit a design. A template is provided as well as clear explanations of expectations, printing techniques available and reasons for decline. There is an appealing range of techniques that can be included in the design: glow-in-the-dark ink, suede ink, metallic ink, embroidery…

This is definitely exciting for every designers to be! Even if you don’t feel like designing a print, you can submit a slogan/title that may inspire a design and from which you could be remunerated too.

2: Design score.

Designs are reviewed by the Threadless team and then submitted to score by the Threadless community during 7 days. Best designs can be scored by more than 800 people and designs with lower than 2.5 out of 5 are not likely to be printed. Scores and comments help the Threadless team to choose which designs to print.

3: The printed designers are remunerated:

The designers whose ideas are selected will receive $2000 in cash + $500 in gift certificate + $500 each time the design is reprinted.

http://www.threadless.com/product

http://www.threadless.com/product

http://www.threadless.com/product

http://www.threadless.com/product

This is more or less the concept of Threadless Tshirts.

Now let’s see this implications of crowdsourcing on a creative and business standpoints.

On a creative standpoint, crowdsourcing is a way to get a huge pool of designs from everywhere in the world. Design is no longer taken care of by a single design department. It is quite easy to get infinite aesthetic standpoints and revitalization is continuous. The bigger the community, the higher the chance to attract talented designers that would submit awesome designs. Design selection is not only done by one of the company’s department but also by people from the community (potential tee shirt buyers) who will score and comment the design.

On a business standpoint, crowdsourcing enables a company to be sure that its products will sell well and therefore limit risks. Indeed you let your customers decide which products they want to buy from you! It could also be easier to plan quantities based on feedback from people in the community. Customer loyalty is enhanced since customer themselves can take part in the design/scoring phase. Lastly, this methodology is a less expensive and much more variable way of getting designs than having a whole design department working together all year long. The advantages of free-lance without having to rely on only a couple of free-lance designers.

As a general rule, letting customer participates in the design of its products is becoming more and more popular with the example of crowdsourcing but also new levels of customization as for instance with the company Shoes of Prey where customers can personalize their shoes on many different aspects. Customer participation is definitely a trend for 2011.

I am curious to see if anyone of you knows other examples of crowdsourcing or some insights to share about customer participation. Please leave a comment!