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Mass Customization Monday #19

We’ve once again dug and sorted our way through online news, papers and publications to find you the most relevant mass customization news.

Nike to cut 2% of workforce, launch Consumer Direct Offense

Nike has announced that it will cut 2% of its global workforce and focus on what it is calling its Consumer Direct Offense. This Consumer Direct Offense is to be the major source of growth for the company and will have it sell more directly to end customers and focus more on mass customization.

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In addition to shoes Nike lets you customize duffel bags, what other gear will follow?

Nike will also launch Express Lane in China. Express Lane is an initiative by Nike to significantly reduce the time to market for its products. This lets the company be much more responsive to trends and demand.

Nike seems to be making a significant bet on customization and directly selling to consumers. If the company can get customization right then it could offer higher margins to shareholders and more unique products to consumers. Mass customization has been tried by nearly all the major shoe brands at the moment. Nike is now telling the world that mass customization is not some fun thing to do but will play a major role in the company’s future. We believe that mass customization will become a significant battleground in the shoe industry and determine the future of that business  

Marie Daage & Laboratorio Paravicini handpainted custom porcelain

Marie Daage and Laboratorio Paravincini are two workshops specializing in hand painted porcelain. Architectural Digest tells us how these two traditional craft companies are selling custom $280 hand painted plates.Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 4.12.41 PM

A Marie Daage hand painted Limoges porcelain plate.

Mass customization is relatively new but artisans have been creating customized goods for millennia. With mass customization the uniqueness of the design is made affordable, usually through technology. What if more companies focused on directly connecting wealthy consumers with artisans in developing countries however? With the disparity in labor rates unique hand painted designs could be made on all manner of items. In such a way the artisan could directly sell their services to wealthier consumers and those consumers could get unique hand crafted items made for them. Etsy and other online platforms in part offer such a capability. There are however no popular platforms that specifically are trying to connect artists and artisans in developing nations with consumers elsewhere. In China Dafen Village is an example of the impact that something like that could have. In the 90’s 20 artists set up there to hand paint replicas of famous paintings. Now thousands of artists make their living in the village painting replicas. Surely online platforms could connect consumers to affordable customized creations by artists working overseas?


The Cultivist, a small community offering unique art tours

The Cultivist is a start up offering unique VIP art tours and art experiences. A curator can guide you around an art museum or you could get a personalized tour of an art event by an artist. The company only wishes to attract a 1000 members initially for an annual membership of $2500. By focusing on a very small number of art aficionados the Cultivist could become an exclusive community for art lovers. The company will also offer customized art tours created according to member’s individual wishes.


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Marlies Verhoeven and Daisy Peet, co-founders of the Cultivist


A lot of companies produce goods and services but many people wish most of all to have experiences. Millennials and the wealthy are just two promising groups that are passionate about experiences. Creating unique tailor made experiences is something that would be of interest to many people worldwide. Foodies, fashion lovers, music fans, designers and people passionate about urban culture could all benefit from similar start ups exclusively serving their needs. Custom experiences tailor made for you would add real value to people’s lives. A run of the mill vacation or weekend trip could become magical if a person created a tour just based on your own interests. We see a growth in companies offering and creating experiences and believe that there are very many pockets of lasting success that could be exploited through the creation of unique experiences for many people.


Embraer’s Hollywood Airship Private Jet

Some of the most customized craft in the world are private jets. Many of the interiors are completely unique, being crafted to the owner’s exact specifications. Embraer is a Brazilian aircraft company making general aviation jets and passenger aircraft. For the last few years it has released inspiring versions of its aircraft to trigger media attention.

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We think that this kind of marketing could be much more widely exploited by other manufacturers in many areas. A unique and exciting version of your product could easily be crafted for the sole purpose of garnering PR. In restaurants it is quite common to manufacture your own news, by for example coming up with “the World’s Most Expensive Hamburger” or cocktail. Other industries have not considered this at all. Would something like this work for your business?  

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Embraer’s new Hollywood Airship interior for the Embraer Lineage 1000E jet is completely golden age Hollywood inspired. Marble accents, custom glass work and custom leather mean that this particular jet version ads $30 million in cost to the $53 million aircraft. Does this seem like a steep price to pay for a marketing exercise? The great thing about making unique designs for marketing purposes is that you don’t actually have to make the product. You can also can just find some very good 3D modellers to make renderings of your Press Release Product.



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