21 01, 2013

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 21): Choiceshirts: Individual Upper Bodies

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:35+00:00 Januar 21st, 2013|Clothing, MC500, Personalization, T-Shirts|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!


Today: Known concept, nice execution

Customized T-Shirts are nothing new to the mass customization enthusiast, indeed, there are more than 100 online vendors in this category. But at the same time, tshirst are one of the most well-known individualized products and certainly one of those that will always have their fans and buyers. Customized shirts are usually affordable and useful in a variety of situations.

One competitior on this crowded market is Choice Shirts. Their slogan "wear what you think" is pretty much program for them as they give you the tools to create a shirt with more or less any motive you could want to wear.

A simple yet solid configurator lets you chose from either a large variety of cliparts, a custom text or your own uploaded image – or a combination thereof. Whatever print you choose will be applied on the shirt you selct from different models of shirts and shipped to your doorstep. Alternatively, if your creativity does not serve you just today, the company also has a huge variety of pre-configured shirts for many different themes.

Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.

12 12, 2012

Interview with German handbag customizer Project OONA

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:17+00:00 Dezember 12th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Customization Trends, Interview|

Oona_logo+claim_300dpiNot long ago we reported about OpenRunway, a mass customization venture enabling customers to personalize women's shoes and handbags.

For those (female) readers who can not get enough of customized bags, here is another very neat company from Germany: Project OONA

Project OONA features a nicely done configurator which lets you customize most aspects of your bag, after selecting one from a number of base models. 

Oona_screenshot Kopie


Maru-winnackerMaru Winnacker
, CEO of Project OONA, kindly agreed to give us some insight into the venture, what makes it different and how she sees the future of mass customization. 

FTP: Maru, can you tell a bit more about Project OONA? What exactly are you offering?

MW: Project OONA is a brand development company offering customization of handbags online. On our website customers will be able to customize their handbag. They start out with a design from our collection and then choose from different types of colors, linings, materials, etc. 

FTP: Personalized (Hand-)Bags are not exactly a new idea. What sets your company apart from the competition in this field?

MW: I agree that "personalization", i.e. the imprint of names or signatures, of fashion items has been around for quite some time. However, offers are rare, seldom integrated and mostly provided by high margin luxury brands. One prominent example is "Mon Monogram" by Louis Vuitton. 

However, "customization" as a means of giving customers full access to the production decision is a new phenomenon. The production and distribution processes involved are quite complex and we are experiencing a steep learning curve. There is only a small group of competitors online, all of which for less than 24 months and non supported by a global player. 

We researched all available offers online. However, these websites target either a very young audience or the mass market. We strongly believe that consumers deserve a recognizable brand to engage with: A logo, a specific style, excellent materials and perfect quality. That's how we try to distinguish ourselves. We are also targeting a premium customer segment focusing on internationally traveled business women who have an elaborate sense of value.

FTP: So far you are offering bags of different kinds (including iPad cases) from fine leather. Are there any plans to expand your business in the foreseeable future? Do you plan on diversifying your portfolio?

MW: Yes, of course! We started with handbags and fine leather accessories. We will quickly introduce additional handbag styles and materials. In the medium term new business segments (e.g. travel bags) will be added. In the long run, you will certainly see us experimenting with other customizable fashion categories.

FTP: What are your current markets? Do you offer exclusively for German customers or is Project OONA a world wide venture?

MW: As mentioned, Project OONA has an international claim. We started our service in Austria and Germany due to our local home field advantage. We will soon launch our English website and start shipping within Europe.

FTP: Where do you see your venture five years from now?

MW: Five years from now is a long time. I hope to be selling worldwide by then, with 2 – 3 more fashion product categories.

FTP: Do you think that mass customization in general is a long-lasting new paradigm that will change the face of retail significantly? Or is it just another trend?

MW: If there has been a paradigm shift towards mass customization it has happened years ago! The automotive industry has been adapting to this for years. The fashion industry will need to adapt quickly due to increasing customer demands as well as complete product and product value transparency. There are a myriad of innovative experiments currently online (e.g. virtual reality measuring, affiliate marketing etc.) that should leave not customer demand unfulfilled. Why should a customer shop around when she can design her fashion item herself? It is easy to get hooked to this kind of luxury!

So yes! I strongly believe that mass customization in the fashion industry is here to stay. It offers huge potential both online and offline. It brings customers and retail closer together. And I also believe that the current divided on- and offline retail chains will merge into one channel soon. Customers should be able to choose online and pick up offline and vice versa. 

FTP: Are you currently recruiting or looking for partners? Who would you want to work with if given the choice?

MW: Currently we are looking for more software engineers. Anyone interested?

 FTP: Thank you very much for this interesting interview! Im looking forward to see your venture grow and become an established brand on its market.

12 11, 2012

[Market Watch] Open Runway: A Women’s Customization Paradise

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:40+00:00 November 12th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Design, Footwear, Personalization|

Open Runway #logoCertainly, vendors offering individualized shoes and handbags are not a truly new concept. But some do it better than others, at the very least in terms of configurator-usability.

One such example is Open Runway, a company founded by Monika Desai, one of the strong members of the Boston mass customization community.  Open Runway lets you crate individual shoes (soon) and handbags (now) and have them manufactured from scratch.

The web-interface is, as said, really convinient to use. You pick one of several base models, represented as silhouettes, decide which material and color individual parts such as heels, trims, straps etc should be in and see the results of your decisions in realtime on your screen.

As you can tell from the two images below, the process of designing is fairly simple even for men. Manufacturing time is announced to be 8 weeks, but if you have the chance to get the shoe or handbag, you have always wanted, what is two more months? (even if we know from our research that a delivery time of two weeks really improves the turnover rate .. so here is room for improvement for Monika).

Open Runway Shoe
Open Runway Bag

More about Open Runway on their website. I am curious to see how this develops and fits into teh recent trend of strong investments into custom fashion sites.

4 11, 2012

The MC Graveyard: Ideas that did not make it: Kidlandia strikes colors

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:56+00:00 November 4th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Failures and Flaws, MC Graveyard, MC500|

Graveyard_by_flicr_CC_open_LicenseLast week we gave a short insight into the work of personalized kid`s goods producer Kidlandia.

Unfortunately, it has just been announced on their website that October 22nd, 2012, has been the last day to order any of their products.

truth appears to be that Kidlandia – like about 20% of startup companies
that we analyzed as part of our MC500 study –
could not establish itself well
enough on the market to become a long-term success story.

is perfect prove that a well-built configurator and a nice business idea
alone are no guarantee for a successful mass customization venture.
More factors play into it and, as we detailed in the MC500 study,
solid knowledge about both these factors and their proper combination
is key to make the difference between a good idea and a good business.

21 08, 2012

Update: YOUTAILOR Finds New Investment, Withdraws Insolvency Application

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:21+00:00 August 21st, 2012|Clothing, Failures and Flaws, General, MC Graveyard|

Copyright YOUTAILOR, www.youtailor.de, all rights reserved!Just a few days ago, we reported about two mass customization companies that did not make it on their market for custom shirts. Amongst them was German start-up YOUTAILOR, one of the leading entrepreneurs in the field of online custom tailors.

Just moments ago we received news from YOUTAILOR's public relations department, informing us that the company has managed to find a new investor to support its future operations. From what we have learned, Christian Heitmeyer of Pearl Bay Beteiligungs GmbH, a German investment company already involved with ventures such as brands4friends and Allyouneed.com, has decided to commit to YOUTAILOR and help the company to stay in business.

As a result, YOUTAILOR has withdrawn their insolvency application which they had filed in July of this year.

It is great to see that an uprising German start-up gets another chance to develop and (re-)establish itself in the market of mass customized clothing. We will watch their further work and report back on their future successes – or lack thereof.

The full press release (in German language) by YOUTAILOR as sent to us today, August 20th, 2012, can be downloaded here.

16 08, 2012

The MC Graveyard: Ideas that did not make it: YouTailor & Shirts Onthefly

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:26+00:00 August 16th, 2012|Clothing, Customization Trends, Failures and Flaws, General, MC Graveyard, MC/OI on the Web|

Graveyard_by_flicr_CC_open_LicenseAlthough mass customization has proved to offer great opportunities to companies of all sizes, there also have been quite some failures. We will try to look into some of the companies that did not make it in a new series of posts.

And there are many of these failures! When conducting the research for the MC500 study, we learned that over the period of just one year, 17% of our original sample population went out of business. Analyzing the failure reasons showed that these startups on the one hand face "common" challenges of startups like not progressing out of the bootstrapping phase into a scalable business due to undercapitalization, wrong investment policy, overconfidence, and an insufficient business model as well as problems within the team, such as the loss of key employees.

But on the other, there are two more specific reasons for failures of MC companies, according to our research:

First, difficulties encountered by the studied MC companies may be ascertained to possible inadequacies of their toolkits. Many of the toolkits that we studied do not follow the design principles suggested as success factors by previous research: Only 55% instantly visualize consumer input, less than 20% of vendors make use of peer input in the design process, 61% do not provide information on progress of purchasing process. Only 22% allow customers to share their creations with others, just to mention a few shortcomings. The reality of toolkits clearly falls behind the academic research on design parameters of successful toolkits, suggesting a large shortcoming in transferring research into practice.
Secondly, problems in making mass customization work may also lay elsewhere. In an exploratory survey of 68 entrepreneurs and consultants active in the MC business (conducted in Oct. 2009), for instance, we discovered that detecting customer idiosyncratic needs and creating flexible fulfillment processes are considered as more serious concerns (average score=4.0/5 and 3.9/5) than creating toolkits that support the sales process (average score=3.5/5). This  research, the preliminary results of the Customization500 study, and many interactions with managers during case-study based research show that profiting from mass customization is not an easy task!

Two current examples have been the market for custom tailored men's shirts. The German MC blog egoo.de recently reported on two consecutive insolvencies of companies believed to be promising ventures.

First company to be hit by bankruptcy was German start-up YouTailor, one of the leading entrepreneurs in the field of online custom tailors. Despite a number of potent backers like Holtzbrinck Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures and myphotobook, YouTailor CEO Michael Urban had to file insolvency mid-June caused by financial irregularities, as eggo.de reports.

Just two weeks later, another mass-custom shirt company, SHIRTS ONTHEFLY, had to strike colors or, as egoo.de quotes the company's announcement, to declare "the mission to make high-quality bespoke shirts available for everybody" a failure. Very sad indeed, seeing how they had announced to team up with Berlin-based venture Upcload, enabling customers to measure themselves via webcam capture technology.

May there be a trend indicating that custom tailored shirts are not very high in demand? Or may it be more likely that these two did not do one of the most important things when establishing a new MC company: Seek qualified expert advise and connect with other founders and MC entrepreneurs to share experiences.

Egooo.de is speculating that the heavy use of Groupon may have facilitated the bankruptcy of YouTailor. No other company in the mass customization domain has used Groupon so often, sometimes with discounts of 50% (which makes no sense at all for me if I consider the economics of mass customization manufacturing — there you wanted stable sales, no sudden peaks!)

For the full stories about YouTailor and SHIRTS ONTHEFLY, head over to egoo.com by blogging colleague Heiko Vogelgesang!

26 07, 2012

Interview: Andreas Krönke of Stickvogel: A Promissing B2B Approach to Service Customization

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:47+00:00 Juli 26th, 2012|Cases-Industrial, Clothing, Interview, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers|

Copyright Stickvogel, www.stickvogel.de, all rights reserved!Most mass customization happens in the world of B2C, where a business sells its products to consumers which they have individualized to tehir needs. However, there are a number of B2B approaches as well, MC-companies offering customized services to other companies. I have called these business models "MC platforms", and they are one of the strongest developments in the field.

One of these MC platform is Stickvogel. The venture from Berlin, Germany, has been in the market of embroidery for almost 10 years now and has recently signed a deal with Butlers, a leading German "stuff" retailer (think of IKEA without the furniture, and located on high street). Certainly is a big success for a small MC company! Like with Butlers, Stickvogel enables vendors of embroidable goods to offer their consumers individualized products.

Copyright Stickvogel, www.stickvogel.de, all rights reserved!Core piece of their portfolio is a specialized configurator which can be integrated into the vendor's own web presence. Furthermore, Stickvogel takes the burden of production, logistics and backoffice services off their partner's shoulders, significantly lowering the barrier for companies to enter the market of mass customized products. 

Motivated by the great successes of the past years, the team around CEO Philip Siefer has expanded their offerings to engraving and canvas printing and are planning to broaden their portfolio further. 

All rights reserved!At the MC2012 in June we had the chance to talk to Andreas Krönke, head of public relations at Stickvogel, who kindly granted us a lot of insight into their business experiences, plans for the future, and views on mass customization in general

FTP: Andreas, Stickvogel is going to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. Can you tell a bit about the evolution of your business?

AK: Philip, our CEO, had the Stickvogel idea in 2003. Later Stephan joined Philip and they both started the whole business in Ilmenau, where they were studying media technology at the Ilmenau University of Technology. In the first years Stickvogel was a manufacturer of personalized textiles. The focus of the company was B2C.  Then, we got IKEA as our customer. In 2006 we started with embroidering in-store in more and more IKEA stores, primarily during the time before christmas.

Last year, our cooperation with the German retailer Butlers began and we turned more into a software startup. We developed a configurator which easily enables the user to personalize a broad range of products in a very qualitative way. At the moment we offer, of course, embroidery, but also engraving and canvas print.

FTP: Your approach is (now) one of a B2B service provider. Can you outline what exactly you offer to companies?

AK: Our most important product has become our configurator. We offer the whole software package to companies which then use it in the B2C market. But not only we offer the software with back-office. Also we produce all personalized products with our very own machinery. However, it's also possible for our partners to produce products with their own machines. You see, our processes are very flexible. Finally we can overtake the complete logistics and cover the whole service like storage, customization and shipping.

FTP: You offer full service, and deal with big players. But your team seems not to be very large. How do you handle both the workload and the risk of peaks during which your capacities might not suffice to deal with all the orders? And how scalable is the package you offer?

AK: Good question. What is very important for us, is automation. All processes have to be really optimized and we always try to make it even more easy for our team in the production. Everything should happen in the quickest way possible.

Our package is very scalable and flexible. We can satisfy big customers as well as small ones like Sox & Boxers. They sell, as one could assume by the name, socks and boxer shorts. With our service they're able to personalize their textiles. And we take care of everything: storage, embroidery, pick and pack, shipping.

FTP: Besides embroiding you do also offer printing and engraving. Did that open up new markets for you? Does it work with your existing infrastructure or are major changes needed to add these techniques to your product portfolio?

AK: Everything starts with a challenge. It's always exciting to add a new product to our portfolio. But our system is so adoptable that it was no problem to integrate these new techniques. In the future we can fulfill even more wishes of our customers and, like that, explore new markets.

FTP: With Butlers you have a rather large vendor as a business partner. Can you tell about how cooperating between a company your size and their size works out in every day business?

AK: Butlers is an exceptional company with a flat hierarchy. Furthermore they are really open minded. That makes it really easy and pleasant to work with them quite close.

FTP: Many smaller MC businesses will be eager to ask one question: How did you manage to establish contact and get into a cooperation with such a large partner?

AK: Actually we were quite lucky. We had a sales promotion at IKEA, where people could experience embroidery live. There we also attracted the attention of Wilhelm Josten, the CEO of Butlers, actually more the one of his wife. By chance Philip himself was there at this very day and so the contact was set up. Philip and Wilhelm Josten kept on talking over many weeks. Don't think that pitching only lasts ten minutes. Adjustments to fit into their value creation chain were not necessary, though. By the way, the same thing happened with IKEA, they saw us during a sales promotion at Breuninger Erfurt.

FTP: Can you talk about some of your business figures and their development over time at all?

AK: We could double or triple our turnover almost every year. In 2011 it was by 300.000 Euros. But please don't tell anyone!

FTP: Which advise would you give someone starting their own MC business?

AK: At first, be passionated about what you do. If you don't love what you do, don't do it. Always stay focused and keep the overview. And don't spend to much money. Of course, we sometimes were in difficult situations, but they've never been an obstacle for us.

FTP: How important do you rate the use of social media not only to promote ones MC-company but also interact with consumers to better position oneselve in the market?

AK: Social media is definitely a key topic. Social media is MC in the internet. We're using many social media channels like of course Facebook and Twitter, where we post contributions about twice a week. But we want to increase our communication more and more, provided that our fans and followers like that. We also really like to get feedback or messages via Twitter and Facebook. But we do not only use these services. We also like YouTube to give people the possibility to peek behind the scences of Stickvogel. And we have a corporate blog that you can find on our website stickvogel.com. The use of social media is very naturally to us and it became completely common. We also use social media for internal communication. In one sentence: We love social media.

FTP: Are you considering to open up a B2C web-shop of your own, with a configurator like a "classical" MC company?

AK: Yes, we do! Keep your eyes open. Silberäffchen

[Silver Monkey] will go live soon. It is a web-shop specialized on engraving of silver products. [UPTADE: Silberäffchen has gone into beta and can be accessed via www.silberaeffchen.de]

FTP: Are there any other new products or projects in planning for you? What can we expect next?

AK: We will acquire lots of more customers in the next weeks and develop the next version of our configurator, an even better back-office and a magento plug-in. And we hope that we can offer more MC techniques. To not discriminate against other animals we want to launch an online shop for every animal. Silberäffchen is just the beginning. Besides we always have some fun projects. But those are mostly secret – for now.

FTP: Andreas, I hope your new projects will work out as well for you as your past ones and I am sure we will keep hearing about you.

All details about Stickvogel can be found on their company website, www.stickvogel.com! And to get a sneak peak of what their production looks like, here is a video for you!


18 06, 2012

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 7): Proper Cloth: Custom Dress Shirts the Easy (and Affordable) Way

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:01+00:00 Juni 18th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, MC/OI on the Web, MC500, Personalization|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!


Also, just in case you somehow missed it, the MC2012, largest MC/OI conference in German language, will be heading off soon (28th/29th of june). So if you are going to be in the area, understand German and want to meet some really interesting MC/OI enthusiasts, the conference website has all the information you need. Would be glad to see you there in person!

Today: Dress Yourself with the Latest Fashion, Decide What is "in Fashion" Yourself

As I said in my last MC500 Post about Mission Bicycle, summer – if that's what you want to call it – has finally arrived in Germany. While (unfortunately) this does not mean that work would magically finish itself, at least one gets a chance to spend the evening outdoors (sometimes), may it be sitting on the terrace of a nice restaurant or taking a walk in the park.

Whether it will be the office or the park for you, what always comes in handy is a well-tailored, perfectly fitting dress shirt. While each of you will have a different idea of what "perfectly fitting" means, one place might have you covered for all your individual shirt needs.

Proper Cloth, founded in Delaware in 2008, offers a pretty complete customization experience when it comes to dress shirts, a fashion article which, as many of you will agree, tends to just not fit perfectly at some point or another. Proper Cloth's promiss is exactly that, a perfectly fitting shirt, tailored to your needs, based on a really well-made configurator which even shines where others lack by offering assistance in finding out your individual measures in various ways. Oh and, if configurators should not be your thing (unlikely as that is, seeing how you are visiting this website), they offer a variety of preconfigured shirt as well.

So whether you need a new shirt to wear with your favorite suit or a stylish untucked one for leasure, a visit at propercloth.com might be worth it for you.


Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.

14 02, 2012

Getwear: New custom jeans website combines many „best practice“ elements of online co-design toolkits

By | 2018-06-14T07:14:03+00:00 Februar 14th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Co-Design Process, Technologies & Enablers|

Getwear toolkitCustom jeans have been one of the pioneering offering in mass customization, and I have reported about them several times. Indeed, it has been the Custom Jeans offering of Levi Strauss that got me interested in mass customization at the first place (Seeing it in 1994 in NYC), and so I was quite sad when Levi closed its MC business.

But the market seems to get more mature now, and while there already are quite some companies on the web, there always is room for someone new, especially if they get it better than the rest.

This seems to be the case with GETWEAR.com, a custom jeans site targeting the US market (but they ship to Europe and Asia, too). They just launched last week. While I still cannot judge the product quality, the website seems to be very carefully designed and somehow a "best of breed" of best practices for a good co-design toolkit. And their price point (starting at about $99) is truly MASS customization.

CEO of Getwear is Tatyana Kanzaveli, a well connected woman in the Silicon Valley, but the strategist and concept developer behind the site is Yaakov Karda, who came up with the idea after his studies in Fashion Management in Italy.

I asked him what how is Getwear different to the existing custom jeans companies out there.

YakovYaakov: The main difference is that other projects are (and, as far as I know) about "custom fit" and Getwear is about "custom design". Besides that, none of them is social. It was you (customer) and the company. Basically, it is an analogue of web based "atelier". There's not much fun in buying atelier made clothing for young people; the concept looks and sounds outdated.

Getwear is all about social commerce. From my point of view, mass customization has perfect potential if coupled with community but will not succeed on the large scale if it is not. All other "custom jeans" businesses mostly target people with special requirements (and though an established need for a custom product). It's a very limited market (and with harsh competition).

Unlike them, Getwear targets regular people and most of our clients never (probably) thought of having their jeans custom made. We aim to establish a brand that will compete not with other existing custom jeans projects, but with "big" denim brands such as Diesel, G-Star e.t.c.

Well, this is a bold statement, but there website really is state-of-the art (definitely a best practice candidate for our Customization500 list). The site is very well planned, and really combines many elements both with regard to co-design of an individual item and with regard to sharing and community features.

The co-design tool was developed in collaboration with Artem Gorbunov's Design Bureau, a highly regarded Moscow based studio that specializes in web & interface design. According to Yaakov, they already had two iterations but they are not yet done, so it's a work in progress.

Here are some elements that I liked especially from their site:

  • Great inspiration and catalog to give you orientation and ideas.
  • Senseful visualization balancing between usability and realistic views.
  • Different models and sizes already in the co-design toolkit, not just in the measurement part.
  • Great details. Look at the selection of buttons: Options are shown before selected color, nit just generically.
  • Lot's of social media connections right out of the configurator
  • Option to offer your design to others, earning a $10 bonus every time it is ordered. One of the few sites that put this kind of P2P interaction into practice .

But a great custom product is only as good as the firm's ability to turn the virtual design into a real product. So I asked Yaakov to share a bit more about their production system. Production is in India in a dedicated factory, rum by Nikhil Bafna, who was Yaakov's classmate in Italy and is the VP of Production. They promise delivery times of not more than two weeks (in the US) for a truly custom made jeans, which really sets a strong benchmark!

Yaakov: First of all, we employ unique parametric pattern making system that produces ready for cutting patterns in a matter of seconds. That saves a lot of time. Besides that we have a specially dedicated production unit that doesn't do any other work. Jeans are delivered with UPS and it only adds around 3 days for delivery (within these 14). 

We aim to further reduce delivery timing to one week (or less for basic items) in future. I believe that fast fulfillment is one of the key success factors for any mass customization business.

I totally agree on the last sentence. Looking forward to observe the future developments of this company!

5 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: Setting Up a Mass Customization System at #Skyou, #Bene AG and #Selve

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:32+00:00 November 5th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Clothing, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Design, Events, Footwear, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011 On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

This session will focus on the different business models that are behind the mass customization trend.

Brennan Mulligan, Founder & CEO, Skyou
What I Learned from Setting Up Five Successful MC Companies

MulliganWhile mass customization can be seen as an established business model we still see often little scale in its execution. At the same time, many new ventures and established businesses alike face the challenge to establish a supply chain fitted for mass customization – and everyone seems to go through the same learning cycle again. In his talk, Brennan Mulligan will propose a solution, reflecting on his experiences in leading many successful mass customization businesses since 1993.

Karl Berger, Vice President Engineering, Bene AG
Developing Solution Spaces for Mass Customization

BergerSolution Space Development is one of the core activities of a successful mass customizer, clearly defining what it is going to offer and what it is not. The presentation will explain how Bene, a leading European office furniture provider, has developed a special approach to understand and serve the idiosyncratic needs of its customers, to develop the solution space. Karl Berger will show how different constraints work with each other, and how a of organizational layers helps to execute different solution spaces in the organization.

Claudia Kisserling, CEO, Selve
Illissa Howard, Founder, Milk and Honey Shoes

Establishing a Mass Customization Factory in China

Kieserling_howardThis joint presentation is delivered by two experienced entrepreneurs in mass customization footwear, representing selve, the Germany-based category leader in the field, and Milk&Honey, a recent Hong Kong based startup. Claudia and Ilissa will first share insights into the market for customization in this field, discussing the Women’s fashion footwear market size and growth areas, global reach via online configurator, and the challenges and opportunities associated with that. Then, Claudia will share here experiences in setting up an own manufacturing plant in china, after seven years of manufacturing of high quality custom women's shoes in Italy. She will discuss the pros and cons, the do's and don'ts and her experiences of setting up and running a custom shoe factory in China.

Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

3 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: Building & Growing a Mass Customization Business at #Rickshaw Bagworks and #You Bar

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:36+00:00 November 3rd, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Clothing, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011 On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

In this panel, three experienced entrepreneurs in mass customization will share their best practices on what did work and what not.

Mark Dwight, Founder & CEO, Rickshaw Bagworks
Design for Mass Customization: Real World Approaches for Design and Manufacturing

DwightMass customization comes in many shapes and sizes. Mark Dwight employs mass customization techniques in his small messenger bag manufacturing company, Rickshaw Bagworks, based in San Francisco. Dwight founded Rickshaw specifically to pursue a strict build-to-order operational model, as opposed to the traditional build-to-stock practice common in the fashion industry. At Rickshaw, mass customization is the foundation of the product design and development process. All product platforms are based upon four key design principles: (1) Decouple function and fashion; (2) Isolate complex core functional elements in a common, mass-producible "chassis"; (3) Save product "personality" for the final assembly step; (4) Add optional functional upgrades and fashion elements from a collection of "bolt-on" accessories. Based upon this design methodology, Rickshaw produces a family of full-featured, customizable computer carrying briefcases and backpacks at very competitive prices in its San Francisco headquarters. The benefits of this strategy include: zero finished goods inventory, zero inventory risk, minimum SKU count, vastly reduced forecasting complexity, ability to outsource most of the labor intensive work while insourcing all of the customization, price/performance flexibility, and fast turnaround of highly custom orders.

Anthony Flynn, Founder & CEO, You Bar
You Bars: Profiting from the Mega-Trend of Food Customization

FlynnDetailing You Bar's journey from my mother's kitchen to an 8,200 square foot commercial warehouse, this presentation focuses on how the customer and company have become less polarized. Customization obliges the customer to become co-creator and innovator, necessitating a dialogue between customer and company which allows each to better satisfy the evolving needs of the other.

Speaker T.B.A., Please Check Conference Website for Details

Investing in the Customization Trend

Mass customization start-ups have become subject to some major interest of Venture Capital firms. In this presentation, a member of the VC communities share some insights on the market for mass customization from this perspective and why mass customization and co-creation are important drivers of successful future business models.

Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

29 10, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: The Tools for Open Innovation at #TechShop, #Idea Couture and #Ford

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:53+00:00 Oktober 29th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Clothing, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011
On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

Implementing open innovation is not always easy. This session will provide a focused few on approaches and tools to utilize the benefits of open innovation.

Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop
BOOM! An innovation Explosion: How to Change the World Through Open Access to the Tools of Invention 

HatchThe presentation will share how TechShop changed the world through open access to the tools of invention… and provide a guide on practical ways to leverage this platform for your organization. Open source, the cloud, ubiquitous connectivity, search and find efficiencies, and powerful cheap processing have been driving the rapid acceleration of innovation in any field touched by computers and communication media. Now, with the advance of inexpensive access to extremely cheap, powerful and easy to use tools, the invention of physical products has never been easier, cheaper, or speedier… particularly if you have a $100 a month membership to TechShop. Mark presents five technologies prototyped and built at TechShop that have already started to change our world. He reviews the drivers of this new capability and then explores how you can leverage this new service.

Leah Hunter, Global Head of Insights and Innovation, Idea Couture
Making Co-Creation Strategic

HunterThe concepts of open innovation, mass customization and co-creation are often used interchangeably and raise new questions and challenges that highlight the need to understand the variables in their design of mechanisms, business processes and the economic implications for organizations. Leah Hunter will introduce the consumer co-creation value chain, a model that is used to analyze and understand the mechanics of co-creation. She will further illustrate its value by sharing Idea Couture's experiences in designing co-creation strategies. What are the differences between crowd wisdom versus collective intelligence; crowdsourcing ecosystems and market co-creation; motivations and creative incentive design; task characteristics and task design? Leah's presentation will align the strategic intent of the business to a co-creation strategy.

TJ Giuli, Technical Expert Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company
Leveraging Open Innovation to Create a Customized Driving Experience

TJ_GuiliFord Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn,Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With
about 176,000 employees and about 80 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. Recently, Ford opens its research doors to external contributors, tapping into minds at universities and other organizations outside the automotive industry for the next best idea for, e.g., in-vehicle connectivity and infotronics. One of Dr. Giuli's latest open innovation projects is American Journey 2.0, which paired up Ford and University of Michigan students who were challenged to build a new class of social networking apps for the vehicle during a 12-week course. The winning app made its way into a Ford Fiesta for the ultimate test drive to California for the 2010 Maker Faire, the largest do-it-yourself event of its kind. In his presentaton, Dr. Giuli will share this and other experiences in open innovation at Ford.

Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

19 09, 2011

#MCPC2011 Program Highlights – Mass Customization and Open Innovation in the Fashion Industries

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:59+00:00 September 19th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Co-Design Process, Design, Events, Footwear, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies, Sneaker, T-Shirts, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011In a series of postings, we present some of the program highligths of the MCPC 2011 conference. The following is just one of more than 50 sessions we will host on Nov 16-19 in San Francisco, CA.

Since the beginning of the MCPC conference series, clothing and footwear products have been has discussed extensily during this event. Also, just by looking onto the numbers, these industries are leading the mass customization movement. At the same time, some of the early pioneers in Crowdsourcing, Threadless, also focused on this industry.

A dedicated track at the MCPC2011 will provide a closer look on this topic.

Sessions 5.2 and 6.2 (Nov 19): A Special Focus on the Fashion Industries

Why Customization of Footwear is Not Fit for Masses

Market facts prove that, despite a certain number of valorous entrepreneurs are there to exploit the advantages of the new business model, the benefits of personalization of products have not yet reached the shoe wearing masses. Sergio Dulio will present the example of a new Italian brand in the field of luxury bespoke men shoes and the presentation of its technical and market expansion plans, it will be discussed why customization and masses, at least in the field of footwear, don’t’ seem to go together as expected and a theory will be formulated to support the idea that, possibly, this is the right approach to a consumer centric shoe world.

Customization in Apparel Design

Advanced customization and 3D visualization are in the core of the latest planned solutions to enhance customer's shopping experience and brand loyalty, and with the help of advanced GPUs the industry is a step closer in creating a better, more precise design and shopping environment. Yoram Burg (Optitex) will present and discuss the latest projects his company is involved in that include deploying the 3D customized solutions in the worlds of movies, home sewing, apparel design, animation and art work, and give a preview on the next level of solutions currently in development by OptiTex.

ErtlRenz Sport Shoes World – Adapted to Improve the Customer's Performance

While many professional athletes are outfitted over long periods of time by their sponsoring sports brand through the same service people, the “normal” customer typically buys his standardized equipment by individual picks from different stores. Dirk Rutschmann (Corpus-e), Sven Renz and Wolfgang Richter (ErtlRenz) will report from the ErtlRenz Sport Shoes World and present how they embrace the customer over his personal sports career providing him individual sport shoes for maximum performance and comfort like a pro.

E-Co-Creation for Fashion

The Web 2.0 revolution is changing perceptions and influencing a younger generation, but can co-creation challenge traditional design methods for fashion and promote sustainability, and can designing together enable the democratization of fashion? Jen Ballie, Philip Delamore (London College of Fashion) will present a mapping of co-creation within a fashion context, using participatory practice methods. A series of case studies will be used to define co-creation communities, the role of the individual and the sustainable benefits of working together. The viewpoint of both the designer and consumer will be used to illustrate their role and relationship, and to define methods and toolkits for how they can work together.

CoReNET – Value Co-Creation of Small Series Customized Healthy, Fashionable Clothing, Footwear and Assessories

In this presentation, Dieter Stellmach (DITF Denkendorf) will give an insight into CoReNET – Customer-ORiented and Eco-friendly NETworks for healthy fashionable goods: A toolset and first practical experiences for value co-creation of small series customised healthy fashionable clothing, footwear and accessories.

The Fitting of Pants

When fitting pants, a garment can have the correct horizontal and vertical dimensions, but not fit properly. This is a particular problem at the crotch, where there is a saddle point on the abstracted 3D form of the body, where the front and back of the body are joined in the crotch area and one leg transitions through the crotch area to the other. Bonny Carmicino has determined that these fit problems are the result of patterns that do not properly fit the crotch curve and are not properly balanced and will present new methods of creating the proper crotch curve and balancing pants, both of which produce excellent results on subjects of all shapes (including “normal” and also atypically- and asymmetrically-shaped subjects).

Configurator for Apparel Manufactoring within the Mass Customization Program

Companies need to acquire and manage a knowledge base of consumers’ needs and preferences in order to meet, even surpass, customer's expectations. In the fashion & clothing industry, mass customization is not generally well understood or implemented due to difficulties related to measurements, pattern adaptation, and inflexible manufacturing processes. Jocelyn Bellemare (Université du Québec à Montréal), Serge Carrier and Pierre Baptiste (Montreal University) will present their identification of the fundamental variables and data necessary to produce custom-made clothing, the development of a configurator based on such data, and how to enable the efficient transmission of configurator generated information to computerized production systems.

— And these are just some of the talks on this industry!! check the full program for more!!

Listen to the full content of these talks at the MCPC 2011, Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco, Nov 16-19, 2011:

– Conference Website and Registration (reducted rates until Sept 30)

– All info here in one compact MCPC flyer

Conference hotel and travel (rooms fill quickly, book now!)

– All posts about the conference in my blog

31 07, 2011

New German Fashion Customization Site is Online: Limberry offers custom design for women’s clothing

By | 2018-06-14T09:43:54+00:00 Juli 31st, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Deutsch (in German)|

Limberry I have to admit that I first have been skeptical: A young entrepreneur, with a passion for fashion but no design background, trying to enter the challenging market of made-to-measure apparel that both fits and is fashionable.

I first met Sibilla Kawala on the CYP2011 event in Berlin, where she presented us her idea of limberry.de. Now, a few months later, her business is up and running.

The site limberry.de is online, and you can order custom-made blazers, skirts, dresses, and dirndls.

I got a personal tour of the site today, and I have to say I am impressed: Good configurator, nice visualization, very professional pictures, clean design. The measurement process could need some improvement, but it is functional and should work (at least for the target group of fashion savfy women).

Also the promised performance is very competitive:

  • All products are "Made in Germany" – so local production, local jobs, and good quality!
  • Delivery time of 2 weeks.
  • No shipping cost.
  • Frugal innovation, all self-financed and put together with a great dedicated team.

I wish Sibilla all the best for her new company. I am sure that we still will hear a lot from her in the MC community!

16 03, 2011

CYO 2011: European Networking Event on Mass Customisation and the Creative Consumer, Berlin, May 30-31

By | 2018-06-14T09:44:35+00:00 März 16th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Co-creation, Customization Trends, Events|

This year will become the year of mass customization. First, the MCPC 2011 conference promises to become the biggest networking and knoweldge event ever. But it will be only at the end of November 2011… But before, there is a great opportunity for everyone in Europe to meet and network:

CYO2011 Supported by the European Commission, a consortium of European companies and research organisations is hosting the Create Your Own 2011 (CYO 2011) event in Berlin, Germany, May 30 and 31st, 2011.

The term "create your own" denotes a growing trend of start-ups and corporate entrepreneurship in Europe to create offerings catering to the creative consumer and serving the personalisation movement.

Together with local post-industrial design collective Cookies And Code and RWTH Aachen, EU research projects OpenGarment and SERVIVE will bring the vibrant global conversation about the future of making and selling personalised goods and services to Berlin.

The group is presenting its first annual "Create Your Own" event on Monday May 30, 2011 at the IMA Design Village in Berlin (17-20 h).  The opening event will feature over fifty co-creation entrepreneurs, makers, researchers, technology experts, policy maker, and investors from around Europe. A press conference and special exhibition will present the makers and shapers of personalisation and customisation in Europe to a wider audience,

On the following day, May 31, a full day business seminar will provide a detailed look at innovative European start-ups that are quite literally giving the people what they want. At the seminar, plenary presentations and panels will look into the market for mass customisation, new business models connected with the trend, and the latest technologies that make it happen.

The event "Create Your Own 2011" is a unique opportunity to explore the reality and future behind individualisation, co-creation, and personalisation — mega trends that are shaping the European consumption landscape. 

The CYO event has three core objectives.

  1. Give participants a thorough overview of what is happening today, what can be learned from the past, and what future already is here from key thought leaders in the field.
  2. Help people in different fields of practice to explore how they can use mass customisation, co-creation and personalisation to get more out of what they do as a creative producer. This purpose will be served by a special workshop, the "MC incubator". 
  3. Showcase some of the best and most promising products and customization offerings to a general public.

As the event is supported by the European Commission, registration is Euro 200,- only if you register early.Visiting the CYO2011 exhibition is free and open to everyone.

All information and registration at http://www.cyo2011.com

SPECIAL OFFER: If your company is offering mass customization products or services, participate at the CYO 2011 exhibition. This will be a great opportunity to showcase your offerings to a wider public, the CYP 2011 participants, and a large group of invited journalists and multiplicators. Participation at the exhibition is only 250,- Euro (including the 200,- Euro participation fee at the business seminar), but place is limited. For any exhibition requests, just contact Evalotte Lindgens at lindgens@tim.rwth-aachen.de