FIGJAM uses the customer development process to generate business models.
We are still working on testing our value propositions – I did think we’d be up to section 9 on our canvas by now but it all took longer than I expected!
So value propositions – that’s right – “How will we add value by fixing problems or meeting the needs of our customers?” For our business customers there are heaps of problems that we can help them with, like:
- Handling business-to-customer logistics,
- Listing products online with a complete back story and
- Connecting with customers
But like Steve Blank says in Building A Startup, solving a problem is good, but meeting a need is phenomenal!
What are our business customer’s needs? A key one that is emerging is that they need to “Sell In A Sustainable Way”. They need to survive in an ever changing and very competitive landscape that tends to favour big business with (often) unsustainable models.
What if we could meet their need to survive by offering an alternative to the supermarket paradigm? Now that is a value proposition we are spending a lot of time thinking about and the focus has been sustainability and how to help them achieve it.
What does sustainable mean? Local? Fair? We’re not sure how it will translate into our canvas yet but we do know it isn’t about dumbing down the options so that only the big businesses survive in the long run while the short run is littered with the wreckage of small businesses with great products and great ideas that didn’t survive because they couldn’t crack the supermarket “big-time”, or worse yet, when they do they find that it is not designed to meet their needs.
Angela L Finn (yes Meli’s sister Angie Finn) has been researching sustainability in fashion for 10 years and she feels strongly that design can contribute to building sustainable industries. Her research findings have inspired and formed our ideas with respect to sustainability in the organic marketplace. This also seems to fit neatly with our focus on design in our own project – we are using a customer driven approach largely influenced by Tim Brown’s ideas from Change by Design.
Sustainability and the Future of Retail
How sustainability is implemented in all markets is going to lead to changes. J Farrer and AL Finn had this vision for the future of Fashion retail n 2008:
“It is the future. There are two different kinds of fashion outlets. In Store A, the virtual store assistant welcomes you whilst a scanning beam updates your shape and size. “Co-creation and customisation this ﬂoor,” the voice chimes, “emotion and intelligent clothing ﬁrst ﬂoor, track-and-trace swap shop third ﬂoor, and artisanal collections penthouse.” Customers of Store A co-design clothing, innovate on style and expect eco-effectiveness. Sustainability, or ‘people, proﬁt, planet’, is the bedrock of a cradle-to-cradle fashion textiles system.
Store B has masses of colour and trendy merchandise, at the lowest possible prices, piled high. ‘How to do it’ fashion projections line the warehouse walls, and holograms march the catwalk. ‘Buy one get ﬁve free’ offers proliferate over in the natural ﬁbre fabrics section. Mobile phones text what to buy, what will suit and what size from an unknown supply chain. ‘Rent a look’ is popular.” (see full citation below).
How Can/Will Design Impact Organic Manufacturing?
The only thing we can be certain of is that there will be change. We are not hiding the fact that we plan to disrupt retail – our business model currently has a business-to-customer (B2C) distribution channel. We think the current retail model – where food needs a longer shelf life so it can be shipped all over the place – isn’t any more sustainable than it is for Fashion.
Want to Get Involved?
We are looking for suppliers and consumers in the Organic market to participate in our research. From a business perspective your involvement will give you valuable insights about the online market in general and also more specifically about your company. As a participant you will receive the results of any competitive analysis that we undertake on your business. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with us online or at meetups and ask questions in person.
Here’s how you can get involved:
Finn, Angela. Fashion Manufacturing in New Zealand: Can Design Contribute to a Sustainable Fashion Industry?: this Exegesis is Submitted to Auckland University of Technology for the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Art and Design, October 2008. Diss. Art and Design)–AUT University, 2008.See the full article here
Farrer, Joan, and Angela L. Finn. “A solution to fashion textile unsustainability.” PerAda Magazine: Towards Pervasive Adaption 6 (2008). See the full article here.