Open Runway’s CEO Monika Desai was included in the August 2010 “list-round-up” in the Boston Globe, where Scott Kirsner created a list of interesting lists in August. Monika was mentioned in relation to being selected for the All Things Media bootcamp in New York, which was organized by Springboard Enterprises.
View the full “list round up” here.
The Small Business Center of Fox Business mentioned Open Runway in the article “Crowdsourcing: Learning from the Herd”. The article, written by Kathryn Tuggle, discusses the use of crowdsourcing in the creation of products and how companies can benefit from asking advice from their consumers.
Open Runway was mentioned in relation to e-commerce companies that utilize crowd sourcing. Our CEO Monika Desai was interviewed for the article, and she said, “We believe shoppers should have a voice in the design experience… Crowdsourcing on the whole is great way for companies to engage their shoppers and learn what their customers want. It’s a powerful thing to think that you could help co-create a brand, and that’s the world we live in today.”
Read the full article here.
On Friday, August 6, 24 companies banded together on Facebook to become one voice that yelled in unison “You Can Design Your Own!” The mass customization movement is making people rethink the way they purchase. Whether it’s designing your own engagement ring or designing your own hamburger (thanks Burger King). YOU have spoken and YOU want it YOUR way.
Carmen Magar founder of Chocri, a site that lets you design your own chocolate bars (yum!), organized the campaign. Open Runway was just one of 24 companies that purchased and ran a DYO themed Facebook ad for the campaign with the goal being to reach 8 million impressions and spread awareness of the Co-Creation and Design Your Own trend. The movement gained traction after various news outlets picked the story up.
The result was better than anyone could have imagined, in total the campaign generated over 14 million impressions. With just $50, our ad itself garnered hundreds of thousands of impressions, lots of clicks and many new sign-ups for our private beta. All in all we were thrilled with the outcome.
Here is the complete list of companies that participated in the campaign:
Open Runway – DYO Women’s fashion shoes
Blank Label – DYO Men’s Dress Shirts
Chocri – DYO Chocolate Bars
Spreadshirt – DYO T-Shirts
LaudiVidni – DYO Handbags
Gemvara – DYO Jewelry
Shoes of Prey – DYO Shoes
Wagner Skis – DYO Skis
Gemkitty – DYO Jewelry
Snaptotes – DYO Bags
Element Bars – DYO Energy Bars
YouBars – DYO Protein, Energy, and Nutrition Bars
Red Moon Pet Food – DYO Pet Food
Rooms By You – DYO Home Decor
Lindgolf – DYO Golf Clubs
Artaic – DYO Illuminated Mosaic
Melboteri – DYO Bags
IndiDenim – DYO Jeans
Kidlandia – DYO Kids Gifts
Maguba – DYO Clogs
Personalwine – DYO Wine
Proper Cloth – DYO Dress Shirts
Design A Tea – DYO Tea
Selve – DYO Shoes
Before we became finalists of MassChallenge and moved into our new digs at Fan Pier, we were renting space over at the CustomMade headquarters in Cambridge – what will forever fondly be known as Open Runway’s first home away from home. Sharing space with a team that shares the same mission and passion about beautiful design and customization as we do was great fun and we were very sad to leave.
On our last day at CustomMade, I sat down with Mike Salguero, co-founder of CustomMade, and had him tell me about the past, present, and future of CustomMade. To give you a little background, CustomMade is an online marketplace that connects buyers looking for custom made furniture to skilled artisans who can make it for them.
At CustomMade.com, artisans set up profiles where they can display a gallery of their work, check their page views, and add listings. “The idea is to give artisans the tools to market themselves more effectively.” Much like how Open Runway gives exposure to emerging designers, CustomMade gives artisans an opportunity to showcase their designs.
Shoppers looking to buy a custom made piece of furniture can go to CustomMade.com and search by artisan or by location. Once they have found an artisan they like they can contact them about a custom job. With thousands of beautiful and unique works on display for inspiration, it’s easy to spend a few hours on this site dreaming up ideas for furnishing or remodeling your home, like I did. The possibilities are endless.
One of my favorite pieces that I came across was the “Missis Key” chair by artisan, MasterandMargaritaArt which was made out of 561 recycled keys. How cool is that?
Another breathtaking piece was the gravity defying cantilevered design of the “Whale Tail” desk made by Wiggers Custom Furniture. This desk was inspired by the natural form of the rare North Atlantic Right Whale, as it breaches in preparation for a deep dive.
CustomMade as it exists today started as an idea to take an already profitable business and bring it to new heights. In 2009, founders Mike Salguero and Seth Rosen purchased CustomMade with the intent to revolutionize the way custom products are bought and sold. Their hard work catapulted CustomMade from a community of just 350 woodworkers to one that includes over 1,000 high caliber artisans.
In the future, CustomMade plans to be the source for everything custom. Starting with custom in the home: furnishings, rugs, carpets, and drapes. Then adding custom in the garage: bikes, cars, and boats. And finally custom for the person: shoes, pants, and shirts. According to Mike “the idea is that once someone has had one thing custom-made they are going to want everything custom-made.” We couldn’t agree with him more.
Recently the Open Runway team went on the road for our first formal fit testing for our upcoming collection of DYO (design your own) shoes. The 200 women over at Communispace, a community-driven marketing agency in Watertown, MA, invited us to commandeer their cafeteria for the day and set up shop.
The event (aka The Great Shoe Try-On), took place to make sure that the shoes fit to true-to-size. Although we will be offering a full guarantee on all orders, we want to do everything possible to make sure customers are wowed in every way when they open the box of shoes that they created and that includes making sure the fit is right.
The response was outstanding; we couldn’t even unload the sample shoes before the ladies were all over them. Like sharks with blood in the water these women were ready to attack when they saw the hot new Open Runway styles! In fact, they spent so much time trying on shoes that productivity at Communispace actually dipped (sorry Commispace!).
Ladies of all shapes and sizes were in a shoe trying frenzy. Even the ones who didn’t have the right shoe size were trying to squeeze into the heels. We had lots of varieties to choose from including stilettos and wedges with leopard print, fishskin – all design options that shoppers can choose when designing their shoes using Open Runway’s online design studio. Our lime green wedges were definitely a crowd favorite “I’m a sucker for a nice pair of wedges, and these are so comfortable” said Charlotte Birkner, a Communispace team member.
While we were there to test the fit of the shoes, we also wanted to get some feedback on the Open Runway concept. Charlotte said “The ability to design your own shoes is great for someone like me. I have trouble finding cute shoes in my size, so the idea of being able to design your own sounds fantastic. It’s also perfect for those times when you have the perfect dress but can’t find the perfect pair of shoes to match.”
The event at Communispace reinforced that women love to express their personal sense of style. “I express myself through fashion. What I have on and how I present myself is very important to me,” said Lindsay Hutton, another Communispace team member. “That is why I really like the fact that I’ll be able to design my own shoes.”
The feedback we received was great, so thanks again to all you ladies at Communispace for taking time out of your day. Open Runway is going to be doing some more demos and focus groups. Interested in participating? Send us an email!
A guest blog post by Personal Wardrobe Stylist, Mahjuba
Fall 2010 brings us a luxe color palette on Footwear. Many designers are using muted colors of black, gray, dark blue, light purple and beige. Exquisite trimmings on Footwear are the highlights of this season. We are seeing details such as lace up, feathers, fur trim, leopard and zebra prints.
There are 3 particular trends that I am insanely mad about. These trends can instantly update your wardrobe essentials and help you stand out. The first being a Flat over the knee boot. This is a great look for walking around town shopping on a casual day. For a more fashion forward look, choose a high boot with fur trim. Last but not least, revamp your black pump to a Platform pump.
Some of the other styles seen on the runway for fall are extreme height, corrugated soles, booties, and leather and metal finishing’s.
Soon you will be able to design your own shoe on Open Runway. Go for trims and textures that represent your style. Choose a style that will bring your wardrobe to the next level. The best part of designing your own shoe is the individuality and thought you have put into your design. When building a shoe wardrobe I start with the classics. I then will add pieces that are right on trend and current. Building a shoe wardrobe is essential and takes time. At times choosing a fabulous stand out shoe is just as fun as choosing a fabulous piece of jewelry. It goes hand and hand.
Make the most of designing your own shoe and most of all have fun doing it.
Learn more about Personal Wardrobe and Fashion Stylist Mahjuba