Spinning a product into a business
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Gwyneth Palthrow’s GOOP is the recipient of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) second annual Innovation award. “This year, GOOP celebrates fifteen years of being irreplaceable provocateurs of good,” said Palthrow in lieu of acknowledgment.
In the course of its fifteen years, GOOP followed the Flywheel model. In this model, a business expands from the first product that’s made it known, and thrives beyond it by entering into products and services from other categories, all of which have the consistent quality and price.
Another example of this model is Muji, which started from forty products sold in the supermarket chain The Seiyu, Ltd. in 1980. Mujorushi Ryōhin (“no brand quality goods”) then expanded to its own store in 1983 and the current 7000 products, a Muji hut, a hotel in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Tokyo, a car, a cafe, and food.
Muji’s Flywheel spins according to its brand philosophy of “Muji is enough,” which is consistently implemented across product design, color range, selection of materials, streamlined manufacturing process, and minimal packaging. There’s a clear aesthetic and functional link between a Muji hotel and a Muji store below it in Ginza, and between all Muji products and, for example, the Muji house. They all share the same ethos of minimalist Japanese lifestyle, quality, and sensible pricing.
Another example of the Flywheel is Marie Kondo, a business that started from Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and expanded to a consulting service, a TV show (Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo), and an online store. The Marie Kondo Flywheel is held together not by Kondo’s personality, but by the Japanese art of decluttering and the goal to “help more people live a life that sparks joy.” The Flywheel revolves around creating room for “meaningful objects, people and experiences” and offering consumers tools and services to help them surround themselves with objects they love.
The Flywheel model is also applied when a service creates a product (e.g. Barbara Sturm), when a media company launches e-commerce (Highsnobiety), or when a retailer creates an experience (Restoration Hardware restaurant, guesthouse, a yacht and RH One, a private plane).
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