I’ve said on numerous occasions that technology and social media pay the largest dividends for small business when employed to co-create value for all involved. In other words, an innovative use of technology that increases the value for both the business and its customers – Even better if it increases human engagement too!
I recently had the opportunity to visit with personal image consultant Joanna Van Vleck and I think she has created a pretty fine example of just such an innovation.
Van Vleck consults with men on their wardrobes, hair and overall style. She found that while her clients loved working with her, they hated being dragged into stores to try on clothes – keep in mind these are all men. On one occasion a client suggested using a web cam instead. He would buy the stuff on his own and consult with her about what worked with what didn’t via video conference. At first Van Vleck found the idea a bit odd, but somewhere along the way she discovered a brilliant innovation.
Today the Trunk Club, a business she founded to take advantage of the video consulting technology, helps men around the globe not have to do something they hate – go shopping. (By the way, that’s the surest way to create a meaningful innovation) The Trunk Club concept is pretty simple – When you need something to wear you get in touch with your Trunk Club Expert, they pick out clothes based on style, need and budget and send them to your home or office. You try them on and get advice via video conference and pay for and keep only what you want. By the way, during our interview she shared that her little idea is poised to do around $3mil in its first year.
Van Vleck is a wonderful example of what a successful entrepreneur looks and acts like – enjoy her advice and her energy.