“You dropped a 150 grand on a fucking education that you could’ve got a $1.50 in late charges at the public library” – Good Will Hunting (1997)
I love that quote. It not only speaks to the accessibility of knowledge, it also speaks to the importance of being efficient with your learnings.
I just recently shut down Rewire Attire, the exclusive high end apparel marketplace. We hand picked and recruited high end fashion designers to list their designs for sale. We marketed and sold those designs. We arranged shipment and accepted payment. Designers packaged their orders and dropped them off for shipment.
One of our biggest selling features for shoppers was our “perfect fit” technology. The pitch was to get away from inaccurate generic sizing terms like “small”, “medium” and “large” and move to a system based on body measurements. While it’s impractical to use body measurements in a traditional bricks and mortar retail environment, the internet is well suited to log a shoppers body measurements and compare those measurements to a catalogue of fashion designs – “have designs try you on instead”.
Even after shutting down the business, writing about it still gets me excited. I still feel the future of fashion retail (or clothes shopping) involves an improvement on sizing with the help of the internet (and data).
Here’s the problem. I’m not the target audience. The target audience for Rewire Attire, the high end fashion marketplace, was women with enough money to afford high end fashion and that are young enough to be comfortable shopping for clothes on the internet. It turns out that these women are not comfortable sharing their body measurements, overwhelmingly so, despite the benefits.
I found this out by spending $100 on a Google consumer survey:
…after already investing over a year of my time and over $40,000 developing the business.
Even though I’d listened Eric Reis speak at Stanford (via podcast…thanks Stanford for sharing). And even though I read Steve Blank‘s The Four Steps to the Epiphany. I was still inefficient with my learnings.
Needless to say, I’m now an even bigger proponent of The Lean Startup.