To make things clear, after the 3rd session with the designers I found peace with choosing the Access Businessmodel. First I though it wouldn’t be very circular to create something completely new even though the concept is sustainable. But thinking about it more and more made me realise this can really work out quite well. I am going to describe how.
The Access model is chosen for a variety of settings where people get an offer for enhanced comfort.
By leasing slippers in places such as fairs and public events, people pay a little amount of money for a full day of pleasure on their feet.
Even though this sounds like this final concept is getting away from the product design itself, this is just the branding and the beginning of a very well thought of customer journey.
People go to fairs every now and then, either for their job or for themselves to get all the new ins and outs about certain topics. House appliances, cars, design, broadcasting conventions, careers etc.
Most fairs last for about three days where both visitor and exposer are standing and walking for around 6 to 8 hours a day. This is very tiring for the body, especially the legs and feet.
Funny enough people who go to fairs mostly dress up nice, choosing not to wear their comfortable shoes but the aesthetically pleasing ones.
This is where FOLS comes in.
FOLS is the new service right at the entrance of exhibitions and fairs where people get attracted to by the text: ‘Get your comfort here’
For around 2€ a day(less than a cup of coffee) a visitor can exchange his or her shoes with a pair of comfortable and clean slippers.
The slippers that are leased can be taken from small lockers that function as storage (so the visitor can keep the hands free for flyers and gadgets) and more importantly as deposit.
The visitor can now walk the whole day on special designed slippers to improve their well-being, happiness and comfort for only 2€ and have the experience to enjoy a real good pair of slippers.
The touch point of the visitor with the FOLS employee will be where he or she gets noticed on circularity.
For hygiene reasons the slippers are designed to have an Tencel© inlay which is made from wood pulp. This inlay is only used by one person and can be replaced by the next user.
FOLS itself makes sure that all inlays can be washed.
After a full day of wearing these slippers the customer can make the decision to pay an extra or 15 to 20 € to take the slippers home.
By offering the consumer a Try & Buy service he/she gets aware of spending a little more money for a better quality of slippers that will last long.
By actually also adding the Hybrid model in this service the consumer gets to know that he or she can just replace the inlay whenever this is broken or at its end of life without throwing the body of the slipper away. The inlay can be send to the customer in need via mail.
Why would the visitor take of their shoes to swop them for FOLS? Because it is made publicly accepting. When FOLS is offered to each and every person coming into the fair, they get to feel the excitement of not having to feel embarrassed to choose comfort over aesthetics. It now becomes acceptable and funny in a positive way. It will be the talk of the fairs.
For sponsorships and extra money flows FOLS can ask the fair or big companies in the fair to sponsor the inlay. In return the inlay can be made into a specific color or print representing the sponsoring company.
Decision making or keep being stuck in the middle?
After a week or so I made up my mind. Circular design is still very new to me, new to the world, completely new to the consumer.
I truly believe it is up to the designers and manufacturers of products to change the mindset of consumers, to make them aware of what we consume and of what we have together in and on our planet and how to protect that.
Although I did feel like sharing my dilemma with the world, I also figured out that by choosing to work with the Access Business model archetype I can actually do something to make people a little bit more aware of circular economy. This service can both enhance consumer awareness, it gives peoples comfort, and hopefully they even take the slippers home after wearing them the whole day to keep them forever. Which would mean, through the Access model helping people to make use of a product with the Classic Long Life.
Making one of my favourite products to be a circular product which at the same time can teach consumers of their consuming behaviour can work out just perfect?
The Access Model it is, but with what strategies.
The most obvious business model is the first in row; The Classic Long Life one, when the slippers are looked at only from a consumer perspective to take their wishes for improvement in account than the slipper would be designed to last forever because the quality of the sole is super good, the slipper can be washed in a washing machine and is made for all seasons, both summer and winter prove, looks trendy forever and never wear out, and oh yes, as last wish: under 20€.
Even though everybody would want these slippers there is always a business side to each and every product. To make a profitable business out of these perfect slippers is hard when the consumer does not want to pay over 20€.
Comparing this with my own slippers comes to this: I dispose my slippers every half year, they cost me 5€, that makes 10€ a year on brand new slippers. In 5 years this costs me already 50 €.
The long lasting slipper should therefore already cost over 50€, but most people are not willing to spend that amount of money on a pair of slippers, unless it is already from a well-established brand.
Concluding this would fit into a business that already exists and claims to have the best quality for a long life span of products in their brandname.
Classic long life is possible when the right ratio between price/quality and profitability for the company can be met.
On product design level it is a challenge to make super durable slippers, starting with the improvement of the sole.
With the concepts found when exploring the strategies the business model archetypes from the book are looked at. For each archetype ideas are written down to see where business opportunities
can be found for the slippers. The business model archetypes are divided in 5 types:
1. The Classic Long Life Model
2. The Hybrid model
3. The Gap Exploiter
4. The Access Model
5. The Performance Model
After this a sum up is created again to see what changes for business lay ahead when designing circular slippers.