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(via the bridge) – Monomy is an iOS app that provides an online marketplace for creatives, making it easy for people to create accessories they love using smartphones. The platform was recently launched by Fun Up, the Tokyo-based company that has been running multiple online services since 2011.
We asked Eri Yamaguchi, the company representative, about their future application.
Users can design accessories with more than 1,500 parts
The Monomy app allows users to design their own props by assembling prop parts in your own style. Over 1,500 types of coins, including rhinestones, natural gemstones and charms, are provided in the app. More design-active users are setting up their prop designs to showcase on “Monomy MyPages” for other users. When you find a design you like, just purchase it by entering credit card details and address.
The difference between the trendy markets for handmade products and Monomy is that users only have to design the accessories they want. What happens is that Monomy takes care of the entire process, from receiving orders to production in their own workshop. They can take large orders such as orders for 1,000 items and make them all in their workshop, with accessories handcrafted by experienced artisans.
The market for handmade items has grown significantly in recent times, with some items exceeding 1,000 orders per month. However, these are all handmade items, so individual artisans make the props, meaning that even if they worked sleepless, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with production; it is not uncommon to see items sold out or with a waiting period of several months.
Using the Monomy app, it takes about a week on average for a product to arrive after placing the order. The whole process is taken care of by Monomy’s operations department so that users can simply enjoy designing and acquiring their own brands of accessories. The app offers a system where the item you want to give to someone can be delivered whenever you want.
Monomy’s impression is one of femininity and cuteness, but its user interface is very simple. The focus is on the user’s own accessory brands. The company aims to offer a reasonably simple app design and user interface so that their platform does not distract users from the real function of the site.
Also, the key factor when portraying real items and actions online is how to reproduce the real feel on a smartphone flat screen. A good example is an e-book reader, which mimics reality by asking users to turn the pages of books and magazines with their fingertips. It is indeed a challenge.
By touching the app you can see how well it has been designed by simulating the feeling of making props by hand: through the use of a game engine with technology capable of calculating physics real and replicating gravity, parts can be moved delicately with your fingertips while naturally wobbling a bit as parts are added. A lot of time has been spent creating this app, so the feeling of creating something feels real.
I think the most important thing is that users get joy in crafting items and like to be part of the community before they sell. Some users design silently on the app when they can’t really fall asleep. We aim for a service where users are so involved in the design that they can’t help but design.
Build a platform to create things
When Yamaguchi was studying at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo and had experienced buying and selling, product development and trading, she once thought to challenge the apparel business by creating something new. She traveled the world and visited parts of Asia including Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong for two years to conduct market research, which gave her the inspiration to create the Monomy app.
It is not easy to find attractive accessories in accessory stores and online in Japan. For example, without pierced ears even though earrings are found and liked, if they are only for pierced ears, you wouldn’t be able to buy anything. Likewise, if one is allergic to metals, there is no alternative. There is still no specialized aftermarket, so it would be great if we could fix such issues through Monomy.
Seventeen spare parts distributors are associated with Monomy; it has created its own system for receiving orders and delivering products without the risk of building up stocks of accessory parts. By applying this system, it can ease the burden on the user by making it cost next to nothing. The concept of Yamaguchi is to extend the model laterally by partnering with production plants in Japan in various fields, including furniture, bags, glasses, nail polish and ceramics made in Japan. Accessories are just the start.
There are so many areas that cost too much, from planning to selling products in the store. I could have made the name prettier than Monomy, but I gave it a unisex name, Monomy, to mean “start a revolution” on mainstream production in the future. I hope to build a new platform to make things that is closely linked to the factories of production and to consumers in general.
Community development first, group purchasing in the future
Monomy will add more functions like tracking users or items. Another function is to try out items to let users find what they want. For promotions, the plan is to use the existing activities of Fun Up, influencer marketing, while considering brand development through reader and blogger models. In addition, the plan aims to improve the community by holding a competition for the publication of accessories suitable for new versions of popular brands.
After the community has been established, the introduction of a group purchasing and incentive system is on the drawing board. Currently, the scale is having difficulty processing orders which require time and effort. Bulk buying could allow a number of people who want the same products for a period of time to decrease the cost per item as they would be made in bulk, thus allowing items to be offered at reasonable prices.
Accessories with a low cost price can be halved if the number of items produced increases to 20. If the number of buyers increases, the price could decrease by 30-80%. We are envisioning something where any user who posts their designs could receive incentives in the future. At launch, Monomy is only an MVP (Minimal Viable Product).
The focus is on the user experience first, so that “users can enjoy the design of accessories and Monomy can be recognized,” said Yamaguchi; the next step will be deliberate after reviewing user feedback and comments, she added.
If you do the design and deliver it, that limits how much they can produce and how many people would want to do it. But Monomy’s “design-only” business model can do more. We look forward to people’s comments and the number of women who will go for Monomy.
Translated by Chieko Frost via Mother First, eedited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda
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