June 17, 2019 | 19 minute read
Published in Keep Going
Picking a color or getting something engraved is personalization. Creating a unique product with functional benefits made just for you is customization.
Burger King was right, we like having it our way. When there is a choice, research suggests 80% of us are more likely to do business with brands that offer customization. Amazon delivers iPhone cases featuring our picture in just two days. Coke cans come printed with our name or sports team logo. Xbox provides multiple controllers with endless configuration options.
At Wiivv, our interest lies in companies that go beyond personalization for aesthetic sake and instead have real world purpose. Companies that make a difference, not just make things prettier. We pioneered biomechanical customization of footwear and believe customization will play a major role in the future of personal goods. Across industries, innovation in customization is flourishing.
We scoured the internet, store shelves and CES floor for companies that are also pioneering customization: companies that are leading the charge in by making compelling, affordable, scalable products that solve real-world challenges with a high chance of improving your life through customization. Here are the ten best companies that are leading through customization today.
Nemeio is a fully customizable keyboard.
Nemeio uses backlit e-ink, mechanical keys and software to make this keyboard as flexible as the home screen of your phone. The French company LDLC was an Innovation Award Honoree when they introduced the product at CES in 2019.
With Nemeio you can put your most used apps, functions and shortcuts one touch away. No more suffering through awkward input for foreign languages. You can now configure the keyboard to reflect your personal needs and patterns. Great for languages, gaming, spreadsheets, video editing, and setting up automation so you can get things done faster.
#9 Helix Sleep
Helix Mattress: Mattresses designed for every body.
Mattresses that arrive in a box with colorful and irreverent stories seem to be everywhere. Helix takes this concept and adds a few extra springs: before shipping you and your partner are put through a doctor’s list of questions and a Mad Libs-style quiz to determine your sleep preferences. You receive a custom-made mattress with each side built to the individual preferences of you and your partner. Feedback is positive and one customer writes the experience is “Like getting massaged by an extra-large marshmallow.”
Our comparison originally came down to two customized brands: ReST and Helix. ReST offers a mattress with five zones and modifiable pressure that automatically adjusts while you sleep. The technology is impressive, but ultimately the setup and the need for an app feels like an aftermarket remedy. Helix won out with the upfront customization and couple-minded design as well as their premium offer at an everyday price.
Tails puts human empathy into food for your dog.
We’re big fans of dogs at Wiivv. You’ve likely seen Purina and Blue Buffalo dueling it out to provide the food by size and breed, but you may not have noticed Tails in pursuit. Tails produces optimal meals for your pet by taking food to a scientific level individually customized to your furry friend. They incorporate the traditional life stages and volume while also engaging vets and nutritionists to develop meal plans that ship in portions as unique as your dog. Their formulas and feedback system change nutrition gradually by blending food from scratch and incorporating your direct input.
Tails’ customization changes as your dog grows, using not just age, but also activity level, seasonal needs, and even allergies. This is way beyond your pup’s name on the bag!
#7 True Gault
True Gault is improving function without destroying fashion. Buzzfeed named them one of “22 Super Expensive Pairs Of Shoes That People Actually Swear By.” It’s no secret fashion is painful, but True Gault’s offer aims to change that with a foot scan that is used by Spanish craftsman to handmake shoes in under four weeks. They’re still expensive but we’d bet that Carrie Bradshaw wouldn’t mind a pair.
True Gault gets points for their sizing guarantee and technological fitting process. They don’t have the options of Nike By You or Alive Shoes (where customers design and earn a profit) but True Gault stands alone in their focus on ladies fashion and solving a specific pain point beautifully.
Indochino: Custom clothing for the modern man.
AskMen got it right: “Once you start wearing custom-made, it's hard to go back to off-the-rack.” Indochino makes a man’s custom wardrobe a reality by bringing down the price point. Their key ingredient? Outsourcing the measuring to you. In 10 minutes Indochino’s online platform allows customers to enter their dimensions and select hundreds of personalized details. We love the founder’s belief that “factory-made suits seem to call upon the man to fit the suit, rather than the reverse.” Video tutorials make the process quick and seamless. Customers also love details like color felts and monograms that are included in the price. Now you can truly design your dream suit or shirt without traveling to Italy or China.
Function of Beauty: Personalized hair care based on your hair type & hair goals.
Dry hair today. Dream hair tomorrow. The chemists at Function of Beauty are formulating unique solutions to our individual hair styling challenges. Starting with a hair quiz, you’ll answer questions about your texture, goals and desired fragrance strength. Then choose your bottle size and even put your nickname on the labels. With their subscription service you select the frequency of instalments and never have to run out of shampoo or conditioner again. With unique combinations tailored to your locks, Function of Beauty solves the problem of needing to swap out shampoos every few months.
Topology: Individually tailored eyewear measured and designed on your iPhone.
Topology makes “glasses made for your eyes only.” While other leading glasses companies offer home-try-on (we’re especially big fans of Warby Parker) and personalized frames, Topology’s goal is to be more than a pretty face.
According to Topology, “Glasses that fit better actually help you see better.” Using precise 3D measurements to correctly position your prescription lenses relative to your eyes, Topology claims to actually improve your vision clarity. This brand reflects true functional adaptation by moving custom precision services from an optometrist to your phone. The Topology app uses sensors to collect 2000+ measurements to determine your optimal lens width and height as well as bridge adjustments. The “Try them on” virtually feature is relatively sophisticated and gives a life-like preview before receiving the prototype. You can play with them at home, talk to a real person if further customization is needed, and then get the final product delivered to your door.
Care/Of: Vitamins and supplements for your personal goals and diet, shipped to you each month.
Care/Of provides personalized vitamin packs assembled based on your health needs. The company was started to overcome the complex labels and language of the nutraceutical world. Instead, Care/Of breaks supplements down to basic principles: honest guidance and better ingredients. Through an interactive 5-minute module you share your health background, goals and physical composition. Then the algorithm guides you to a packaged recommendation. Experts can also build their own packs.
What made Care/Of stand out to us is the combination of recommendations with pre-portioned packaging to simplify the entire experience. This is great for people taking multiple pills and trying to manage MTWTFSS containers. Care/of takes out guesswork by giving you a quick tearaway and daily vitamins all in one place. We can’t speak to the science, formulations, or the efficacy, but we do like the way this customization reduces confusion and improves follow-through on health goals.
Revols: Custom-fit wireless earphones.
Twelve thousand fans on Kickstarter backed an entirely new approach to custom fit earbuds from Revols. This startup promises a new listening experience based on your ear alone. After years of frustration with other in-ear and over-the-ear models, the founders realized that ear shapes are as unique as fingerprints. Revols developed a very easy fitting process: “Simply pair your earphones to your phone, let the app guide you through the process and hit the start button when you’re ready. In just 60 seconds, the tips will transform from their initial gel-like state to their permanently hardened, customized shape.” After 95 product iterations and 237,892 cups of coffee, the Revols team is now offering free-shipping and discounts on their pre-order sales, hoping to change the way you listen to music for good.
At Wiivv, we believe that wellness innovation comes equally from health and happiness, so we’re wrapping our Top 10 Customized Products list with a sweet ending. Look down the ice cream aisle and you’ll see many combinations of flavor, ingredients and form factors. With eCreamery, however, you create the exact ice cream to fit your tastes and mood. Pick your base, your flavors, add-ins and toppings; give it a craft name and eCreamery will ship it to you (or a friend). This is the sweet part. eCreamery makes it possible to gift customized ice cream in a package that is fitting for the occasion, including a choice of pints or party cups with customized labels.
Take our warning: this won’t lead to world peace and it’s priced at $15-20 per pint. But we give it two spoons up as a customized way to indulge, celebrate and share happiness.