August 2, 2013
Finding a win-win situation is the basis of any good business. For example, if you run a convenience store, you will give me something I want, like King Size Skittles (Original flavor only; don’t try to push your Wild Berry concoctions on me) and I will give you something you want, like a one-dollar bill. We both walk away from the transaction feeling better than before. The power of the win-win situation has powered the global economy since the days of trading sharp rocks for fish.
If the win-win is such a beneficial arrangement, imagine the power of a win-win-win-win setup. That’s exactly the opportunity that Co-Ed Supply, a startup in this year’s Brandery class, is trying to capitalize on. Here are the actors in their economic play:
College students: They love free stuff, cheap stuff, new stuff, and stuff they can tell their friends about. That pretty much sums up the entire experience of being a 20-year-old consumer.
Parents of college students: They think (with probable cause) that their kids are not going to know how to take care of themselves at best and die of starvation, exposure, disease, or other various causes at worst. They want to save their poor children buy buying them everything they think they’ll need.
Brands: They want young, hip, and social people to use their products, like them, and tell their friends about it.
Co-Ed Supply: They want everyone to love their service and keep subscribing.
Co-ed Supply is creating a win-win-win-win for these four groups. Here’s how it works: A college student (or, ideally, their parents) subscribes to Co-Ed Supply. Every month, they are delivered a beautiful orange box with carefully curated products that are a mix of snacks, personal care items, and entertainment (what else could you ever need in college?). Students are then encouraged to give feedback on which items they liked, what they used, what they’d like to see, and what they’ll share with their friends. That feedback helps both Co-Ed Supply and the brands that are providing the products.
So will it work? They just launched, and already they have partnerships with companies like Olay, Dollar Shave Club, Epic Records, and more, so it sounds to me like they’ve found a sweet spot. If they get a deal with Skittles (and if for some reason I go back to college), you can bet I’ll be looking forward to a bright orange party box every month.
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