May 3, 2013
Patricia Handschiegel is the CEO and founder of Condiment, the digital magazine and marketplace for independent lifestyle products and tips. Condiment highlights products from necklaces to sake to cookie pies. And Handschiegel is no stranger to this industry.
Lifestyle products focus on bringing homespun or handmade beauty, creativity, and uniqueness across every product category. For example, Handschiegel was also the brains and brawn behind Stylediary.net, a site focused on personal style.
Condiment offers service to both businesses and consumers. The digital magazine not only offers up useful content for subscribers, it also showcases companies and their products, generating leads and sales online through Condiment’s marketplace. The site’s mix of content and product is a feature that not many in this category can boast.
But what has led to the development of Condiment and other online lifestyle product boutiques?
Handschiegel believes that the offline, brick-and-mortar boutique shops, popping up in sprawling metropolises and quaint towns, and their success and popularity has translated to the Internet.
“It’s opened a distribution channel and reach that did not exist before for startup and small product makers across many categories,” said Handschiegel. “Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the rise of boutique stores and brands in fashion, and their market presence in major cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, boutique hotels, mainstream stores picking up startup artists, furniture designers,” and more are providing increasing awareness and desire for similar options online.
But the booming business that is the lifestyle boutique can also thank consumers’ prioritizing sustainable living and natural products in recent years. Mainstream and big companies have started to offer sustainable living and natural products on larger scales, but the independent and small business lifestyle products that Condiment features are still in demand. It may have to do with the charm and authenticity that these smaller, passionate artists and companies exude, something the mass-produced products of mainstream companies cannot match. There is just something special about the artistry of the products.
Handschiegel believes that, like in many businesses, the Internet has been a big factor. New ideas and products can gain interest and traction online where they couldn’t before in traditional media outlets.
“In traditional media, it was limited to who would bring that exposure to the market for upstart and small, independent lifestyle product makers,” Handschiegel explained, “But with the web you’re seeing it on social networks, blogs, media, everywhere. It’s driven a lot of the rising interest consumers have in the category.”
With the Internet offering quicker and easier exposure, both online and offline lifestyle product businesses have benefitted.
Handschiegel’s passion for content creation and expertise in this recent and skyrocketing category propeled Stylediary.net to 72 countries before its acquisition in 2007. Condiment is on the journey to do the same since its 2012 launch. As Handschiegel already knows, the lifestyle boutique market will continue to expand on and offline, and Condiment hopes to lead the charge.
Condiment was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Los Angeles mixer.
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