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Bomfy B Blankets

Bomfy B Blankets2018-08-27T17:54:31+00:00

Project Description

Project Overview

Everyone knows what it feels like to have an idea that’s really nothing more than just that.. an idea. But to Carlos, Cooper, and Tyler, founders and owners of Bomfy B., their idea was much more than just an idea to them. And so after months of discussing different options, and dreaming of success, they decided to say “tuck it” and sought out the ZIP Idea Lab to help further their idea, and find a solution to their problem “How might we create and sell a blanket with a foot pocket to SDSU students?”

Upon arrival, the team was assigned a project manager and set up with a project plan that incorporated the six steps of the Design Thinking process and the respective tools that accompany each step.

Project Plan

Idea Lab Project Plan for Bomfy B

EMPATHY: DEVELOPING AN EMOTIONAL UNDERSTANDING

The team began in the empathy stage of the Design Thinking process where they were guided on how to develop an emotional understanding of the different people involved in their problem statement – “How might we create and sell a blanket with a foot pocket to SDSU students?” Using research, observation, and engagement the Bomfy team did just that.

In research they started by uncovering what is already known. This entailed researching and learning from successful entrepreneurs in similar industries (i.e. Jeff Kearl, co-founder of Stance socks), looking at potential manufacturers, and doing intel on competitors to see what worked and what needed to be changed.

Through observation the team studied how SDSU students interacted with other brands like Blenders and Pura Vida Bracelets. They identified strategies those companies used to connect with customers through the quality of their products and attractive lifestyles they represented.

Throughout their work, the team began to understand what it would take to develop their idea to its full extent and realized it involved much more than just launching a product; to reach full potential, Bomfy also needed to build a reputable brand image.

To gain a deeper understanding of the problem, the project manager helped the team create a survey to engage with the people involved. The survey collected data from SDSU students regarding price, color, fabric, willingness to purchase, etc. It also included A/B testing to see which designs and branding aspects appealed most to students.

The clients were also instructed to do in person interviews in which they could gauge students’ interest in their idea of a blanket with a foot pocket. To do this, the boys talked to students on campus that were willing to lend a moment of their time, asking questions like, “Do you ever have to deal with cold feet when using a blanket?” And, “Would you be interested in a blanket that prevents the problem of cold feet?” Through these interviews, Bomfy was able to open up the floor for more authentic conversation which helped them gain insights not only through information provided in the responses, but also through the body language that accompanied those responses.

With the empathy gained in the first stage of the process, Bomfy B. was ready to move to define and start making sense of it all.

DEFINE: CONFIRMING THE RIGHT PROBLEM

In the define stage, the team began to organize the data from empathy and identify specific needs and insights using the synthesize tool. After synthesize, the boys started reframing their problem statement considering all the different perspectives they learned about through empathy. The first big takeaway from define was that there was in fact a potential market for a blanket with a foot pocket. The team also noticed that a majority of the people they engaged with said fabric, color, and price were most important to them when it came to buying a blanket. Considering this information, Bomfy updated their problem to reflect these insights with a new “how might we..” statement that was as follows: “How might we manufacture and sell a blanket with a foot pocket that maintains an affordable price point and attracts SDSU students through design and comfort?

The team was then ready for the fun part, ideation.

IDEATE: GENERATING POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

In the ideate phase, the project manager had Bomfy B. start with sketch divergent where the team had to sketch different ideas addressing their new problem statement. The ideas included sketches of the design of the blanket, promotional opportunities like tabling on campus, different manufacturing options, and a few branding aspects like logo design.

The team then went and gathered feedback from students on their ideas to see which would work best. From there, they completed sketch convergent which consisted of one final sketch of the idea they would prototype. Their convergent incorporated aspects of their divergent ideas, featuring the design of the blanket as well as a design for a logo and potential website.

PROTOTYPE: REPRESENTING THE IDEA

In the prototype phase, Bomfy B.’s one task was to build. Through build, they constructed a prototype 1.0 which represented the product, as well as a prototype 2.0 which represented their brand. Prototype 1.0 consisted of a blanket they bought and hand sewed a pocket at the bottom to for users to put their feet. Prototype 2.0 incorporated a graphic design of their logo as well as a mock version of their website and social media platforms.

TEST: COLLECTING FEEDBACK ON THE IDEA

Bomfy B. during their soft launch From left: Idea Lab Director Kevin Popovic, Project Manager Rosemary Blesio, Bomfy B. Co-founders: Carlos Cortes, Cooper Lopez, Tyler Thren

Bomfy B. during the Test. From left: Idea Lab Director Kevin Popovic, Project Manager Rosemary Blesio, Bomfy B. Co-founders: Carlos Cortes, Cooper Lopez, Tyler Thren

Moving on to the testing stage in the Design Thinking process, the team set out to gather more feedback from students on their prototype 1.0. Through feedback they learned that the blanket needed to be longer, users didn’t like the product in white, and ways they could tweak their logo and web design to make them more attractive and user friendly. With this new information they returned to the previous stage of the process to construct prototypes 1.1 and 2.1. These iterated prototypes were of a much higher quality and put to the test during Bomfy B.’s soft launch in SDSU’s Student Union in December of the 2017 fall semester. With their new product and logo to match, Bomfy B. sold out during their soft launch and collected a long waiting list of names and emails.

SHARE: WHAT WE LEARNED ON THIS PROJECT

Now in possession of a product they knew could sell, along with stable relations to their manufacturer, the team decided it was time to market and promote their product to a wider audience. They started by introducing two new colors to their product mix, the “Darth B.”(black) and “Cool Mint” (mint green) and then began participating as vendors at events both on campus and around the greater San Diego community.

These events included street fairs, 5K marathons, the Women in Entrepreneurship (WIE) event on campus, and the annual Entrepreneur Day at SDSU. The company was even invited to attend Entrepreneur Night at the Omnia nightclub downtown and had their logo projected on the big screen.

“Idea Lab’s Design Thinking process WORKS. I cannot stress enough how crucial Kevin and his team at The Idea Lab were in the beginning days for my company, Bomfy B. They were there for us every step of the way, and always kept us accountable. If you are someone who has an idea and are not sure what to do next, please do yourself a favor and get in contact with Kevin. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and better experience, he is the man!” – Carlos Cortes, Founder, Bomfy B

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