Digital Well Being

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We are a week old today :)

September 21, 2006 11:31 PM | Blowing our trumpet | Comments (3)

We opened on the 14th last week and ever since its been a whirl.
Key highlights:
* Listening, understanding and reading between lines when engaging with customers.
* Enjoying conversations and demonstrating interactive vibrators to software to wifi-bunny rabbits.
* Seeing people immediately engage on an emotional level when they see things work eg: digital photo displays, Osmotronics magical interactive poster, Availabot from Schulze & Webb, Troika's Music box, Blinky bugs reacting to vibrations, software art from Bitforms.
* New respect for Sloane Square and West london, where people open doors for you and you get decent coffee without being ripped off and not needing to got to any large brands such as Starbucks, Pret etc.
* Meeting press from various quarters from fashion to technology and explaining our vision. This piece by Amanda Gore from PSFK for example, articulates what we are setting out to do beautifully.
* Getting excited about our next collection for Christmas- Into the Woods and having people writing to us wanting to be part of it.
* Playing match-maker between industry and designer-makers with amazing prototypes.
* Cycling by the river and mavelling at Battersea Power Station.
* Having such good positive reactions from everyone who walks into the store.

Cheek by jowl with the Fashion East show

September 19, 2006 11:50 PM | Events | Comments (13934)

The Fashion East catwalk lasted for 20minutes but took all night the day before for preparing The Shop At Bluebird. It was a very good turnout (around 700 people) and was fascinating to see the dwb showroom get so many positive reactions from the visiting fashion press and buyers.

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Seeing the models walking on the catwalk and reading current discussions in media about how thin models are these days and at what BMI they should be banned etc, I was struck by the realisation that we are quite a slim-obssessed culture in general.

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One needs to only look at current trends in mp3 players, mobile phones and the tyranny of slimmness is much evident. That's why I quite like the Samsung YPK5 mp3 player. It has attitude and is unabashedly chunky with great character. I think great fashion and good product design has much in common. You need to be confident, be yourself and not be afraid in asserting a unique personality.
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I only wish we had more products such as these. I had enough of these "me-too" not yet another iPod rip-off/homage/influence/call-it-what-you-want eg. Zune type devices.
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Our online store still has couple of links on the homepage that go nowhere. Why? Too busy physically selling stuff and not enough screen-staring-time. Alexander and me are amazed how physical the whole process of retail-selling can be. We had some South Korean and Australian customers today who were passing by for both London Fashion Week and the London Design Festival. They told us we were more like the shop 'Vincent' than a touch-me-not 'Colette'. That did make our day and yes we had good sales today.

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Cycling back from The Shop at Bluebird passing over Albert Bridge which looked so pretty with all those lights, I suddenly felt so happy... life feels both hectic and peaceful.

Post-launch, stock update and observations

September 18, 2006 12:10 PM | At the showroom | Comments (745)

We have been now open for the last 4 days and it has been amazing. We succeeded in building and creating it to the vision we had.fashion%20view.jpg
Chris Shea fromPixelSumo has some lovely pictures here and Halle Unnarsson made this little video for us.

We have people coming an try out all our products from the lovely Theatre from Marcel Wanders to Hulger phones Nabaztag- Wifi bunny appliance and Visual Thesaurus. Lots of really interesting questions, but the one that everyone has been asking us is when can I buy one of these. We have everything for sale or on a pre-order.
For example the digital photo displays have sparked lots of interest. We are in the process of ordering more and should be in store shortly (exact date waiting to hear back from Philips).
Also are online store should be fully up with prices and all the products/services we stock.
One of the more satisfying aspects of running a showroom/store has been listening to your customer, understanding their daily lifestyle needs. This has been an eye-opener. As a designer, having undertaken ethnography, projects driven by user-centred design, to translate those practises in the context of the retail environment has been great.

One thing I have also noticed is a lot of people desiring for simplicity but expressing complexity. For example if a customer is interested in a simple mobile phone they can make calls, pick voicemail and text but then ask whether the phone is a 3G phone with bluetooth in it and has a mp3 player. That's quite ironic as it contradicts what they first said. On closer enquiry, I understand that this is what much of the current marketing around digital technology has been, and this is what people pick up. If you ask them how many pictures they take typically on a holiday, how many do they end up having time to really view etc, you get to see a very different consumption pattern than what's being advertised.

For me this geeky feature/tech posturing is best exemplifyed by the watch industry where watches can withstand surviving couple of miles under sea and still function, even though the diver might be long gone and not survive that level of sea-pressure.
I guess it must be helping our psychological well-being to know our watch can survive long after we are gone...If you are interested reading more about objects and material culture, I recommend Mihaly Csikszentmihaly's book on The Meaning of Things; Domestic Symbols and the Self.

Digital Wellbeing Showroom Launch

September 12, 2006 9:51 AM | Events | Comments (0)

We are slowing gearing up, its like lifting a giant circus tent up. Hope the weather stays good. There's also the Hulger- Bill Amberg event on today ( We are showcasing Hulger's beautiful customised phones) and other events. But hey, its end of summer and everyone is doing so many things, its great, we are really enjoying the London Design Festival. Looking forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces today at 7:00 pm at The Shop Bluebird today.

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