Mohop shoes

This is a really neat concept of using one wood and rubber shoe base and an innovative patent-pending straping system to “create” a virtually unlimited number of sandals.  In fact, the mohop website states that their shoe has been dubbed the “infinity sandal.”  Aside from potentially saving the custumer money by eliminating the need to have multiple pairs of shoes, mohop shoes also save valuable closet space, and are environmentally friendly because they use recycled tire rubber for soles.

The process:
You are presented with two choices to begin: wedge or bent ply, then taken to choose the heel height: low, mid, or high.  If you chose bent ply in step one, you also have some choices for toe and back shape: point, square, or round. Overall, there are 9 different bases from which to choose.  For a nice touch, each shoe sole is hand screen-printed.  Once you have your base picked out, the only step left is to choose your ribbon set.  There are eight choices and each comes with 5 ribbons.  You can also purchase ribbons separately from their catalog or supply your own. Each selection is added to your cart and in about four weeks your creativity is the limit in how you wear the shoes.

The interface:
The website is nice and clean, with no ads to distract from the shopping experience.  However, right off the bat it’s unclear whether or not you can purchase the shoes on the website because the store is located under “collection” tab instead of “shop” or “store”.  The selection process itself is very simple although it would be nice to be able to see a picture of what the ribbon collections look like without having to navigate away from the order page.  In addition, adding an item to a cart does not take you there, instead you need to click on the shopping cart link at the top of the page to see the contents and check out.  It would also be nice to see a visual presentation of the final order on a confirmation page before checking out instead of a text description.  You do have 30 days to return unworn shoes for a full refund and a full year to take advantage of the free repair policy.  Unfortunately, it seems they cannot resole the shoe if you wear down to the wood. Another nice touch to the website is that they do have a gallery of possible ways to wear the shoes.

Paragon Lake

Paragon Lake is a jewelry manufacturer that partners with independent jewelers and designers to deliver custom rings, earrings, and pendants to consumers.  They work only with gold, platinum and palladium, and while you can re-use a center stone from an existing piece, they do not allow recycled metal.  Right now the process includes going to a Paragon Lake retail partner, sketching the perfect item with the help of  jeweler and then returning some time later to review and approve the piece.  Aiming to make the process even easier, Paragon Lake is working on online software that will present jewelers with 3D modeling capabilities eliminating sketching and allowing real-time preview.  In July, the company raised $5.8 million in series A funding from Highland Capital Partners and Canaan Partners.

indi Denim

indi Denim allows both men and women to design their own custom pair of jeans. Once you place an order, your settings are saved in the system allowing you to easily place a “re-order”. I put re-order in quotation marks because while you can literally re-order an item, you can also tweak your settings to simply order a brand new custom item.

The process:
You start by choosing one out of three possible styles. Note that the options available to you after this point vary depending on which style you chose. For example, at first I picked the Presidio Trouser which then presented me with three fabric choices. The SoMa and Noe styles however, each have seven options for fabric. Once you’re past choosing your fabric you get a plethora of free styling choices such as rise, fly, leg & hem style, back pocket shape & decoration, and hand sanding.  In addition, for an extra $5 each, you can add such details as creases on the front and back of the legs, whiskering (I’ve never even heard that term before, I suppose that it creates slightly bleached crease marks on the upper front thighs), and tacking on back hems.  And for an extra $10 you can “brand” the jeans by placing up to three initials on the back right pocket.  Note that not all of these are available on the Presidio Trouser and the creasing option is actually free for that style.

Once you’ve customized the jeans to your liking, indi Denim prompts you to answer some measurement questions.  While majority are the fairly standard height, weight, waist and inseam length, there are a few questions that seem a bit off the cuff.  I’m not entirely sure why someone needs to know my bra cup size to figure out what size to make my jeans or the shoe size for men’s jeans…  A few more questions follow asking about your tummy, waist and thigh shape, and how well pants usually fit in those areas.  Clicking next takes you to the review page at which point you must log in to add your order to cart.  The website does a quick check to make sure that it is possible to make a jean with all the custom options chosen and you’re all set to go.

The Interface:
The website is nice and clean with no ads or other clutter distracting the shopper from the customization process.  Choices are all presented as radio lists accompanied by a photo example of the option.  There are a couple of points where using AJAX or some other technology could eliminate extra clicks for the shopper.  For example when you choose a jean style it takes you to a new page describing the option and you must click “chose this style” or “back” to chose a different one.  AJAX could also solve the problem of showing options which are or are not available based on previously selected options.  My only other complaint is that you cannot preview the final product.  Preview page is just a list of selections and I think it’d be great to see a visual representation of what your jeans will actually look like.  On the plus side, if the jeans don’t fit correctly, they can be returned for a full refund.