Lux2 Phenomenon


I am in New York this week and had an epiphany, one that has been marinating under the surface for a while, but became clear after a day of experiencing what I am going to call, Lux2.

While visiting a client I was introduced to a brilliant young woman who hails from the social media marketing world, who left to create a start-up-Juliette. The name of the company is Juliette. And, it does your laundry.

Juliette Laundry picks up your laundry after you use the Juliette app to indicate that you want it picked up. The app and service can be had by invitation only; you can ask to be invited and once approved, you are in. Applying for membership to a laundry club? "Ridiculous," I hear you say. I say, "brilliant."

Juliette's branding is simple and clean and lovely. The bag you receive is a luxury item, black with your name embossed on the attached card. She has tee shirts that celebrate dirt. I want one. She launched the service first in the Murray Hill section of New York, where young people move when they graduate from high-end colleges and take those 18-hour a day jobs that don't leave a lot of time for reading People magazine while your clothes slosh through the third rinse cycle. They pay well, and having your laundry done the way the laundress does it on Central Park West is a no brainer.

And it's affordable. Maybe not for the average bear in Oregon, but by the pound affordable for a New Yorker. Twenty pounds is $30. The laundry is personally sorted. Some things are hand-washed and hand-dried, and cashmere sweaters never have to go to the dry cleaners again. In fact, the the founder, Rechelle Balanzat, actually convinced me she lives for laundry. Loves doing it right.

But more important, this is part of a trend I see washing over us like the fog in the second Hunger Games series. People are buying products and using services through social media and APPs that take a few extra minutes but provide a luxury experience around things that used to only be for the rich and famous.

An app for your laundry. Luxury lifestyles of the rich and famous for those not yet rich and famous. A niche product or service of one item, executed flawlessly. Lux2 Phenomenon.

Later in the day, I went to my daughter's apartment for dinner. She works 18 hours a day at one of the top law firms in New York. She's really smart and really busy. "Come to my apartment, Mom. We're going to have a home-cooked meal." I was, and still am, touched by her thoughtfulness. So busy, and yet wanting to feed me.

I arrived at 8:15. Her doorbell rang a few minutes later and a lovely woman entered and headed into the kitchen with a large bag. Fifteen minutes later, we sat down and were served lentil soup, chicken kebabs, and wild rice with Brussels sprouts. There was enough for four people, although she had told them it was for two. The name of the service is KitchenSurfing, and the first time you use it, it's $25 for two all-in. After that, it's $25 per person-much less than going out, and much nicer. Fabulous food, well seasoned, made with high-quality ingredients. And, all you have to do is clean up your dishes.

Luxury lifestyles of the rich and famous for those not yet rich and famous. A niche product or service of one item, executed flawlessly. Lux2 Phenomenon.

Another client is launching yet another one-off product in the same vein: an off-the-shelf high end hair color product - for men - that has never had that middle ground option. Either you purchase it in the drug store or, if you in the luxury market, you go to a salon and pay premium. His product has a stunning design, and will be ordered online in a way that has it at your door every three weeks.

Luxury lifestyles of the rich and famous for those not yet rich and famous. A niche product or service of one item, executed flawlessly. Lux2 Phenomenon.

This new world allows us all to easily access and purchase services and products that make our lives richer in the way we experience things. The experience is 5th Avenue for those who live on Third Avenue. These businesses can only make it because social media allows them to take off without a start-up cost that would make them unprofitable.

It's a mega trend. It's the reason malls are dying. It's the reason Neflix is what it is. We want the best. In each and every thing in our lives. We will go to one place to buy olive oil and another to get fresh produce. We don't mind taking a moment to order it, especially when it's no more than a smartphone click away. And those who recognize this new wave will win big. Not billionaire big necessarily ... but hey, millionaire big is still worth it. Especially because if you love doing laundry, and you are smart enough to realize you can make a business out of it, you have loyal consumers waiting to be approved to use your APP.

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