When you, the consumer, can design your own chocolate bar and have it handmade to order for you; and when besides you many (many) more people can do the same, then experts call this mass customization.
I was asking this question in a very early blog post (Mass Customization in the US): Is this just a German phenomenon, European, or is it applicable to the US?

Seems the Entrepreneur Magazine has an answer for me. In a recent article they called mass customization "one of the hottest startup trends". The magazine gives three examples of mass customization companies: ShirtsMyWay (men's dress shirts), Smart Furniture (customized shelves) and 1154 LILL Studio (customized handbags), and how they've gained popularity and are successful with their concepts. I love that Entrepreneur Magazine is aware of this trend. But I do wonder why they portrayed two companies in the article that were founded ten years ago. There are many examples of startups in mass customization, e.g. LaudiVidni for handbags, or Indochino on custom clothing (which was recently funded, and then featured in a chubbybrain article). If not those, take Zazzle, a customizer of many products, from mouse pad to coffee mug. Being a business school graduate, I like to believe that these startups wouldn't be starting without seeing increased demand for such customized products.

I really like that the article points out that the creation and design of the product is often a "creative experience" - and in fact I've found myself many times designing handbags that I cannot afford. Good thing chocri is affordable - and fun to make!

Finally, as another positive comment on mass customization, I want to share the following: At the MCPC (Mass Customization and Personalization Conference) last week, Bruce Kasanoff (an author who has written about the topic before) said "Personalization will be THE driver of the economy within the next 8 years!" (read more on Prof. Piller's blog) I don't know about "THE" driver, but I sure would like it to be - more power to the consumer (you)!


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