How to start a (social) startup – CS183B – Part 4 — Target Market, Design and User Journey 

Photo by Travis Isaacs. Creative Commons

I watched lecture 3 and 4 last week of CS183B. Wow, the course is great. I feel so lucky to be able to take part. Adora Cheung’s lecture made me think about doing a user journey and some more target market research. I decided to do this instead of jumping into the business model canvas. The first box on the canvas is Customers Segments anyway.

Shifting the Target Market

I had a bit of a realisation about my idea to target single dads. While they are a growing part of the population, I’m guessing most don’t get custody of the child from day one after birth. Future baby targets parents of babies in their first couple years. So, if most single dads do not have custody in the first couple years, this might reduce the market size. Even so, there are about 2 million single dads in the USA (around 2–6% of households), about 40% have an income over $50,000. I haven’t found figures on single dads with kids under 2, but there are about 4 million babies born in the USA every year. If the same proportions apply, which is unlikely as we assume most mothers would have custody in the first 2 years even if the father becomes the main parent after, then we are looking at about 80,000 single dads with kids under 2. If 40% have income over $50,000, we are looking at 32,000 dads as our target market. As I think this is a big overestimation due to the babies need to be with the mother, even if we are left with 10,000 dads, they are likely in a tough situation and not thinking about social and environmental issues as a priority. The convenience of FutureBaby might be great, but it would probably be more expensive than other subscription baby clothes companies.

So, I have realised, through this basic research and some crude deductions, that my original target market is probably too small.

What do I do? Well, I think the only way this product/service is going to work is if I focus on mothers. Single or not, who are busy and not too concerned with the fashion of their babies.

How Important is Product Design?

Although, I had a just had a meeting with the leader of a designer fashion label here in Hungary. She suggested I make the baby clothes stylish, not completely bland. It can be minimal and unisex, but it can be beautifully designed too. This adds a whole aspect to the product and the production process though that I was hoping to skip. The real question is, how important is it to mothers that the clothes be designed by a cutting edge designer? Will the standard onesie baby cut work? Or do we need to add the element of beautiful design? I’m partial to beautiful design and would love it, but I also don’t want to veer off course from the purpose of the product. The purpose is to be simple, functional, and social and environmentally beneficial. To be beautiful is something extra. How much extra will it cost? How much will it slow down production? How much will mothers care? Will it lead to more sales and hence impact? The standard onesie cut is great, do we really need a beautiful and custom onesie cut for this target market?

I have been talking to mothers about the concept (I don’t know any single dads, maybe another sign to forget that target market). Some have said that they like shopping for kids clothes and picking stuff that looks good is important to them. Other mothers have said they don’t like shopping and something convenient, simple, functional and unisex would be great.

I need to refocus on mothers as the target users. But do I need to focus on single mothers? Or just busy mothers? Or do I focus on gift givers and not on the mothers at all? Should I position this as the ultimate baby shower or newborn gift and not focus on the mothers directly?

User Journey

Anyway, to the point. Here is what a user journey might look like, for a mother, starting on a computer (as opposed to on a tablet or mobile).

1. See Facebook post by a friend (either me or a friend of mine supporting me and the organisation) about organic and sustainable baby clothes by subscription.
2. Click on link.
3. Get asked by browser to launch iTunes (as link takes you to iTunes app store and the app page).
3. Arrive at app store page for FutureBaby App.
4. Read copy / view screenshots
5. Decide to click download.
6. Get prompted to enter your iTunes password. Enter your password.
7. If you have automatic downloads on, it will automatically appear on your iPhone/ipad. If you don’t, you will get a prompt from iTunes to turn it on. If you turn it on. It will download on cellular data if you select that option or download the next time you are at wifi. I don’t know yet what happens if you do not enable auto download as I have not synced up to wi-fi. Maybe you need to sync your phone with you itunes on your computer.
7. See app appear on phone, click on it.
8. App opens to welcome screen. Maybe an intro video.
9. Prompt for personal details : Name, Baby Name, Baby birthday, email, postal address, special notes about baby.
10. Go through to app homepage. Select subscription package. This is an in-app purchase.
11. Maybe iTunes prompts again to enter password (I’m not 100% on this).
12. Thank you and goodbye page. Tells you to relax as baby clothes is on the way and positive impact on society and environment in process.
13. Package with first batch of Baby clothes arrives in mail within one week. Delight point.
14. Customer takes photo and puts on instagram with hashag. #futurebaby
15. Customer gets a notification with a measure of social and environmental impact of clothes they bought and by all consumers/users/babies together. Metrics of the movement.
16. Package with second batch arrives one month later.
17. Customer gets a notification with a measure of social and environmental impact of clothes they bought and by all consumers/users/babies together. Metrics of the movement.
18. Package arrives with third batch. Process repeats for 24 months.
19. We’ll figure out the next step.

2 Replies to “How to start a (social) startup – CS183B – Part 4 — Target Market, Design and User Journey ”

  1. Hey Mickey,

    I’m just going to jump in and offer my unsolicited feedback as an interested follower and also a potential customer/user 😉

    The ‘style’ question is a hard one. Personally, I don’t care that much about who’s designed my baby’s clothes and agree that you could base the range about a fairly standard selection of items – onesies (long and short sleeved), long jump-suits, singlets, leggings/tights, t-shirts (long and short sleeved) and maybe a cardigan. Baby clothes get trashed – poo explosions, milk chuck-ups, and then the mess from starting solids + starting to crawl around. For my ‘core’ baby clothes (that you’d be looking to provide through the subscription model) I’d rather spend less money, and then purchase special higher value items on a one-off basis.

    But there would be need to be enough of a differentiation between your product and the cheap basics that I can get from places like Target to justify the price (beyond just the sustainability and the convenience of the subscription model). I’d be looking at the quality of the materials and the prints/designs. Again, nothing fancy, just classic, unisex prints. For example, I think Nature Baby ( do this really well.

    And that got me thinking…. perhaps another possible model is not necessarily to design/manufacture your own clothes, but instead to curate (like the Quarterly boxes) from existing like-minded baby clothing manufacturers?? Provided of course that you can find suppliers with processes/materials that reflect your desired values….

    Finally, a quick comment on the user journey… I do all of my online shopping via a computer. Despite having a smartphone on or near me for most hours of the day, I wouldn’t buy it if it *required* me to use an app.

    I *really* like the idea of the metrics about social and environmental impact though. And you could also do something about the ‘stories’ behind the clothing… actually showing the people who designed them, where they’re made etc. Lots of really cool opportunities here.

    Anyway, my baby is just waking up, so I’d better sign off… 🙂 Look forward to the next instalment!

    1. Hey Clare!

      Thank you so much again for you thoughts. Please feel free to keep them coming. I’m getting a lot of value from your perspective.

      I feel the same way about the ‘core’ items, I like thinking about it like that too. This service is to ensure you have the ‘core’ baby clothes you will always need. You don’t have to think about it, you just have it there because it comes every month. You can still shop and get nicer clothes for your kids but at least you know you have the basics and that you and your baby are part of a movement that’s making a difference.

      Nature baby looks awesome. I’m going to get in contact with them.

      I’m leaning more towards the curation model too, especially at the beginning. We should probably start as a subscription retailer and partner with wholesalers, with the aim of slowly buying back up the supply chain until we can own it all (and start gifting it back) and have the most impact.

      Great feedback about the user journey. Yes I think we would definitely have an option, even before an app was developed, to buy through a web browser rather than an app.

      Glad you like the metrics idea. That will be key. As we work closer with manufacturers we will be able to get more stories too.

      Thanks again! This is super.


Leave a Reply