The Mint Blog
It begins with a knock at the door.
Or perhaps a telephone call, a letter, even a newspaper headline. There may be a body. There will certainly be something hidden and unexplained. A mystery, a secret, a problem to be solved.
There follows a process of observation and investigation — clues, facts, witnesses. Hypotheses will be proposed and interrogated, answers will prove false. Eventually — preferably in a dazzling dénouement — the facts will reveal an explanation that satisfies, a solution to the problem.
If, like me, you are a fan of detective stories, this structure will be familiar. But twist it just a little — we rarely have to deal with bodies — and I think it looks rather like the way we make products at Mint. The cycle of observe > test > analyse is at the heart of our approach to product development and is, in essence, detective work.
Of course, this approach is firmly rooted in the principles of Agile development: fast, iterative, user-focused. But the detective story parallel throws up some interesting corollaries when you consider the work of the Agile agency.
We’re waiting for that knock on the door; a client with a problem, a question. That problem will throw us into an unfamiliar world. There will be interviews and evidence to be collected. We’ll probably come up with a few red herrings before arriving, eventually, at what we believe is the ‘right’ product, the right solution for that problem. All for twenty five dollars a day plus expenses. Or thereabouts.
Our approach to product development is, in essence, detective work.
We have recently started attempting more of a regular schedule of content on the Mint blog. The idea is that every Friday one Mint posts some reflections on weekly happenings. Kaye, Noam and Shim took charge for the first three weeks of April, and now my own number is up...
The problem is, this past week I've been slightly oblivious to anything but the launch of The Bathory. Today marks 10 days of shipping fragrant concoctions around the world and, as expected, this whole running-a-business thing has been pretty full-on.
So, if you'll forgive a second post on The Bathory in as many weeks (here's the first), I'd like to share a couple of reflections from 10 days in business...
Imagine every customer is your mum.
We’re delighted to introduce The Bathory, for all your bespoke bathing needs...
The Bathory is Mint’s latest venture in mass-personalisation, fresh from our “anarchy incubator”. It’s also something of a paradox:
A digital product that encourages you to unplug. A cosmetics brand from a company better known for our decidedly digital ventures.
The site helps you invent a customised bath soak, to fit your mood perfectly. Our dedicated factory is uniquely set up to hand-blend your inventions in bespoke batches of one.
It has been a complex undertaking. As we quickly realised, the cosmetics industry just isn’t equipped to create products on demand - we needed to tackle manufacturing in a completely different way if we were going to offer customisation. After months of prototyping, wrestling with cosmetics legislation and testing hundreds of formulations, we’re really excited to see what people think.
Here’s how it works:
We like to think of it as “aromatherapy for people who are a bit dubious about aromatherapy”.