Bringing our own brand to market

After 20 years of creating products for clients we got an itch to take it a little further. In January of 2016 we embarked on a journey of launching one of our own brands. We’d originally set out to create a value driven wifi speaker but part way through development, Amazon, who’d started taking the market by storm with Echo, opened up its Alexa software to third party manufacturers. We partnered with a software development company and set off to build the first third party Alexa speaker on the market....with a twist.

The Product

Great sound and multi-room connectivity were a must but we wanted to deliver more and decided to inject some personality into the brand by wrapping the speakers in different fabric patterns. We thought it was interesting that music, an important form of personal expression, was so often played through plain little black boxes. Inspired by the aesthetic and cutting edge production techniques of shoe design, we were able to come up with a speaker that stands out from the sea of black and grey.

We pride ourselves in helping our clients through the development process and bringing one of our own products from concept to reality put those capabilities to the test. In addition to shedding some light on the marketing and operations side of consumer products, bringing our own brand to market showed us the other side of the product development challenges our customers face on a day to day basis. This has (fostered) incredible growth within our organization and has ultimately allowed us to deliver a better, more well rounded service to our customers.

FABRIQ demanded attention from each of Shape's designers. We created the brand, app, website, packaging, product, sales materials, displays, trade-show booths and everything else that wears the FABRIQ badge.

Packaging

To launch, we designed two different versions of FABRIQ packaging. For Amazon, we designed a corrugated solution that could withstand being individually shipped while still delivering an (pleasant) unboxing experience for the consumer. Our retail packaging, which rolled out in 1800 Target stores, needed to stand out from the crowd while effectively communicating what makes FABRIQ so different from a typical Bluetooth speaker. Packaging communication is a vital component of a retail strategy, especially when introducing a product that many consumers are unfamiliar with.

Display

After FABRIQ’s launch on Amazon, we quickly began preparing for a nationwide rollout in Target stores. We worked within Target’s standards to design and manufacture a shelf display that would be responsible to introducing our products to hundreds of thousands of guests. Since our brand was only 6 months old we couldn’t rely on awareness and had to make sure that FABRIQ’s unique selling proposition was clearly communicated through the display. Retail displays can be an expensive venture so we designed them to be easily upgraded to accommodate for new product launches The joint effort between our sales, marketing, graphics and industrial design teams resulted in a 2 ft wide interactive acrylic display that is currently driving sales in 1000 Target stores.

Manufacturing

Strong manufacturing relationships in Asia and a constant flow of communication between our industrial design, software development, and overseas engineering teams allowed us to beat the clock and have FABRIQ become one of the first 3rd party Alexa speakers on the market. We pride ourselves in designing with manufacturability in mind and FABRIQ was a perfect example of this. With a set media launch day there was no option for delays which means no time to waste with tooling miscalculations or manufacturing errors. Fully resolved design files supported by extensive prototyping throughout the various design stages helped minimize costly tweaks further down the development process.

App Design

One of the added complexities with wifi speakers vs Bluetooth is that they must be connected to the internet without having a visual interface. Because of this, FABRIQ’s app became a crucial piece of the user experience. Teaming up our industrial and graphic designers and studying user interaction allowed us to create a simplified set up experience while staying true to the brand’s core values.

Website Design

FABRIQ’s website serves as the pillar of the brand’s representation while driving consumer education and acting as an important customer service tool. A balance of form and function, the website was born out of a close partnership between our marketing and graphics teams. Thorough data analysis paired with visual storytelling provide the foundation for the continuous improvements that aim to deliver a superior customer experience.