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Laundry

March 14, 2007

Le Blanc Linen Wash

 I was recently in Lambertville, New Jersey and was browsing one of the many upscale stores scattered between the various high-end antique stores that comprise this boutique area along the Delaware River. 

During times like this, I am inundated with expensive “stuff”.  Between the expensive vases, magnets, coffee, and cheese, I encountered something that caught my eye:  premium laundry detergent. 

Le Blanc Linen Wash is around $20 for 32 ounces and $31 for 64 ounces.  A heftier premium over normal detergent. 

http://www.linenwash.com/baby_wash.htm

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Vending Machines

March 12, 2007

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Say goodbye to Lay’s Potato Chips and month-old danishes, vending machines have fought to stay relevant and timely by offering premium goods. 

Moobella offers high quality, fresh ice cream from their machines.  Moobella, while gathering signficant earned media with its innovation, also received a 2006 Kitchen Innovations Award from the National Restaurant Association.    We settle for everyday items and services until someone like this comes around and revolutionizes a system.  I know, for my dollar, I’m buying from them next time I find one of their machines. 

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Premium Air Travel

March 7, 2007

Eclipse Aviation

Aviation has always had a premium aspect with the offerings of first class and business class travel.  But, the industry is changing and it has differentiated itself by going “cheap” (like Southwest) or “premium” (like EOS or personal aviation). 

Recently, Eclipse Aviation announced it had delivered its first Eclipse 500, the world’s first very light jet. 

EOS Airlines has established itself as the premier airliner for luxury travel between New York and London.  The EOS difference, according to the website, is “With only 48 guests on a plane built for 220, everything changes.”  EOS provides a fully flat bed, boasts of plenty of leg space, trumpets its efficient check-in procedures,  and offers a “gourmet” dining experience.  Fares vary according to date/time of flight, but a business contact of mine recently travelled on EOS and paid approximately $5000 for the roundtrip ticket.

Silverjet was recently covered in BusinessWeek as entering the business class market.  As BusinessWeek notes, Silverjet is “betting on design and service to stand apart from a crowded field” while using “premium seating”.  Silverjet is hoping to tap into a quasi-price conscience group of premium fliers by offering prices lower than EOS.   

It will be interesting to see where the demand is in all of this posturing in premium air travel.  In my opinion, the more luxurious an airline makes its service, the easier it can create a difference between itself and its competitors while reaching profitability faster through premium ticket prices. 

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Cereal

March 6, 2007

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Photo via Yelp

 Cereal was ripe for premium entrants.  Surrounded by standard fare like Cheerios, Kix, and the “adult” cereal Special K (which tastes like cardboard), it was only a matter of time before someone embraced a higher standard for the morning bowl. 

Standing in the way of premium cereal, however, was that competing for shelf-space in supermarkets against General Mills and Kellogs was a seemingly insurmountable task (due to expensive shelf fees).  Now, however, with the rise of coffee shops and premium supermarkets like Whole Foods and Wild Oats (who recently merged), availability is increasing.  Topped off with a hearty internet strategy, premium cereals are making inroads. 

One brand that started out in independent grocers and organic/all-natural stores is Kashi.   With ads on major network television stations, Kashi has definitely “made it”. 

Cereality has created a premium experience around mid-market cereals.  Celebrating childhood favorites, Cereality creates a childhood cornocopia of toppings and excesses surrounding your cereal bowl.  Combining fancy packaging (think chinese takeout box that is waterproof) with good-old toppings and ample cereal choice, Cereality takes their place in the world of creating a premium experience around a general commodity. 

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Snail Mail

March 4, 2007

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Remote Control Mail

Remote Control Mail takes a new turn on normal mail.  They receive your mail, scan it, and mail digital scans of each piece so you can view them online.  This is a new turn on an old service and their service allows you to save time and hassle.  I’m not sure about building a business on the back of a service that is slowly dying in the face of e-documents and email, but there’s probably a big enough market to make decent money. 

Original Source:  TechCrunch 

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Vuru Vitamins

January 13, 2007

Vuru Vitamins

 Vuru Vitamins takes premium health care one step further by providing daily and customized vitamins to your doorstep.  With beautiful packaging and a tailored service, this company fills a great “on demand” service that will help remind customers to take their vitamins. 

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Moleskine

January 10, 2007

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 Moleskines are not new.  In fact, they are really old.  Originally, Moleskine was a generic term to describe an oil-cloth covered notebook.  In the 1980’s, the Italian company Modo & Modo resurrected the Moleskine and has taken the world to life beyond the marble-covered $3 notebooks many of us grew up with.  This, in a sense, is retro-premium, where a company takes a product that has been diluted through cheaper ingredients and design and resurfaced its quality. 

You know that a regular commodity has risen to premium status when it has fan sites (see also here), YouTube videos, a 43 folders wiki.  Developing this fanbase doesn’t come overnight for a company selling $10-$20 notebooks, but when you mask quality with patience, the payoff and satisfaction is handsome. 

Update:  Church of the Customer reports that Moleskinerie, a fan site, has been acquired by the U.S. and Canadian distributer of Moleskines. 

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