Why Customization Is the Future of Business and How to Profit From It
By Anthony Flynn & Emily Flynn Vencat
Customization is coming in every industry, for every product. Embrace it or get left behind.
Smart brands such as Chipotle, Zazzle, Nike, and Pandora have long ditched the myth that the only way to provide products and services is in a one-size-fits-all production line. From a Netflix movie night to a marriage courtesy of eHarmony, customization is changing every corner of American life and business.
Custom Nation is a practical how-to guide by someone who has built his business on the power of customization. YouBar founder Anthony Flynn and business journalist Emily Flynn Vencat explain how marketers, brand managers, and entrepreneurs across all industries can reinvigorate their businesses and increase profits. Drawing on firsthand interviews with the CEOs and founders of dozens of companies specializing in customization, Custom Nation reveals how customization can make any business stand apart and generate market share, increase profit margins, and develop customer loyalty.
In Custom Nation, learn:
Why customization is key to today's businesses-what does and doesn't work
How to incorporate customization in new and current businesses to make your products stand out and sell
What strategies work for the most successful and profitable custom brands
"A must-read for all entrepreneurs-and anyone else interested in the future of business."
- Frank Piller, Head of MIT's Smart Customization Group
"Flynn and Vencat have brought the future to you today. This book chronicles how humankind's drive for self expression has evolved and where it is heading."
- Bob Marino, CEO of CafePress
"Entrepreneurs are delivering unprecedented customer value by harnessing innovative business models to provide top quality custom products at affordable prices. Custom Nation takes a good look at the history of customization, who's doing it well, and where it is headed."
- Robert Keane, CEO and Founder of Vistaprint
"As CEO of a company whose products are driven by customization, I can confidently say that consumers want specialized, ownable products-and this book shows you how to build a loyal customer base and improve your bottom line."
- Jeffrey Housenbold, President and CEO of Shutterfly
"Custom Nation identifies a new space for an entrepreneur to create and grow a business, marrying the evolving technologies of customized production and distribution with the enabling power of internet communications to closely fit customer needs."
- Norman E. Toy, Columbia Business School
"A quick and entertaining read, Custom Nation captures the essence of how and why customization has become such a crucial part of the modern consumer experience. The book makes it easy for aspiring customizers to leverage this wealth of knowledge to build the successful CIY business of their dreams."
- Jeff Beaver, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Zazzle
"Customization is the buzzword in business these days and Custom Nation explains how to approach customizing effectively and make the most out of it."
- Jan-Christoph Goetze, CEO and Founder of PersonalNOVEL
Meet the Authors
Anthony Flynn After graduating from the University of Southern California with a business degree in 2006, Anthony Flynn founded YouBar, the world's first customized nutrition bar company, with his mother, Ava Bise. YouBar founder and CEO Flynn has grown the company to 7-digit annual sales, and employs 30 people in an 8,000 square foot facility in downtown Los Angeles.
Flynn frequently gives television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews about YouBar and food customization. He has appeared on Fox, ABC, The Cooking Channel, and KTLA. He has also given interviews for The New York Times, Women's Health, DailyCandy, the TODAY show, E! News, The Nutrition Business Journal, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio's Marketplace. Flynn regularly lectures on how customization is changing the food industry, and consults to companies launching customized food products. Among his numerous talks, he has been a guest speaker at USC, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. Flynn has added to YouBar's product lines. Now, in addition to custom nutrition bars, the company also sells custom trail mix, custom cereal, and custom protein shakes.
Emily Flynn Vencat After studying English literature at Columbia University in New York and at Oxford University in England, Emily Flynn Vencat moved to London in 2002, where she began her journalistic career at Newsweek. Vencat worked as a London-based Newsweek Correspondent for five years, where she covered major economic trends including the international housing market, the global luxury trade, and the effects of global warming and the green movement on big business. After taking over as Newsweek's London business correspondent in 2006, Vencat wrote more than 100 articles in two years, including five cover stories. As a business writer on staff at the Associated Press, Vencat wrote blow-by-blow coverage of the recent global economic meltdown, with her articles being picked up by newspapers around the world, including The International Herald Tribune and USA TODAY.
Vencat has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business world, including Virgin boss Richard Branson, Anglo-American CEO Cynthia Carroll, Celtel founder Mo Ibrahim, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and founding partner of the Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein. Vencat's pieces have been featured in Newsweek, the Columbia Journalism Review, and the International Herald Tribune. In addition, she has appeared on Fox News' Fox and Friends and National Public Radio's Here and Now. In addition to covering the world of business, Vencat has written extensively about terrorism and politics. In 2010, she interviewed outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in advance of the release of the movie about Plame's life, Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts. Vencat was also one of Newsweek's key on-scene reporters following the July 7, 2005 London bombings and their aftermath.