Merchant Innovation

Massdrop Group Commerce Startup Gets Users Involved

More startups are trying to claim a slice of the DIY pie than ever before, but instead of sending shoppers kits so they can put together their own meals, electronics and much more, one startup is taking ideas from its users for a different take on the DIY phenomenon.

TechCrunch reported that group commerce site Massdrop has started a new program called “Massdrop Collabs.” Steve El-Hage, CEO and cofounder of Massdrop, explained that his company has been working with a select group of users to identify subtle tweaks and fixes to common headphone design problems. After compiling 15 distinct elements that its curated users had selected, Massdrop and El-Hage took their crowdsourced design to electronics manufacturer Fostex to create the site’s newest product — the Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00.

“Everybody contributes a little piece,” El-Hage told TechCrunch. “We’re not allowing for individual components to be voted on; we’re taking all ideas and combining them into one big product suggestion.”

After raising $1 million in sales on the $399 headphones from 3,167 Massdrop users in under 48 hours, El-Hage was convinced that the concept of limited community DIY product design could work, regardless of the industry. Massdrop has since started working on plans to expand its Massdrop Collab program to men’s apparel and other industries as well.

Massdrop has dipped its toe into the waters of crowdsourced product design before, with a mechanical keyboard set as the result of its first, though less organized, attempt at taking the advice of its expert-level keyboard users. It repeated that process for the TH-X00 but not before preselecting the users that it trusted to share only the best tips — to produce only the best headphones.

However, that reliance on user input, albeit a small percentage of users, could end up being Massdrop’s Achilles’ heel as it expands into other areas. It may have enough audiophiles as users to design the perfect pair of headphones, but are enough grand couturiers checking Massdrop enough to help them design the perfect pair of pants?

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