November 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Flowers/Gifts/Jewelry

(Page 3 of 3)

Organic Bouquet defines its retailing style as eco-elegance, but it also strives to engage the passions of its customers for sharing information on environmentally friendly products as well as on goods produced under fair-trade guidelines. Fair-trade is designed to provide fair compensation to farmers and artisans.

The retailer also produces online magazine Organic Style, with topics ranging from “green” cities to organic food recipes to eco-friendly ways to travel through Europe. The magazine also links to OrganicStyle.com, where Miranda is expanding his eco-friendly reach with merchandise lines in home furnishings, baby products and pet supplies.

Organic Bouquet will continue developing its product lines and building exposure through blogs and social networks including Gaia, MySpace and Facebook. “We’re aggressively ramping up our social media,” Miranda says. Back to top


The beauty of the geek
Not everyone can see the humor in an Annoy-a-tron that generates a pestering beep at random intervals or the draw of a Shrinter that prints documents directly to a shredder. But that’s okay with ThinkGeek.com. It’s not marketing to everyone. It’s marketing to geeks.

Finding a niche and sticking to it has helped ThinkGeek, a unit of SourceForge Inc., grow from an idea conjured up by self-professed nerds into a $33 million company in less than 10 years.

“We are our own target market,” says Jen Frazier co-founder and director of design. “We try to make plenty of geeky references to make customers think ‘Hey they are talking to me!’”

Consumers at ThinkGeek won’t find Flash or rich media, but they will find witty copy and concise product descriptions-no easy feat for a retailer that sells such items as the The Wi-Fi Detector T-Shirt.

Quirky is the theme at ThinkGeek. Shoppers don’t type a query in a search box-they ask the Robot Monkey for help. Instead of Contact Us, the information link says Bug Us.

“The presentation is rudimentary, but ThinkGeek understands its customers and gets them involved,” says Mara Devitt, a partner at retail consulting firm McMillan Doolittle LLP.

The retailer involves visitors with features like Customer Fortunes, bits of wisdom submitted by shoppers, such as, “Elvis is everywhere, man.” Consumers can refresh for a new fortune as often as they like.

Other community aspects include the Bounty Program, which lets shoppers submit ideas for T-shirts, and Action Shots, photos of customers using ThinkGeek products. The ThinkGeek blog features offbeat posts, such as one on geeky wedding rings.

ThinkGeek also generates buzz with its annual April Fool’s homepage, which showcases fake products. This year’s selection included Captain Buzz’s Spazztroids Cereal, with a healthy 180-milligram dose of caffeine per bowl.

While ThinkGeek is adamant about staying with its niche, it is trying out new product lines. It just added camping and car gadgets. And it plans to add a kids section soon.

After all, there’s a little geek in everyone-even the little ones. Back to top

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