One of the more interesting social media ideas that I’ve come across is for an eco-friendly clothing startup called nvokh. The twist is that the community members run the company and get to make all the decisions — from what the logo will look like to what designs will be sold on the t-shirts to what partnerships they will take on. For the privilege of doing this, members will pay $50 (a year) and have to do the work (e.g., submit their own designs, participate in voting, etc.) The company is geared toward the surf community, but also musicians, artists, designers and business people.
I’ve been waiting for the company to launch since January and it’s finally happening. Now that nvokh has secured “2650 future members from 20 countries” they are going to launch the company.
So, what’s gonna happen? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m very curious about what the conversion rate is going to be once prospects have to pony up the $50. If everyone converts, nvokh raises a quick $132k. Likely? No. I suspect that number will be a good deal smaller. However, compared to many social media start-ups who are struggling to figure out a viable business model, this one, at least, is going to generate some cash from the start. And, the cash will continue to flow in as more members join and then, subsequently, renew their memberships in year 2 and beyond.
Fortunately – if you’re feeling insecure about parting with your $50, you do get an immediate return – an nvokh t-shirt, member sticker and a plant-a-tree seed pack to start.
Once the products are available, members receive 35% of the net profits back in the form of rewards points, and 10% goes to environmental charities. Plus, members get discounts on the actual products.
There is a red flag (maybe tiny maybe not) – I’d like to know who, exactly, is running the company – without having to go digging for the information. They call it a “closely held private company” but no specific names are revealed, even in the terms or contact us page. Am I missing something? Hey nvokh! I suggest you fix that before you ask us for money. I’d like to know who you are and get some guarantee that you’re gonna stick around after you collect the membership fees. How about beefing up that about us page? Prominently displayed sponsor logos from a surf magazine called Transworld Surf and Robb Havassy, who’s a “surf artist” just don’t cut it in terms of establishing credibility. Why so secretive?
Anyway, will these small doubts prevent me from forking over my $50? Probably not — that’s a small price to satisfy my professional curiosity