The Inspiration: My friends needed new shoes.
The Event: I took my friends to a shoe store that had several brands and styles. After asking them questions about what they were looking for, I asked what they were planning to wear them for? What types of shoes do they already have? How much were they looking to spend? Where were they going to wear them? I came back with about six pairs of shoes for both of them and then worked from there. I used their feedback from what I brought them to steer my choices for what is next. We spent about an hour there as I brought them shoes and told them about the history of the different models and what sets them apart. After some deliberation, each of them left the store with two new pairs of sneakers. I loved the experience because I had a chance to use my knowledge of sneakers in a way that was actually useful. I got to tell a story of something I was passionate about in a way that made people care.
The Concept: After we got back to the apartment, the guys put on their new shoes and we went up to the roof. We had a few beers and started to think. What if I could turn that experience they just had into a service? We had a few more beers and things started to get interesting. We started to talk about how serving someone up something they are not familiar with can create value. This idea merged with how a sommelier brings not only different wines to their customers, but also their knowledge of wine and what wines work for different people. We laughed and came up with the name Shoemmelier. I even went so far as to buy the domain name. I mean only $10.00 for two years! I had to do it even if it was just a joke.
The Service: Right now, the service lives as this. You come to me and I help you through my questionnaire to determine the right pair of sneakers for you. I would then send you links to these shoes at the best price. I would also offer the possibility of in person service where I take a client to the store.
The Future: What this could expand to is a online service that helps people decide what sneakers are best for them. I want to create a algorithm that uses the information from the questions I ask to generate the sneaker selections. The key to this service is the combination of both expertise and personalization.