MULO Brands Built Around Personalization Street Fight

Just For You: MULO Brands Built Around Personalization

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The Bear Cave is a grown-up version of the kids’ multi-location (MULO) brand Build-a-Bear. Personalization or the concept of making something unique as a gift or for yourself is nothing new.

Most people like to think of themselves as unique beings with specialized tastes. Mainstream brands like Chipotle, Starbucks, and salad and ice cream franchises enable people to craft their own concoctions (and sometimes save them on their apps).

Among the MULO brands that are built around the concept of personalization are:

  • Swig: With 54 locations (and 250 more on the way), this brand enables people to make their own beverage flavors. Their menu includes “dirty sodas” (traditional soft drinks combined with other flavors) as well as Revivers and Refreshers. Thirsty guests can either select one of the pre-selected mixes or craft their own. Like many fast-casual restaurants, Swig has a loyalty app and a commitment to community philanthropy.
  • Custom Ink: Once an online-only operation, the brand now has storefronts. The exact number of stores was reported as 18 in 2020. Consumers, businesses, and non-profits alike can order logo-ed and personalized items including tee shirts, hats, bags, water bottles, and even unique items like auto tools and home gadgets. Whether someone is looking for party favors or company uniforms, they can channel their inner designer and select items that fit their theme and brand.
  • Rowan: In this case, the product that’s being personalized isn’t in a cup or carried as a tote. It’s the human ear! This brand (which we profiled in a prior article) gives consumers a wide range of options for what type of earrings they want and what part of their ears they might want to adorn. Their site and stores detail the eight locations available for piercing. So, if you have two ears, you could theoretically have 16 piercings and change up what you wear in each one. If that’s not personalization, what is?

We’ve also written about crafts businesses where guests can sip wine while they make their own paintings or join others for scrapbooking and holiday gift-making.

Many personalization companies operate exclusively online and sell products ranging from greeting cards to baby gifts to eyeglass frames to stickers to luxury items for corporate gifting.

So, whether consumers want one-of-a-kind leopard,  lemon fizz, lanyards, or lobes, they have lots of options today to create something that’s uniquely their own. As AI advances, we believe the possibilities for making one-of-a-kind creations will grow exponentially.

And, of course, we’ll have to take lots of selfies to show just how unique we (and are possessions) are!

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.