From personalised gifts, to personalised service to personalised meals, we live in an spectacular era of personalisation. Nosto is an interesting startup that raised £2 million a couple years ago to open offices in London that is based on specialised e-Commerce, to personalise the online shopping experience.
I was searching online for a children's book for my cousin's daughter, who is turning three, when I found this London-based personalised children's book startup called Lost My Name.
Although there are many personalised children's books out there, such as the US-based I See Me! Inc. which was founded in 2000 by a couple who left their jobs at General Mills to start designing and publishing personalised children's books, I found that the quality of the writing and stories were far better in Lost My Name, although currently they only have two book offerings along with the much more preferable free international delivery.
In comparison, I See Me! (which was recently acquired by the McEvoy Group last year) has a much larger selection, with personalised hardback editions, insertion of children's own photos inside the books, in addition to having celebrity endorsements for their books; however, their graphics and story writing I found a bit too simplistic (set in duple metre rhymes) or just plainly inappropriate:
In addition, the delivery fee often doubled the actual cost of the book itself.
In the end, I decided to send the Lost My Name book to my cousin's daughter. I found the superb graphics, the writing and the story much more amenable to a growing, imaginative mind than the mindless princess tales and simplistic writing style of the I See Me! books. In fact, Katy Wright from Lost My Name writes in their blog that they are gender agnostic. This is in line with Virginia Woolf's writings in A Room of One's Own that she believes having an androgynous mind is far superior for development of creativity and intellect.
From a consumer point-of-view, I prefer the Lost My Name books, simply based on the content. Analysing Lost My Name from a business perspective, they do face some substantial competition from more established companies who are offering similar personalisation of children's books, but of course, it all depends on the content and potential development of an accompanying mobile application. With its hefty international delivery fees, I could see that I See Me! and other clone companies would have a harder time reaching audiences in Asia Pacific and India, whereas, Lost My Name, if the startup develops more titles, would be more adaptable towards the Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korean demographic, countries that are known for spending more capita per child on personalised educational products and services than its US counterpart.
I would like to see Lost My Name create a new era of personalised books that break old models of gender roles, and instigate creativity in both girls and boys through an androgynous voice, perhaps even stimulate the minds of girls to become entrepreneurs instead of princesses.
By Sierra Choi, Director of Marketing