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Pandora is nothing new to most people, it’s been around for years, and it’s widely used.  While I am still somewhat unfamiliar with Spotify, it seems that Spotify has taken Pandora’s place for a lot of people, but Pandora is still worth talking about.  Pandora was one of the first websites of its kind, allowing people to listen to music for free with little to no restriction.  It created the market for music websites.

If anyone is unfamiliar with Pandora, it is a website where you can make radio stations based on your musical preferences.  You can add artists or songs that you like to the radio stations, and Pandora chooses and plays songs that are aesthetically similar to the ones that you’ve chosen.  You can give songs thumbs up or down, and Pandora will learn from that and change the station based on those responses, never again playing a song that you’ve given a thumb down to on that station.

Pandora is monetized through ads and through a freemium model, now, but its monetization strategy when it first began is unclear.  The revenue model is nothing unique, but I do think that the business is worth commending for being one of the first in the market.  It may not be as customizable as its competitors, such as Spotify, but it still has a huge customer base, largely thanks to it being first on the market.

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Modcloth is an online clothing retailer which offers unique, stylish clothing.  Their dresses are particularly popular, as is their model for choosing stock, which, while not entirely unique, is very effective.  Modcloth only stocks so many of each item, generally guessing on the lower end of how many they think people will buy.  Once they sell out of the product it remains on the website for a period of time as out of stock, but people can use their “I need it!” feature and tell them what size they want it in.  The company then restocks based on community feedback, and if the item that you said you wanted comes back they’ll send you an email to let you know.  This no only creates urgency to purchase items that one likes, but it also creates a high traffic through their website, as customers come back regularly to see if they’ve restocked items or gotten new ones in.

Perhaps the most commendable aspect of their business model is their returns and exchanges policy.  It’s incredibly easy to return or exchange an article of clothing, they pay for shipping and you can send it via whichever service is most convenient for you.  This is smart, and, in my opinion, companies that don’t have similar policies are throwing away money.  Very few people are willing to make online purchases of clothing that they haven’t tried on yet if they think that they’ll be stuck with it if they don’t like it or if it doesn’t fit.  Businesses may lose small amounts of money on shipping costs of returns and exchanges, but ultimately they’ll make more money total because people will be willing to make more purchases.

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Where American is Made.



Take a quick second to look at what Shinola does today!

Old to New

Originally founded in 1907, Shinola was recognized for their shoe polish.  Over the years, the brand had lost their name in the market.  Shinola loved the idea of tradition and industry, and they were ready to bring it back to America.  They made the decision that Detroit was the place to be, seeing that it held a reputation as a worldwide manufacturing hub and a true indus.  Furthermore, the newly rebranded Shinola decided to add the tagline “Where American is Made,” capitalizing on the beauty of industry and manufacturing.

Shinola wanted to focus on bringing back the manufacturing of products that occurs solely in the United States.  They focused on watches in particular because a watch made to scale hadn’t been done since the late 1960’s.  Shinola Detroit started to grow very quickly.  The company got the opportunity to build out their watch factory and headquarters, so they partnered with a Swiss movement manufacurer, Ronda, and began to receive a taste of the future.  Shinola had zero experience in watch making, but were trained by some veterans.  They currently are producing 500,000 watches a year and have grown over 230 people in staff.

More than Watches

The new and improved Shinola does a little bit more than just watches.  Along with watches, they also produce bicycles, journals, watch straps, leather, and also have a product line for pets!  Everything is produced under a custom-level assembly line by experts.

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The founder of this unique product is Richard Thorpe GoCycle is an internet business based out of the UK which sells bicycles, but with a twist. The bikes that GoCycle sells are electric. In the UK biking is a basic staple if you need to get somewhere effeciently because of traffic.  GoCycle helps the user bike without getting nearly as tired.


This product promises to take the user up to 20 miles on its electric capacity and only takes 3 hours to recharge. They boast a tagline of: automotive design, lightweight, electric bicycle. Currently there are no resellers in the US which means the only way to buy it is through their great website:


Because of the horrific exchange rate, for an American the E-bike will run about $2,500. GoCycle has a beautiful site that allows the viewer to check out each individual part of the bicycle with a 3-D type of feel. Overall I am extremely impressed by the GoCycle and look forward to seeing it in the US soon.

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During my Spring Break vacation in St. Augustine, Florida I met a man named Christopher Scalf; he is known as the Palm Weaver. His nicknames is from an art that he has spent over a decade and a half mastering. He originally was taught this skill in the Bahaamas and is continuing to create all types of creations entirely out of Palm tree leaves.

palm weaver 2

He sells these works of art on a beautiful street in downtown St. Augustine, the oldest town in North America. His signature creation, which also doubles as his favorite to create is the cricket. This unique design only costs the consumer $7.

The Palm Weaver also has a website, but it is definitely a work in progress at best. From my research I cannot find any type of E-commerce on his site even though when I talked to him he mentioned that he ships items through his website.

The Palm Weaver also has a website, but it is definitely a work in progress at best. From my research I cannot find any type of E-commerce on his site even though when I talked to him he mentioned that he ships items through his website.

Check out his website and let me know what you think:

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BandCamp is an online avenue that connects aspiring musicians with listeners and other musicians. It is similar to Soundcloud, but it allows the musician to sell his/her music. Their mission statement or tagline is “Discover amazing new music and directly support the artists who make it.

The way Bandcamp monotizes this business is by taking a very small percentage of the purchase of album/song in exchange for the ability to use Bandcamps proven platform. Since its inception, Bandcamp has given helped aspiring musicians to get over 101 million dollars.

The website: has an extremely easy to use search engine, which allows the process of connecting listener and artist to be smooth. This can be used as a foolproof beta test for any new artist. They have the opportunity to find out listeners interest and if there is no interest then they don’t pay any money. I personally have multiple friends who have and are currently utilizing the opportunity of new artist that Bandcamp offers.

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Soothe is a massage service that brings the massage professional to the customer.  It is widely recognized as the “Uber for massage” although the founder would be quick to disagree.  Soothe strictly uses trained professionals and brings the highest rated available to its customers.  They boast that their service is “As easy as ordering Groceries online”.  Soothe utilizes a mobile app to allow its customers to easily connect and set up a day of appointment.


A one-hour massage costs $99, a 90-minute massage costs $139, and a two-hour massage costs $169.  Currently Soothe is in six different cities; Los Angeles, Orange County, Sand Diego, Austin, Phoenix, and Miami and has over 1,000 massage therapists on staff.  Currently they have over 1.7 million dollars invested into their business and are interested to expand into other cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Washington D.C.


Personally I think the idea of providing to your doorstep massage service is a great one.  I just wish they would add Grove City College as their next primary city to expand.

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