How did you come up with the idea for Trymbl?
Trymbl was born out of personal frustration. As busy, health-conscious women, my co-founder (Arshiya Shaikh) and I found it time-consuming and tiresome to conduct online research and then have to go from store-to-store to find and test out the products we were interested in. Despite all the research, we would end up buying what our local store carried, which was in most cases a lesser product than what we had researched. With our background working at technology companies, we knew there had to be a way to leverage technology to achieve the goal of making shopping easier, more efficient and informed. We worked on designing and developing Trymbl in stealth mode for over a year, and Trymbl beta launched [almost three] months ago.
If you had to choose one word or phrase to describe Trymbl, what would it be?
“Try before you buy” or, alternatively, “Zappos of personal-care”
How do you define success for your enterprise?
We will consider ourselves successful when we positively impact the lives of millions of busy women by not only saving them time and money but also by introducing them to healthier products.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you founded Trymbl?
That coming up with the idea would actually be the easiest part of the journey. Like every entrepreneur, we are definitely learning along the way. This is our first venture and it would have been an advantage to be part of the entrepreneurial community before starting Trymbl. The power of “founders helping founders” is simply incredible in Silicon Valley, and groups like the Founders Network have made it easier for first-time entrepreneurs like us to be better prepared to deal with the roller coaster ride of starting and growing a business.
What is the one thing you never want to hear (or, most want to hear) from a customer/user/client?
We place a very high value on customer satisfaction and the one thing we want to hear the most is that we are a customer-centric company. We want every user to echo the sentiment that we care about them – that the entire user experience is positive and efficient, our products work for them, and we listen to what our members say.
What companies (other than your own) are you inspired by, and why?
1) Amazon.com – Revolutionized shopping, laying the foundation of e-commerce.
2) Diapers.com – A real solution for real moms & babies. A simple idea that has mastered one thing.
3) Zappos.com – Took the fear and challenge out of buying shoes online and single-handedly took an offline industry online in a meaningful way.
In what other verticals outside of beauty could you imagine the try-before-you-buy model being a success?
There are a number of verticals that are taking advantage of the try-before-you-buy model, including traditional software, most online software-as-a-service (SaaS) products, and now increasingly certain retail products (e.g., clothing, shoes). We believe the key lies in understanding how the value of a product changes once it has been tried. Large, single use products (e.g., wedding dresses) would likely not be good candidates for this model.
How can a company best implement this model and successfully see profitable conversion rates?
Every vertical has its own nuances and the model will need some adaptation for the vertical. For instance, Zappos offers free shipping to let people try a pair of shoes and if they don’t like it, just try another pair until you find the pair that works for you. However, free shipping alone won’t work in beauty, as the product once opened and tried is not resalable. For a company to be successful they have to understand the specifics of their vertical and design the solution to fit the needs. The most important thing to remember is to create a user experience that fulfills the experience desired by the customer, versus trying to change the customer’s behavior to meet the user experience.
How do you prevent “freebie hoarders” from taking advantage of the system?
The question about freebie hoarders is an interesting one. Our brand partners are concerned about freebie seekers and would always ask us how we could solve the problem. We spent a lot of time thinking about the solution and when we found it, we realized we had already built it in our relevance engine! “Freebie hoarder” is not a degree or title or a category; freebie hoarders are consumers like everyone else. To best serve our community, we need to match the right products to the right consumer, and minimize the possibility of wasted products. Our relevance engine customizes the experience for all members, including the so-called freebie seekers. The technical details of how the relevance engine works is our secret sauce, so we can’t divulge too much about the way the technology works.
What’s next for Trymbl?
Our vision is to make Trymbl the one-stop shop for beauty, baby and maternity products. We intend to create an ecosystem that brings together all elements that a consumer needs to make an informed buying decision, including reviews, videos, experts (dermatologists, estheticians, makeup artists, etc.), and bloggers. We have laid the foundation for this with what you currently see at Trymbl and have started progressing towards adding the pieces mentioned above. Some very interesting announcements will be coming soon!