Thanks, great points. I agree that Speedo, unlike North Face, has prior associations with competitive swimming and thus perhaps has a more difficult time converting than if it’d started with a blank slate. Perhaps one advantage it does have, however, is the broader brand awareness that North Face did not have outside the mountaineering community. Thus, it was relatively easy for Speedo to partner with community organizations such as the American Red Cross, for example, as it forayed into the recreational swimwear. You’re taking a trusted, known name and joining forces with an organization that most people know from their recreational swim / beach days. When Speedo started this partnership with American Red Cross, it aligned the two organizations’ missions to make swimming safe and fun, using a trusted swimwear brand with new, fashion-forward designs that appeal to the general. Like you, I’m intrigued to see how this develops in the next couple of years as Speedo builds out its non-competitive swimwear lines.
What an interesting company to choose. I’d looked at founder-owned tire company in the past and definitely agree with Tire Rack’s business and operating models. What I wonder, particularly with founder-owned businesses like this, is how sustainable the business model is and how much of the mission is standardized (vs. in the hands of the founder). In addition, I agree that customer reviews are critical in promoting the trust circle. One thing I had looked into in the past is whether you link a social media component to the review, as generally individuals trust their friends (or friends of friends) more than strangers. I would be curious to see how these two aspects have been integrated into Tire Rack’s model.
Thanks, Matt. Agree that this is the biggest challenge Speedo faces in expanding to a broader market. As a way to make it more accessible, they have started filming advertisements of their professional swimmers in leisure, fun swim prints. Speedo is definitely trying to bridge the gap between the two, but only time will tell how successful this recent change will be.
Thanks, Lauren. Totally agree, it’s also crazy how much longer these suits last now even for training purposes. Speedo’s Endurance+ fabric suits for training now last 20 times longer than conventional fabric, which is a huge plus in not having to deal with the fading colors and sagging fabric.
Thanks, Adam. Totally agree, that’s exactly what Speedo has also done in addition to expanding to the lifestyle swimwear. Speedo has expanded significantly into triathlon, covering everything from swimwear to footwear to packs; in fact, it’s triathlon TriClops pack won the Red Dot Product Design Award last year. However, a drawback I see in terms of expanding into non-water sports is the presence of dominant players with first-mover advantages in those sports.
Thanks, Heidi. It’s such a recent initiative but I’m also looking forward to seeing how they develop the lifestyle brand. They recently launched the Sculpture Shapeline swimwear, which is essentially the closest thing to a made-to-measure swimsuit currently available to consumers, and have also collaborated with designers for more fashion-forward swimwear designs.
Good question, Andrew. Actually, after the full-body suits were banned, Speedo went back to the Aqualab to develop its next suit (maximum knee-length, no arms, racer-back) based on the feedback it received from competitors using the banned suits. It increased its R&D efforts to find ways to create an “approved” suit while still learning from the benefits of the prior version. The main controversy around the full-body suits was that it devalued athleticism, as once you put on the corset-like suit you essentially became more streamlined and gained an effective six-pack abs. I think the core of Speedo’s business will still be surrounded by its technology advantage, with the lifestyle brand as a way to capture some of the growing market segment and making it more similar to how we view North Face jackets today.
Thanks, Andrea. Great points. In Speedo’s design and marketing strategy, the competitive swimwear brand is completely separate from the leisure swimwear brand in terms of R&D, marketing and advertisement. For the leisure swimwear line, Speedo has started to collaborate with designers to make it more fashion forward, a stark contrast from the shark-like suits for competitive swimming. It’s reason to broaden its scope really is to capture the growing market for leisure swimwear and making it more similar to how we view North Face jackets today. Given this is a recent development, I’m excited to see where this goes in the next couple of years.
What a great company to choose. Having lived in Washington DC the last couple of years, I remember seeing many of the MyEyeDr locations (even one that was a 5 minute walk from my place). This roll-up thesis makes complete sense, as you are able to add on a higher margin segment in retail sales to a relatively non-discretionary care that is a lower, but stable margin business. It sounds like the key to scaling this company is finding individual optometrists who are willing to partner. I assume that it would be difficult to take share from current competitors, so most of it would be greenfield. What are the main obstacles the Company finds in seeking out these independent optometrists and have they developed a standardized process in doing so? I would imagine the Company would want to be the first mover in seizing these up before conventional chains do. Also, it seems like the U.S. eye care market is rather fragmented, as independent optometrists make up 44% of market share and conventional chains are only 28% of market share. What is the remaining 28% share made up of?
What a great example. Cleveland Clinic is definitely the standard these days, not only in its vision but also execution. While I agree that the business and operating models align well, I wonder whether external forces such as the overall shift to managed care may lead Cleveland Clinic to change its strategy going forward. Does this alter the way doctors think about the “right amount of care” to provide or are they so mission-driven (like in the first day case with Dr. Shetty at Narayana) that they would put this reputation above other competing incentives? Also, I was surprised to read that the doctors (who probably are the key to this human capital intensive model) are on one-year contracts. While I agree that this provides Cleveland Clinic the flexibility to immediately make changes should a doctor not perform to standard, I wonder how this impacts the turnover at the Clinic. For a place that consistently has high performance, I’d imagine that average doctor tenure is high, which then leads to questions on succession and sustainability when the current group of doctors retire.
What an interesting company. As someone who has done a bit in the drop-out recovery education space, I find this model quite fascinating as you are right, it does present a win-win-win scenario. My only concerns in this, stemming from past experience, are the attrition rate, up-sell / cross-sell potential, and quantifying some of the objectives. For attrition, I would imagine that even if students have a good experience, at some point, they will become proficient enough that they no longer need a tutor. In a sense, achieving the goal of the program leads to the Company needing to find more students. I’ve found in the past that it has been hard to keep on getting new students from greenfield opportunities and thus, a lot of the recurring revenue stems from the ability to up-sell and cross-sell. It would be interesting to see if this is already part of Wyzant’s model, as I imagine scaling while having a certain amount of attrition due to its success is difficult. Also, do you know if the objectives that align the Company’s business and operating model are quantifiable? While improvement is the key, I often found in the past that when we were setting targets without a definitive benchmark (or sliding scale benchmark per segment of student) it was hard to achieve overall growth and satisfaction.