Chimera Co-op: A Membership Solution


Design MBA, California College of the Arts: Chimera Co-op ðŸ‘©ðŸ»â€ðŸŽ¨





Overview


California College of the Arts was founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer to provide an education for artists and designers that would integrate both theory and practice. Currently it does not have a student store and carries limited branded CCA merchandise in the art supplies store near campus, Arch Art and Supplies. We envisioned a student store that carries student-made goods as well as custom CCA merch. 

Goal

Understand and analyze the artists and customers at CCA. Design, test, and build a pop-up that sells student work and custom designed CCA merchandise. 

Outcome

A successful co-op business model design and pop-up experience with:

  • $510 in actual sales within a two week time period 
  • $310 in net sales after expenses, Arch, and artist cut 
  • One year projection amounting to over $10,000 in net sales

ROLE

Business and Experience Designer + Video Producer


METHODS

Scrum, challenge statement, in-depth interviews, customer journey mapping, value proposition, prototyping, cost analysis, information and visual design, presentation design, video production, pop-up design


TOOLS

Canva, XD, Illustrator, Zoom, Miro, Notion, Premiere 



TIMELINE

Jan. 2023 - May 2023 (3 Months)




Concept video for Chimera Co-op



Research


This was a semester-long project on a team of four. The final deliverable is an innovative business model and pop-up. We started by gathering insights through in-depth interviews, a survey, understanding the market and competitors, and filling out a business model canvas.

Insights


Core insights included:

  1. Students prefer a community-based, student-led organization
  2. Students prefer co-op employment to be independent of CCA
  3. Key partner should be Arch Art and Supply 
  4. CCA Marketing and Communications Department granted permission for students to use the name “California College of the Arts” void of official CCA branding





CCA student store initial busines model ideation 



Ideation


Based on insights we recruited several student-artists and facilitated a focus group using storyboards to guide participants through the membership journey and cost structure.


Journey map focus group


Concept




Entice

Participants notice signage for Chimera Co-op.

Enter

Participants browse around and admire beautifully crafted and designed student work.


Engage

Participant picks up a ceramic mug created by a CCA student.


Exit

Participant  signs up for a membership and makes their first purchase at Chimera Co-op.


Extend

Participant follows the CCA student artist so they can continue supporting their community.





Chimera-coop page mockup



Images from final pop-up at Arch Art and Supplies



Key Learnings


“Is this the best model for profit and growth?” 

- Jennifer Lo, Strategy, Innovation and Design Futures, IDEO

With community at the forefront of this busisness model design, it is not the ideal model for profitability. However, it meets the criteria for a student-led organization and still has the potential to break even while building awareness in the community, giving art students real-world business experience, and providing increased foot traffic for Arch. 

Testing and validating are the keys to any business model design.

The pop-up was actually a test to validate a hypothesis: Students want to participate in creating and buying student-made goods and custom CCA branded merchandise. By validating this claim with hard data, next steps for this proejct would be to iterate and build out the business model with key partners and stakeholders.