The lack of holistic manufacturing capacity has led to a lack of attractive and cost-effective products in the market. Therefore, there is an urgent need for an agency like S.Point to bring design and supply chain together to create innovative solutions in manufacturing. “After spending 20 years on design consulting, we started to develop our own brand, 7, being an entrepreneur again,” said by Zhou Yi, founder of S.Point and brand 7.
"7" was inspired from “7 days a week” with the quality and style of products centered around the luxurious lifestyles of the urban youth. The current focus is on coffee and tea products with the view to expand in near future. After spending 20 years serving a broad range of clients, Zhou realized that there are emerging forces along the value chain, and it is the time for S.Point to bring them together to actualize product value.
The Story of Design Consulting
20 years ago, the S.Point office was a factory where Zhou Yi established his design studio after graduating from Tongji university. The company quickly became the design service provider for Siemens, helping them to launch their products in the Chinese market. S.Point soon became well-known and, for quite some time, it was the only design consulting firm providing its services to top international brands.
When "design thinking" began to gain popularity, S.Point extended its arm to begin offering product innovation consulting, covering industries of all kinds. In recent years, S.Point also tapped into automobile and medical services.
In 20 years of development, S.Point continued to remain at the top of the industry, helping clients reap substantial financial rewards. The company has been rated as "National Industrial Design Center" by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for seven consecutive years. Its work has won many prestigious design awards which include Red Dot, IF, G-Mark, and IDEA and its founder, Zhou, has been invited to be the judge of the IF Design Award, often known as “The Oscars of Oriental Design”.
Why are good products missing from the market?
When offering consulting services to clients, S.Point always ponders: “Why good products with good prices are always missing from marketing?” It was found that it was the inertia in along the value chain.
In China, the manufacturing capacity is singular that manufacturers focus on simplest "order-taking" without any motivation to learn the trends and develop better products. Moreover, manufacturers try not to invest in R&D and end up compromising the best solution for convenience.
When consumption power increases, manufacturers are reluctant to compromise for any product solutions. There is a call for a company like S.Point who understands both design as well as the supply chain.
What product to develop?
Stepping out of the comfort zone, the first question to Zhou is “What to produce?". To be successful in the market, the answer is not "the product that meets user needs", but the product that taps into consumers’ untold needs. Otherwise the product will be entering an area that the mainstream players are already taking advantage of at low cost.
Look out, look in. The products that we are capable of creating are competitive in the market. In 2016, before Luckin coffee entered the market, S.Point already noticed the opportunity in the coffee market and started its own way of product innovation.
The first product of "7" is 7 Moka Coffee Maker, a coffee machine that allows the user to easily make a variety of drinks including latte, cappuccino and mocha. Its inspiration comes from Italian Moka pot whereby the entire coffee-making process was automated. A high-quality coffee at low price can be made with a simple touch of a button.
The product is not made to compete with famous coffee chains such as Starbucks or Luckin coffee. Instead, it hopes to provide the users with the comfortable feeling of making coffee with enjoyment right inside their own homes. Although there are big brands in the home coffee machine market, their focus is only on Espresso coffee which does not adequately fit the needs of Chinese consumers.
The market appears to be niche, yet it is the perfect white space for a startup to begin. In addition, S.Point is in a unique position where it’s able to leverage its own design power to meet the high aesthetic standards of the consumers.
Insist, insist and insist
There were skeptics about the product’s potential as they believed 7 to be too niche with a small market. However, as the coffee market in China has emerged recently with increasing consumption power, it is too early to conclude whether there will or will not be a high demand for a niche product of high quality.
Since the launch of the product, it became the best selling product on Yitiao, the number one lifestyle media platform in China. Along with 7 Moka Coffee Maker, the 7 Urban Tumbler became the top selling product on the same platform, and the special edition quickly ran out of stock.
With over 20 years of experience working for prestigious clients, S.Point is now in the process of developing its own product brand. The two directions of the business complement each other perfectly and contribute to the growth of the business as a whole. S.Point’s goal towards becoming an exceptional boutique design firm is getting closer every day.