LG Electronics Styler Project

LGE Headquarter Seoul South Korea

LG Electronics (LGE) Korea, consumer electronics & appliances, is a home appliance, cellular and television company. The Styler, a newer LGE product only distributed in Korea, has sold well for over a year now. The Styler is a clothes cabinet designed to refresh, deodorize, sterilize and dry clothes in a fast, easy and efficient manner. The product was premised to replace dry cleaning and provide an in-home convenient way of cleaning delicate garments. Priced close to $1,800, it is usually sold as a wedding or engagement gift in Korea. Couples or newlyweds are commonly known to put this appliance in the living room to resemble a high level of wealth to visitors.

We were chosen to help LGE Korea (LGE Headquarter) introduce this product to the US market by doing extensive research with American consumers, come up with a design strategy, and deliver industrial designs based on the conclusion. This would be the first time for LGE Korea to field test one of their major appliances in the US market. As a first time experience, LGE trusted us to pull through; therefore, this project was a great challenge for Phloy and a wonderful experience. LGE came to us because they knew we could help them create the right design for the US market.

phloy team home journey interview San Jose LGE styler

Combined with secondary researches, we conducted thorough ethnographic studies. We were able to recruit ten American participants within the target consumer segments. Half of the participants were from California and the other half were from New Jersey, which gave us a wide span of information.

customer ethnographic study NY NJ LGE styler phloy

 With these ten participants that we recruited, we were able to begin our “home journeys”. The home journeys consisted of installing the LGE appliance into the homes and conducting an in-depth interview made up of twelve parts. The beginning of the protocol was an introduction for the participant to tell us about who they were and to build a trust and comfort with us as researchers. We were simply an audience there to learn all about how the participant did laundry and how they cared for clothes. We used the latest cutting edge technology including several forms of photography (Canon, Nikon, iPhones, iTouch), an audio recorder, a video camera and transcription. During the trial process of the appliance, participants were able to try out their clothes to see how the appliance performed.

NY NJ ethnographic study LGE styler

Alongside our ten home journeys, we also conducted three in-depth ‘expert interviews’ to broaden our research purposes. One expert in California worked at Sears and had a considerable amount of experience with selling drying cabinets similar to the LGE Styler. The second expert was teaching at FIDM College in San Francisco, CA and had a vast amount of insight into sustainable fabrics and strong opinions regarding environmental friendly cleaning supplies. The last expert that we interviewed operated a New Jersey laundry mat for over 40 years. We were able to take an inside peek into how a laundry mat was run and what happens behind the scenes. This taught us all about what exactly goes into the dry cleaning process and how we could apply this to the improved LGE Styler.

NJ NY LGE styler expert interview laundry

After each home journey and expert interview, we composed detailed reports (google docs and PowerPoint format) that included photos, checklists, key insights and pain points (things to improve upon). These reports were created under high intensity deadlines that required efficiency and collaboration within our team. The reports were unique to fit each interview and provided LGE with useful evidence on how the Styler was performing within the US homes that we visited.

wrap up session LGE styler phloy

An ideation session was something that came after each set of five home journeys were completed. The ideation session was precisely an all day focus group that involved a full day of brainstorming. We invited each participant from the home journeys to join us along with experts owning a similar product to the Styler. The ideation sessions, one in California and one in New Jersey, had around seven to ten people involved. We asked the participants to come up with ideas of how they would redesign the Styler, based off of what they already knew. We had two people from our team sketching, as the participants described what they wanted the Styler to look like. Once all of the groups of participants came up with their creative ideas, we had a vote on the best creations and inventions.

LGE styler ideation session phloy San Jose

An ideation session was something that came after each set of five home journeys were completed. The ideation session was precisely an all day focus group that involved a full day of brainstorming. We invited each participant from the home journeys to join us along with experts owning a similar product to the Styler. The ideation sessions, one in California and one in New Jersey, had around seven to ten people involved. We asked the participants to come up with ideas of how they would redesign the Styler, based off of what they already knew. We had a number of designers from our team sketching, as the participants described what they wanted the Styler to look like. Once all of the groups of participants came up with their creative ideas, we had a vote on the best creations and inventions.The benefit of having ideation sessions was to get our minds working in order to design the perfect product for LGE, with all of the given research at hand.

 We began our project in April in California and we have recently delivered the final industrial designs. It was a long process, but we learned a tremendous amount of information from all of our participants and research. As an ending result, our team came up with a successful design strategy and compiled deliverables for LGE with new design approaches.