After a four-month soft launch of its beta version, JUJU, an art-mash messaging app, is poised for a national launch. The timing is terrific for several reasons. First, product sales are soaring with a social media soft launch, which means a national launch should have a tremendous draw. Secondly, Version 1.2 will create a JUJU community which, like Facebook and Instagram, will invite customers to create profiles, share work and ideas—building brand identity and demand.
Finally, art mashup is gaining worldwide attention and artistic credibility.
Musical mashups—the blending of two or more songs—have been popular since the late 1990s. Art mashups—the combining of images and, in some cases, text—are a rising art form. Art mashups even drew the attention of the Huffington Post, that published a cutting edge collection of classical art and hip-hop song lyrics on June 23 of this year.
With sales on the rise and a national launch planned for later this fall, the Bend-based start-up company is pushing the next phase in their Kickstarter funding effort, which continues through December 6 of this year www.sharethejuju.com.
Julia Junkin, the Bend businesswoman who conceived JuJu’s concept said, “We’re on a good trajectory and we haven’t even introduced our big feature yet.”
JUJU is offered for free on iTunes, with a catalog of digital art that users can mix and match. For 99 cents each you can purchase additional art packs. With a portion of the proceeds going to the artists, the art library from 40+ artists is growing, giving customers plenty of images to choose from.“We work with tons of artists,” Julia said. “We’re acquiring new, high-visibility artists all the time.”
To make a mashup, customers combine images, add text if they choose, and create something new. Even if you don’t think you’re creative, you can make a visual message through texting, email, designing unique wallpaper, greeting cards, or digital and/or physical postcards. If you choose a postcard, JUJU will send it to the recipients of your choice for you.
The opportunities for creative expression can be as serious, silly or sentimental as you are. The app is sophisticated enough to entertain adults, yet simple enough to use that parents can involve their kids. This broad market appeal has been part of JUJU’s success to date.
Jacqueline Smith, JuJu’s marketing director, explains that JUJU’s soft launch has helped to introduce the app regionally, while gathering customer feedback and letting the Bend start-up work out the kinks prior to a national launch. Using only word-of-mouth and social media marketing, the product has performed phenomenally.
JUJU has several thousand users thus far and, better yet, is making money. The purchase rate of JUJU’s art extensions are at a phenomenal 43 percent. “A good in app rate is 5 percxent,” Julia explains.
In the ‘Entertainment’ category of iTunes apps, JUJU was standing at number 75 out of 92,000 apps, as of late October.
JUJU’s next big step will be to create its own community, inviting users to create JUJU profiles, publicly share their work, exchange ideas, and seek inspiration from other JUJU users.
Even more exciting, JUJU is adding ‘influencers’ to this community and their library of artistic contributors—people from industries outside of the traditional art world who might inspire. Fashion art bloggers and musicians, for example could offer a wider, visual view of what is happening in our culture. If these ‘influencers’ curate their own art packs for JUJU, you could possibly purchase artwork from your favorite writer, actress, or sports figure.
“The wild thing about tech,” Jacqueline said, “is that it’s constantly and quickly changing. The possibilities are endless.”
“We’re doing good work now,” Julia said,” but we’re nowhere near attaining our long term vision.” Meaning, JUJU can and will change with the times, adding features in response to cultural trends and customer feedback. JUJU’s national launch, later this fall, should increase their customer base, brand recognition, and reach—with promising results.
Location:/Website: www.SHAREtheJUJU.com, 541-639-7728
CEO: Julia Junkin,
No. Employees: 7
Year Established: 2013
Product/Service: Design messaging app
Hot News: In the ‘Entertainment’ category of iTunes apps, JUJU was standing at number 75 out of 92,000 apps, as of late October 2014
Outlook for Growth: JUJU can and will change with the times, adding features in response to cultural trends and customer feedback. JUJU’s national launch should increase their customer base, brand recognition, and reach—with promising results.