The Betterific Blog

Connecting consumers with brands to crowdsource and innovate on product ideas.

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Solomon Choi and the 16 Handles Meet-up

Betterific is all about entrepreneurship and innovation, and last night’s meet-up at the 16 Handles frozen yogurt shop in SoHo, New York encapsulated those qualities perfectly. In a party space behind the hustle and bustle of the store, 16 Handles CEO Solomon Choi hosted a riveting roundtable-like discussion about his story and the importance of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Coming on the heels of the 16 Handles Betterific campaign, which generated numerous concepts and suggestions, it was also a great opportunity for Betterific users to meet face-to-face in the first of hopefully many more events, and obviously great ideas were discussed and exchanged.


Choi’s story begins as a child in southern California. Inspired by both the plethora of ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins and the small, mom-and-pop-shop froyo stop that he worked at for a while, Choi mustered up the confidence to attract investors (his family and friends) and make the bold move to New York to start what would become a successful enterprise. After ceaselessly searching for a possible retail location, Choi opened his first shop in New York’s East Village, an area of the city with a high college student population, and within a few blocks of numerous competitors. Going up against such big names as Red Mango and Pinkberry, Choi developed his business with a level of determination and entrepreneurial spirit that has lead him to success; with dozens of stores around the Northeast and hundreds more opening around the world in years to come, 16 Handles has truly grown to become a very prosperous venture.

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The event, co-sponsored by Betterific, is part of a new emphasis on bringing together Betterific users and entrepreneurs to allow for innovation and growth. Part of the meet-up last night entailed the exchange and discussion of ideas, ranging from visual designs from Betterific’s own Tova Silverman to the suggestion to include cup dividers, allowing consumers to separate their froyo flavors (an idea currently in development), and from 16 Handles merchandise to Choco Taco like options. It also gave Solomon an opportunity to test some of his own innovative ideas, such as the inclusion of real fruit smoothies to the 16 Handles menu. Another idea came in the form of an all-natural fruit based “butter,” in apple or pumpkin flavors, to be used as toppings for autumnal flavors. All in all, it was a great night for both Betterific and 16 Handles. Many thanks to 16 Handles and Solomon Choi for hosting the event, and to Lara Nictora who coordinated the Betterific campaign and the event. To the people who attended, thank you for coming and we hope you enjoyed it, it was a great night and we look forward to many more!

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16 Handles Betterific Challenge – Winners Announced!

Um, that looks delicious...  (Image by Justine on the blog Hoboken Girl)

Um, that looks delicious… (Image by Justine on the blog Hoboken Girl)

Betterific has had a busy April, running both the 16 Handles and Coke/McDonald’s Challenges, not to mention the current Washington Nationals campaign that has been running since April 25th and will end on May 5th, 2014 at 3pm (there’s still time to give the Nats your best ideas)! Needless to say, the Betterific team really enjoyed working with 16 Handles on their customer experience campaign. We had a great time talking with their team during the set-up of the campaign and we are excited to help such a young and inspiring new company, headed by their amazing CEO Solomon Choi. We also hope to follow-up with 16 Handles several weeks from now to do a case study on their campaign, find out what worked for them and what didn’t and to come up with a better idea of best practices to implement when companies crowdsource for product development and marketing. While we always enjoy the process of seeing what ideas come about when people start brainstorming for companies, coming up with new and creative ways for making the frozen yogurt experience better was certainly a lot of fun and it’s a good thing frozen yogurt is healthy because there were definitely some serious cravings happening as a result of intense fro-yo idea generation.

Now, back to the winners! The campaign ran from April 8th to April 18th during which time Betterific members were able to post their ideas on the site for how to make the 16 Handles customer experience better.  111 ideas were submitted with the top themes identified in creative marketing, special events, community involvement, new products and fro-yo accessories. The grand prize winner would receive free frozen yogurt for a year and 5 runner-up winners would each receive a $25 16 Handles gift card. In addition, all winners were to be given the chance to meet face-to-face with CEO Solomon Choi to discuss their ideas and their passion for frozen yogurt.

Our grand prize winner was Sara Levin and our 5 runner-up winners were Luke Bornheimer, Tovah Silbermann, Ashley Smith, Ari Polsky, and Diane Lipson. Below are a few of our favorite ideas posted by the winners. (Please note that these ideas are not necessarily the ideas that were selected by 16 Handles for implementation.)

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles sold reusable plastic cups that you could buy then reuse at the store and get a discount.

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had a blending machine that allowed customers to blend their yogurt and toppings into a Blizzard-type concoction?

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had suggested recipe guides by the fro-yo counter (Example: S'mores Ice Cream Cup -Graham Cracker Yogurt, topped with hot fudge and marshmallows).

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had a froyo sandwich (ice cream sandwich) station

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had a starbucks style membership system/gold card.

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles sold thin pieces of chocolate that could serve as cup dividers so your flavors don't mix together?

Ok, we’re going to get some fro-yo… Happy innovating!

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Betterific’s top ten weekly ideas – Listen up Whole Foods, Foursquare, Kickstarter, and UPS!

So many things have been happening in the Betterific world these last few weeks and we’ve been desperately trying to keep up with the whirlwind of activity. We are happy to report that we have a lot of campaigns with fantastic brands in the pipeline and we’ve been gaining new users every day. We love it when people get creative and great ideas get some attention, which is why we’re posting this past week’s top ten ideas! There are some fantastic ideas floating around on the site and we want them to get as much attention as possible. Take a gander below, visit the site to vote on them, and post a few of your own if you haven’t already!

P.S. This week we launched a new campaign with frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles on the site! If you like the idea of winning 1 year of free frozen yogurt or a $25 gift card and the chance to talk with the chain’s CEO and founder about your ideas, go to the site and let 16 Handles know how you would make the frozen yogurt experience even better!

Wouldn't it be better if Kickstarter added a store section to their website, for all the funded projects.

Wouldn't it be better if sinks had two plugs - one for perfectly usable "grey water" (eg that which is wasted while waiting for water to heat up) and one for the dirty stuff

Wouldn't it be better if fans could invest in an old show to bring it back to life?

Wouldn't it be better if there were handyman or contractor companies that you could hire to assist you with projects, so that they could teach you how to do the project while completing it AND it should cut down on your costs because you are providing labor.

Wouldn't it be better if there were acoustical paint such that you could add a coat and it would remain flat on the wall but have properties in it that would absorb sounds so a room with a lot of "cold," hard, flat surfaces would not become and echo chamber?

Wouldn't it be better if building/house recycling bins would have stickers showing what types of plastic are recyclable in your area? (as some districts are unable to recycle type 6 etc.)

Wouldn't it be better if Whole Foods hot and cold bar offered section divided to-go trays for when you're craving various food types and don't want to mix them together?

Wouldn't it be better if Foursquare would remember the person you last checked in with, so that when you spend the day together you don't have to keep finding them over and over again?

Wouldn't it be better if car trunks had built in refrigerators for transporting groceries or could be filled with ice and used as coolers when necessary?

Wouldn't it be better if I could track where the UPS truck that will deliver my package is (day of delivery) on a map?

Thank you to all of our top ten weekly idea posters! We love your ideas! Happy innovating!