JCK Think Tank, a competition that touts techies is JCK’s iteration of the reality TV-esque competition where businesses pitch an idea to a live audience for the chance to be named the winner. The competition invites 6 technology vendors to present their most innovative ideas during individual, live 7-minute presentations at JCK Las Vegas. Why? To shine a spotlight on the amazing technological advances being made in the industry and honor the most talented vendor, propelling them on a path to growth and recognition. A panel of judges and a room full of industry peers voted and Holojem was crowned the winner. Holojem, a product from Jewelers Mutual Insurance in collaboration with Excelion IT, uses 3D holographic projection paired with interactive technology to provide an immersive, virtual experience. Holojem gives users the ability to view and interact with jewelry pieces through the natural movement of your hands. It also allows jewelers to share their designs with their customers, who in turn can share them on their mobile devices and tablets. The objective of this innovative approach is to appeal to millennial consumers who expect personalized shopping and customized product offerings. (See it on display at LUXURY by JCK)
Today, I take you Full Circle with one of the brains behind Holojem to continue on the competition’s mission of honoring the technological game-changers of our industry. Benjamin DeBoer is the Director of Corporate Development for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, and is passionate about cultivating disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship. He is continually energized by people and ideas he encounters while investigating and executing innovation and venture growth strategies – especially within the jewelry industry.
How do you see Holojem impacting the industry and where do you see it in 5 years? 10 years?
Holojem will help the industry not only survive, but thrive. Holojem will be the go-to platform for experiential consumer marketing — turning the jewelry sales process into an interactive experience to draw in future generations.
Last TV Show you binge-watched or book you read?
- TV – Silicon Valley (HBO)
- Book – The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism by Doug Stephens
Describe your day using 3 numbers:
10 New ideas about ideas, or discussions about what the “Internet of Things” actually is.
2 Smiles and hugs from my children when I come home
How did Holojem come about and at what moment did you realize this could turn into something big?
The idea for Holojem came from brainstorming what jewelry stores of the future might look like in order to attract millennial consumers. We knew we were onto something the first day at LUXURY at JCK when a single company asked when we could deliver 350 Holojems to them.
What’s something you can’t live without?
Being able to use my imagination.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.
Biggest surprise on the journey so far? Biggest challenge?
- Surprise: How quickly the idea took off, and the amount of interest from e-tailers about putting Holojem in brick and mortar locations, so as to not lose out on the power of consumers wanting a physical shopping experience.
- Challenge: Commercializing / sourcing the physical components to meet global demand.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
In my college years, I was a professional DJ at the largest dance club in Wisconsin.
What is one your favorite things to do?
First word that comes to mind when you hear JCK
Favorite place to get inspiration?
Listening to others talk about their needs and desires is always a strong inspiration and motivator for me. If I’m sharing an actual location that gives me inspiration, it’s without a doubt Muir Woods (outside San Francisco).