A team of ex-Microsofties left to create Jackson Fish Market, with the tagline “Handcrafted Software Experiences,” in November 2006. In their introductory blog post, co-founder Hillel Cooperman talks about his grandfather’s fish store, Jackson Fish, a “small businesses was run by family, with everyone pitching in as best they could” and which sold “handcrafted products” that “that both address a core customer need, but also make them feel emotionally satisfied, content, and… happy.” They credit 37 Signals with much of the inspiration behind the company.
They’re working on a number of projects, and “They’re Beautiful” is the first to launch. It’s a free virtual flowers site. Users can send a virtual bouquet to any email address (even without registering). The recipient sees the bouquet and can choose to put it in their Greenhouse on the site by registering. They then must return every few days to “water” the flowers and keep them from wilting.
The coolest feature is the ability to embed the virtual gifts in another website, as I’ve done above. The “products” are visually stunning, and if they can get significant enough distribution through the widgets it would be a simple step to add premium, limited edition items in the future for a fee.
The timing of the launch is perfect, as Facebook and others are testing virtual goods (HotOrNot has sold virtual flowers for years) and the market seems set to explode.
I’m going to refrain from watering my flowers. I’m hoping the wilting process is as visually interesting as the flowers themselves. Can’t wait to see if they actually show dead flowers in the widget.