Amazon Opens ‘Build It’ Round of Echo Dots Designed by Diane von Furstenberg for Pre-Orders
Amazon’s Build It program has returned with three limited-edition Echo Dots created in collaboration with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Customers can pre-order one or more of the colorfully covered smart speakers, and Amazon will manufacture the designs that draw enough demand before Aug. 13. This is the second time Amazon has tried the Build It initiative. An Alexa-enabled sticky note printer reached the pre-order goal during the first round in March, while the smart kitchen scale and cuckoo clock missed the mark.
The three Echo Dots up for pre-order are the same as the standard version of the smart speaker except for the mesh covering. Each is patterned with one of von Furstenberg’s designs; Twigs, Ikat, or Midnight Kiss, as in the image above. The smart speakers are listed at $60, a promo price for those who lay down their money early. That’s only $10 more than the price of a standard Echo Dot. Those who pre-order one will only be charged if it reaches the unnamed goal. Midnight Kiss was in the lead and already approaching 10% of its goal within a few hours of launch, so chances are at least one of the smart speakers will make it to market. Amazon is also marking the collaboration with a donation to Vital Voices, a non-profit chosen by von Furstenberg that supports women leaders.
The Build It program is part of Amazon’s overarching Day 1 Editions hardware trial system. The Day 1 program previously tested Amazon hardware in a closed pilot program offering early editions of the Echo Frames smart glasses and voice-enabled Echo Loop rings. The feedback during those tests led to canceling the Loop but also helped Amazon design a new version of the Echo Frames for general sale. Build It flips that concept by giving Amazon an idea of who wants to buy a device before scaling up manufacturing even to a pilot level.
“It’s low risk, high reward, and a whole lot of fun,” Amazon product manager Simon Joinson explained in a blog post when the first Build It round began. “If your favorite concept doesn’t get built this time, don’t worry—there are more fun ideas to come.”