#MakeMomProud Case Study: Year & Day. Plus 3 Steps to Help Your Customers Achieve Their Goals

How easy do you make it for customers to get what they want when they want it? Do you understand how your customers’ lives affect their desires? What do you do to consider their desires, needs, concerns? Once you have that information, how will you improve your customer journey and experience?

Make-mom-proud companies take a human-centered approach when engaging with customers. They understand what customers desire and seek to achieve, and this guides them in designing products and services; they know how to “put others before yourself.”


In my most recent book, Would You Do That to Your Mother, I write that make-mom-proud companies start with the lives of their customers and prove with their actions that they have their customers’ best interests in mind. This thought process is seen in the way products and services are developed; they’re designed based on the research-driven understanding of what customers need. Designing experiences and products from the customers’ point of view is a virtuous way to grow.

Here’s the thing, shifting to human/customer-centered design means flipping the leadership and operational mindset from designing for what you want to get from customers to designing what you want to give customers. You need to design in a way that helps them achieve their goals. Once you do this, your customers will see and feel value. Make-mom-proud companies not only understand what the customers want, but they respect the customers’ needs and provide an opportunity for them to get what they need easily.

You need to design products and services in a way that helps your customers achieve their goals. #CX #MakeMomProud Share on X


Year & Day, an online tableware company founded in 2016, has thought long and hard about what today’s customers want, leading them to embrace simplicity of choice as their mission. They want to make it easy for you to set a table that you love and can be proud of.

What Year & Day gets right is the understanding of their customer’s journey. Their mission was to design simple, quality, tableware that people actually use and want in their modern lives. Kathryn Duryea Wyndowe, the founder and CEO of Year & Day, saw that a lot of people were waiting until marriage to get the dinnerware they wanted. Research told her that many, especially millennials, are getting married later. In interviews, Kathryn says market research also noted that people were tired of visiting one home goods store after another just to choose among tired old designs.

Kathryn said she saw an opening for beautiful and affordable tableware that could look good with takeout, everyday meals, or special occasions. Putting others first led to the light-bulb-moment that her customers don’t have to choose between fancy china they’d never use, boring boxed set dishes or, worse, chipped hand-me-down dish sets. That insight, she said, was the impetus for starting Year & Day.

Design to Meet Their Needs

credit: Year & Day

To improve customer experience, Year & Day cut down on pattern choices and upped customers’ ability to buy exactly what they want. The company offers one clean, modern dishware design in four colors, one flatware design in three finishes, and three styles of glasses. By keeping things streamlined for their audience, Year & Day has made buying a dinner set or individual pieces simple.

On the website, customers answer four questions to discover their needs and style: first on “living situation” (solo, partners, or family), on lifestyle (how often they are home, cook, or host parties), then on how many people they feed. Finally, customers choose a color. Even here, the company has the customer’s back. Shoppers can choose a single color or one of three preset mixes. And of course, customers can always ditch the recommendations and order what they want.

Kathryn was quoted in Fast Company, saying, “The goal was to create as much flexibility as possible with this system… you can buy a set for yourself as a single person living alone, but grow your collection if you get married or have kids, without any waste.” Here, you can see that instead of trying to sell the most expensive set, she has created a guidance system to help customers achieve their goal of owning dishware they can be proud of.


Your company can benefit from the same approach that Year & Day has taken in building its business around its customers’ needs and how they live their lives. As I say in the book: to reach your goals, help others to achieve theirs!

With this in mind, here are three #MakeMomProud actions to support your customers’ lives and innovate based on customer needs:

  1. Start with the life, not the action item — honor your customers by looking at the lives in front of you and discovering their needs and how they live their lives now.
  2. Dare to rethink what’s always been done — design your products and your website to improve your customers’ lives.
  3. Give them choices that match their lives — one size doesn’t fit all customers, so give them choices that help them achieve their goals.

And of course, last but not least, remember that your company needs to be united in how you choose to improve customers’ lives. It takes leadership, commitment, and unity to challenge the status quo and rebuild from the outside in.

How would your company act if every customer were your mom?

How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it?  Customer experience expert, Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”

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