So you’re on WhatsApp, and you want to flirt with someone. But there aren’t sufficient options so far as emoticons to do that, or you maybe want something a bit more private, more suitable. And obviously an app like Tinder has very limited options insofar as this as well, not to mention a lack of capabilities for sending photos. As it turns out, approximately 73% of people between the ages of 18 and 35 admit to flirting via their mobile phones, and 78% say that they have sent a text to the wrong person. But there is no app which takes into account people’s behaviours and concerns when flirting – or at least there wasn’t until Plume came along. Plume is essentially WhatsApp for flirting. It is a private messaging app with flirty images and the privacy features you’d want when sending those types of texts. Based on people’s experiences flirting on their phones, Plume solves two problems: first, that they don’t have a safe place to flirt on their phones, and secondly, that the images they can send in their texts are limited.
Plume’s founder, Amy Galland, has her background in art history, anthropology, and corporate responsibility. Her goal in creating the app was to have something that’s fun and exceeds people’s needs when having intimate text conversations, whilst doing that in an inclusive and respectful manner. The idea for plume came when Amy was flirting with a guy on her phone, and he texted something that she wanted to reply by sending him the finger. There was no emoji for that, so she started poking around online. Amy learned that almost 70% of people admit to flirting via text, but there was no app designed for flirting (discretion, interface, emoji, features, etc). And since her background is in art history, she knows quite a lot about the power of images and also a bit about flirting. Amy’s biggest challenge was getting up to speed on what she needed to know to run a technology company – app development was a whole new universe for her.
Plume competes with pretty much any other app that people can use for flirting. The biggest competitors fall into 4 categories: 1) messaging apps like WhatsApp, LINE, iMessage, etc., 2) Dating apps where people use the instant message features to chat with people with whom they are interested, 3) Couple apps like Avocado, You&Me, Couple, and Between where people communicate with one select person, 4) Image galleries that people open and import flirty images into other applications. Plume differs from the competition because it provides the privacy features missing from current messaging apps, a place to chat without fear that the other person is checking out other options while waiting for you to write back, the ability to flirt with more than one person or to be a serial monogamist (it is near impossible to “consciously decouple” on any of the couple apps), and a seamless interface between the texting app and the fun, flirty, and sexy images. Because Plume offers a holistic private messaging and flirting experience – it adds value for people who are concerned that their texts and photos are secure and that they don’t accidentally send the wrong text (or wrong image) to the wrong person while switching between applications.
With 70% of people flirting on their phones and no other app designed to address the unique communication challenges of (and risks associated with) flirting, Plume could grow to be quite large. Their target audience can be divided into two groups: First, the person (or the hundreds of thousands of people) who have been complaining about the limited nature of emojis – that they are not ethnically diverse, are not culturally inclusive, and do not have sufficient images of people of different sexualities.
The people who really, really want the “middle finger.” Plume has that. The people who want a hot dog. They have that, too. And second, there are the people who are concerned with privacy. In their market research survey, the Plume team learned that 73% of people were concerned that someone would read their texts or see their photos. Although the images are a draw, they believe that Plume will be sticky due to its attention to privacy and its offering the ability to text in an environment that is secure. When the Plume team talks to people about the app, they love that the photos that they can take and receive in the app are stored separately from your camera roll. They love that there is a password to enter so their kids can’t read their texts. And they love the “Boss Button” so they can instantly log-out when someone is about to look over their shoulder.