January 24, 2020
I am having a great time looking through old posts I wrote like 3 years ago for a blog that no one read (don’t be sad for me, it’s okay). So here’s another gem from the Deidre vault that has held up over the years:
At any given time I have a million ideas, all of which I usually think are great (though they definitely aren’t all winners). I can share what I’ve learned so you can make a lean, light products that won’t break during shipping. After all, money spent replacing broken items is money you’re not making.
Make it Light
Maybe you love outdoor patio tables- there is a time a place for that heavy product, but with the amount it would cost to ship, it may not be worth it for you or your customer if the shipping is around the price of the product! Not to mention, it could also break. Choose something under a couple of pounds, the lighter the better.
Make it Unbreakable
One of my first product fails were these cute little fairy jars made out of clay. After transporting them to the office for an employee craft fair, several of the flowers on them broke. My bad. I much better product idea was a silicone muffin pan which would not be affected by being tossed around during shipping. Which leaves me to my next point:
Make it Sturdy
If your true love is selling mugs, who am I to stop you? They aren’t quite as indestructible as silicone, but we all need and love mugs, so I get it. Either bubble wrap that thing tightly, or find a way to make it more secure. To solve my fairy house problem, I started using strong glue to make sure the parts were secure, and I also made flatter pieces with less things sticking out. (The artist in my was like Noooo! I can’t sacrifice art in the name of shipping! But the business side of my was like: yes, yes you can.)
Make it Something People Want
Ok, I’m not going to lie, the fairy houses were probably the worst product I ever created and were the opposite of everything I am suggesting here. They were heavy, time-consuming, breakable, and worst of all: NO ONE WANTED THEM.
The artist side and business side will always be at war, but there is a way to keep both sides happy. To sell, create simpler designs that are at a cheaper price point (and are faster to make). Keep the intricate things for my family in friends who will appreciate it.
Make it Easy on Yourself
My fairy houses were very time consuming to make. But how much would people actually pay for a small intricate sculpture with no purpose? $10. I quickly realized that was not sustainable at $5/hour, even though I loved to make them. They weren’t very practical, but they made great gifts for my mom who loves everything I do. I love you too mom!
Give it a Theme
One thing I learned from marketing class is to give it a theme. Which party would you go to? A Halloween Party or a Murder Mystery Halloween party? Yah. Themes make everything better.
When thinking of a product, go easy on yourself and your customer. What do they really need? What is sustainable to produce? Will it be cheap and safe to ship? Asking yourself these questions will save you heartache and money in the long run.