People who are newly starting a small business run a real risk of thinking, "What can I make?" rather than, "What's really wanted?".
The overwhelming number of cowls and fingerless gloves on Etsy provides a wonderful example. When did you last, honestly, wear a cowl? When have you found fingerless gloves preferable to ordinary gloves with fingers?
The reason for this stuff is that it's far, far quicker to make than full-sized scarves and conventional gloves. It uses less yarn too. So you can sell it for a much lower price - within more people's budget. AND it can look spectacular in a photograph. Seductive for a maker, no?
But... it's a trap not to fall into. Ultimately, these products are - in person rather than in a flattering picture - not all that practical or desirable. Okay, make them beautifully and photograph them well and you may well sell a few. But do you honestly expect to sell many? Do you think there will be repeat customers for something as quirky and niche (and maybe not in a good way) as this?
When you are planning your products, ask yourself first and foremost what customers really want. If it's something you can't make to realistic timescales or budgets, consider if there is another way - maybe you can use some ready-made components? Perhaps you can get lower-cost (please not lower quality) supplies? If there is no way - move on and think again.
In the end, you can't compete by offering people something they don't really want. You CAN compete by offering your own beautiful, unique or better version of something that there is a real demand for.
Small disclaimer. This is not aimed at any particular Etsy sellers, including those shown in the screen shot. It's intended just as a general observation and comment.
Labels: cowl, etsy, fingerless gloves, making the leap, pricing, product development, products, trapLinks to this post