I think that one of the biggest challenges that all crafting businesses come across eventually is the need to create more, and to create unique. It’s one thing to have a whole bunch of the same product, but having different, yet similar, products creates a view of variety and spice! Plus, you also have to consider the idea that there are 20 other people trying to sell _______. What’s going to make yours different? Why would someone want to buy yours over anyone else’s?
Allow me to use myself as an example for a moment. Just recently I had the idea to make a line of crochet hats based off of the idea “A Day At the Zoo.” So, first thing I do is brainstorm different animals: Tiger, Elephant, Lion, Giraffe, Alligator, Zebra, etc. The second thing I do is research the type of crochet hats that have already been made by others to look like those animals.
With my tiger crochet hat, I had this idea in my head of how it should look like, and after researching various different sites didn’t find ANY that even came close to the idea that was in my head. In my opinion, they all looked basically the same. They are all pretty cute, in their own way, it just wasn’t what I was looking for in my own crochet hat.
The elephant, on another hand, gave me quite a challenge. I did the research to see what was already in existence, and again, didn’t find a single product that I really liked. The crochet hats that I saw, once again, were pretty cute in their own way, it just wasn’t what I wanted for my own crochet hats. I specifically wanted to stay away from the bulky protruding trunk that a lot of the crochet patterns incorporated, but I still wanted my little elephant to have a face (so that it would “match” with my other animal hats). I also noticed that the ears seemed to give several crochet pattern designers a bit of trouble. For this particular crochet hat, I did a bit of splicing: I liked the ears of this one, but the trunk for this one, maybe the color combinations of that one…
There are a TON of crochet giraffe hats available through the internet. I must admit, it is a super cute idea. However, if you search crochet alligator hat…you are gonna come up with very few options! By adding both of these to my crochet hat line, I am hitting on the popular AND the original.
I’m sure that there are people out there who are going to think that my line of crochet hats are hideous, and that’s fine, they are entitled to their opinion. It’s also ok to sell something popular that everyone else seems to be selling. If you want to sell your craft outside of the realm of friends and family, however, your gonna hafta add in something that is uniquely yours. Don’t be afraid to show your personality a bit. Don’t be afraid to release a new product that goes bust, we’ve all been there before (in fact, I’m working on another blog post that will touch base on some crafting products that have gone horribly awry for the seller). Selling your craft sometimes means taking risks. Besides, you always learn so much from your mistakes.
What are some ways that you research new ideas and get inspiration?