By now our discussion of how to search out creative ideas should have furnished those creatively-impaired entrepreneurs with at least a few ideas on how to search out or expand creative ideas to design your products. The internet is an expansive resource for researching and sparking ideas. I mean, hey, if you are reading this you are already on the right track! So far I have discussed how to spark creative ideas by finding a niche or a hobby as well as specific trades. What else is there?
Verticals, of course. What? Don’t know what a vertical is? Lemme tell ya. When a merchant deals in verticals it basically means that the products or services serve the specialized needs that are tightly focused toward one industry. So, sort of like a niche and a trade at the same time, except they concentrate on platforms that are very closely related to a specific industry and those who cater to that industry. For example, an entrepreneur may provide a variety of specialized products that serve only freelance writers. The company itself would be geared toward providing any number of wares for this market only, such as t-shirts, mugs, computer bags, computer software – anything that would be relevant to a freelance writer.
I know what you are thinking. But if I only concentrate on one industry, aren’t I limitting the potential to appeal to a many different groups and make more money?
The long and short of it is, when you are concentrating on one industry, you end up giving yourself a “name” in the industry for having products that those in that industry love and appreciate. It also helps to focus your thoughts and ideas to one industry, thereby usually making the creativity process much simpler. How? Well, if you are only going to provide products for freelance writers then you only have to come up with sayings, or artistic designs, or products that would appeal to freelance writers.
Perhaps you have some witty or clever sayings that you think a freelance writer would love. For example, as a writer I could definitely appreciate a shirt that reads: ON THE 8TH DAY GOD CREATED WRITERS. It appeals to me in my trade. If I liked a company that made this shirt I would be apt to check out other offerings that they may have, such as mugs or hoodies. By catering to a particular industry, you gain allegiance from those in the industry. You can better focus your ideas and attention instead of trying to make one design work for every profession or industry. I am sure you have seen the same boilerplate shirt that just changes the occupation – doctor, nurse, firefighter. What is the fun in that? I want something that really speaks to me in my industry!
If you are personally a part of the profession for which you are designing products, you may have a bit of an edge because you are more likely to know the lingo, the imagery, the tools of the trade, and the inside jokes. For example, if you are a CPA by trade, and you want to have a little Amazon Merch biz on the side, you would be better able to design shirts with clever sayings that relate to all things accounting. Many of these sayings may not be understood by non-CPA people. But, that is the joy of staying in your vertical – you only have to appeal to the one industry.
What if you are not part of the industry, but believe that you want to cater to that industry. For example, the death care industry. Funeral directors, morticians, cemetery workers, funeral cosmetologists – these people are definitely in a specialized industry. But if you are not, how do you know what will appeal to them?
Again, the internet is a wonderful place. You can Google key phrases, trends, products, industry terminology. You can look into specialized magazines or newsletters that cater to that industry to find what products are already being offered. You can ask those in the industry what they would like to see in products. While you do not want to copy other ideas, many times you can get a creative offshoot by seeing what is already out there. People who are passionate about their career are also very interested in the merchandise that caters to their career choice.
There you go! 3 installments designed to help you design better and more creative products for your Amazon Merch (or similar) entrepreneurial business. Just remember, it is not easy to be creative and we all need a little inspiration from time to time. If you decide to cater to a specific industry, then research the living hell outta it and find all the specialized niches that you can to make the most of your merchandise offerings. After all, everybody knows that coffee tastes better in a mug with a clever saying that relates to your career printed on it.