Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to most efficiently run the Frippery Factory. With all the academic and family duties I have, running a tight ship is pretty much a necessity.
So what could I due to maximize the time I had for creating items? The answer was so blindingly obvious that it was pretty much a revelation. I would avoid creating extraneous items.
I think we’ve all had that moment, regardless of whether or not we’re trying to sell our creations. That “ugh, this seemed way cooler in my head” moment, once everything is finished and you’re faced with a big old mess to clean up. My goal is to eradicate (or at least reduce) how often this comes up in my Frippery Factory sculpting time.
I realized as I was writing this list that the products I have sold the most of were the ones that followed these seven rules. Here’s the shakedown.
- Is this item going to be iconic? Could it become iconic? This doesn’t mean that what you’re creating has to go on to rock the entire planet. It does mean that you should feel confident (theoretically) writing something to the effect of ” Home to the Paprika Deviled Eggs” on your website.
- Is this item scalable? Can it be altered or made into another variation easily? An item is an especially great idea if you can make it just a little different and create something new. For instance, my Campfire Potatoes could become Twice-Baked Cheddar Jalapeno Potatoes. The whole point is that I will have come up with a system to make potatoes quickly and efficiently, and I can use them as a building block for future creations.
- Would your ideal customer buy this item? Picture the person you want purchasing things from your shop. This should be one specific person, with a specific age, and specific likes and dislikes. If they saw your product in a retail setting, what would they say? “Wow, this is soo cute, I think I will make an impulse purchase!” Is that it? Or would it be something along the lines of “Gag me with a spoon. I would so much rather have new go-go boots”?
- Will this item look out of place in your shop line-up? This is fairly self-explanatory. If your business is to make woodblock prints of the local scenery, then delving into impressionism using only the colors yellow and grey might be a bit of a stretch. If you’re adding multiple products that follow a theme (yellow and grey woodblock prints of local cities, perhaps), it will seem more like you’re launching a line than trying to make a few extra bucks with this thing you just felt like doing.
- Would you be proud to wear, show, or give this item to someone very famous and influential? In my cranium, I sometimes present my sushi charms to Anne Hathaway. If your imaginary celebrity friend would make a wise crack about what you want to make, alarm bells should be going off. Likewise, if you would bury your newest earmuffs under seven feet of concrete to keep Michelle Obama from seeing them…maybe not a good call.
- Will creating this item make you so upset that you’ll end up hating the product? I found that this was the case part way through making a bread ring that was twisted like a cinnamon roll and then sliced to reveal the swirl of filling. I never finished it, which makes it a waste of my life. This goes for your creations too. If you’re going to make something, make something that promotes happiness rather than an elevated blood pressure.
- Does this product feel like a good idea? If you make it through the whole checklist but still feel like something’s wrong, it’s back to the drawing board for you. Fiddle with the idea until you’re really excited about how it’s going to turn out, and until your intuition gives you the green light.
I hope that this checklist helps you eradicate those hateful suck items from your repertoire. Have suggestions? Drop a line in the comments below.