I have been asked over the years how I come up with products to sell. Most of the time, my way of creating is to take the stuff I already have and make something out of it. Once the components are gone, so is the product.
Today I am going to give you a glimpse of the process I used while creating a specific product.
First I will give you a little context. I am getting ready for an Antiques Show at the end of the week. It is spring. I am doing green and blue as a color scheme. And I wanted to come up with some currently very popular "industrial style products".
Usually I try create useful products. In this case, flower vases and/or pencil holders.
I am ALWAYS buying stuff at sales~ Estate, garage, rummage, fleas that I think I will someday use to make products. Most of the time I have no idea what I am going to do with what I buy, but my criteria is "Do I REALLY think I might make something out of this?"
I didn't buy anything additional for this project. Everything was already in my stash of stuff... most of it for at least a year:
1. Jar of blue/green stones
2. Box of test tubes~ two sizes
3. Box of pencils
4. Metal clamps
5. Roll of twine
6. Musical flowers~ leftover from another project
I started with the idea that I wanted to make vases using a box of test tubes I had. They have rounded bottms so they don't stand up by themselves. I decided to try grouping/wrapping them together with twine to see if they would then stand up.
They did, but they weren't very stable. I remembered these metal clamps which I have been picking up in all different sizes for quite awhile, but I hadn't done ANYTHING with yet. So I clamped the tubes together~ after Mr. Anything Goes Here explained how they work. PERFECT.
Picked the first flowers blooming in the yard to try them out. Pretty good, but not very colorful and maybe they would topple over so I got this jar of blue/green rocks out of the garage and dropped them in the bottom. Dropped some of them too vigorously and broke some test tubes. Oops! Then "Pretty".
Then I thought what else could people use these for. Tried them as pen holders, but the pens were TOO short. Remembered these neat looking pencils. I dIdn't like how they looked unsharpened. And thought "Do people still have pencil sharpeners?" so decided to sharpened them all! I am a full service product designer.
These little test tube holders are TOO small for pencils, so I added a tiny faux flower. At home people could add tiny snow drops or grape hyacinths.
The product test will come at the show. Will people buy them? If not, they will be reinvented into something else.
How do you work through the ideas that you come up with? First, an idea and then buying materials? Or, like me, most often materials, and then an idea of what to make? Or a bit of both?