My Unique Selling Proposition

Work was absolutely nutso last week which is why I’ve been MIA. So I have finally figured out my Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The formula to follow is “My shop is THE …. (enter USP here).”

So here we go:

“My shop is THE place for tees, pins, and small accessories with one-of-a-kind designs that celebrate PRIDE and support the LGBT+ community.”

It should be noted that a USP doesn’t have to be catchy – this is not your shop’s tagline. But it should be descriptive, specific, and identify what sets your shop apart.

Now I’m learning about the market, such as all the various rainbows that represent different parts of the LGBT+ community. I have been having fun creating some designs. Here’s a little taste of some potential button designs that I’ve made so far:

Recognize the pigeons? I went back to my original designs and put rainbow scarves on them. Haven’t decided whether or not I will add words to these.

Working title for the brand is Freyja’s Rainbow (named after my daughter).

Next on the business track will be lessons on pricing your goods.

Til next time! Davida

Current struggles with my niche and product

I’ve been thinking long and hard and I have been struggling over a lot of different aspects around my niche and product, and I have been having strong doubts about every decision I make. It’s been really hard.

Thoughts about my potential product

As the 4 readers of this blog already know, I create digital illustrations and surface pattern designs. Whatever product and niche I land on – I know that at least part of my Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is my illustration style is very much unlike other design styles currently out there. I’ve had a lot of good response to my animal patterns and illustrations specifically, so I was thinking about focusing on mostly animal-based design.

Until I started taking the course on how to market and sell your art-based products, I’d been creating my illustrations and putting them up on various print on demand (POD) sites, mostly Redbubble, and it was mostly for fun. However, now that I’m getting serious about all of this and want to turn this into a real revenue stream, I don’t want to use POD for my product for many reasons:

  • Very little control over pricing (this is the biggest con for me)
  • No control over sales or discounts (at the mercy of the POD site)
  • Long creation and shipping times
  • No control over product quality
  • Any marketing I do will be, at least partially, for the POD and their products, not my own

Of course, the pros of POD are there, too; someone else is handling customer service, they provide a trusted platform, I get to offer a variety of products I’d never ever be able to produce on my own.)

Since I don’t have the capacity, or knowledge, to be hand creating products at home, this means that my product is digital, which means digital download items, such as digital prints, digital paper, digital stamps, digital clipart, digital greeting cards, digital stationery, etc, etc.

From my market research, here’s what I’ve determined are the people who consume digitals.

People who buy digital goods

  • Professional creators making physical products for sale, usually paper products such as cards (I notice most digital creators sell separate commercial licenses for this market and from my research: they sell quite well)
  • Amateur makers who are printing and creating at home, such as scrapbooking, decoupage, copper and silver etching, etc.
  • Jewelry makers
  • Home decorators
  • Cricut and/or Silhouette users
  • Bullet journalers and other journalers
  • People who want to upload to products and/or fabric at print on demand sites

Providing digital products is very attractive for many reasons: no upfront costs, no packaging and shipping from your home, your prices can be quite low which allows for more impulse buying opportunities, and I already provide technical support for a living already in my day job so I’m very comfortable providing that for my potential customers.

Thoughts about my niche

Here’s where I landed with my niche. I have two LGBT+ children. My daughter is in her early 20s and we sat down and had a long talk about this – she loved the idea of me producing LGBT+ designs with animals. This does exactly what my course says to do: intersect two separate markets: animal lovers and LGBT+. I love this idea for many reasons. For one, it’s polarizing (probably in more ways than one!) which the course also says is important. Also, there are a lot of LGBT+ people out there who have been rejected by their families, and I love the message: here is a mom who is accepting and loving and supporting and celebrating her LGBT+ children (like Sara Cunningham who is a stand-in mom at same-sex weddings).

I would also like to donate a set percentage of my profits to The Trevor Project to further my support for the LGBT+ youth and community out there.

This niche feels nice and narrow and creating the illustrations and patterns would be a joy (so many rainbows!). I’m happy here.

My struggles (is there anybody that made it this far?)

I finally got here. The course instructs to start by defining your niche/customer and then develop the product – not the other way around. You don’t want to start with your product and then go looking to see who your customers is. When I do the market research to identify what my potential customer is and what they are buying, NONE of it is digital. They are definitely purchasing cute physical goods, but completely digital goods already feels like a fairly narrow niche in itself!

In fact, if you think about it, I would be intersecting THREE market niches: animal lovers, LGBT+, AND digital-only consumers.

This is very, very uncomfortable for me, and my gut says it is a bad idea. From the research from I’ve done, LGBTQA+ animal designs ON DIGITAL ONLY PRODUCTS does not have market that I could find. When I think about marketing for this, it actually feels more difficult.

My gut says I should be providing physical products for this niche. But it opens up a whole new can of worms for me. Suddenly I’m going from what I am good at, and have time for: digital design, to an area of the complete unknown. And the upfront costs of producing physical goods is daunting. And having to deal with packaging, shipping, ordering stock, etc etc – is so out of my wheelhouse that it very nearly paralyzes me.

But here’s the thing, putting my products on physical products is really attractive to me. So there’s that.

So here are my questions

  1. Are digital download products a narrow enough niche of it’s own?
  2. Or perhaps digital download products with a focus on animal-based designs – would that be a narrow enough niche?
  3. Am I right to be skeptical of the intersection of LGBT+ and digital only products?
  4. Would any of you advise taking the leap into having my products manufactured?

(Apparently my market for this post is people who like to read overly long diatribes.)

And of course, just writing this all down in a readable way has already helped to clarify my thoughts and I’m leaning in a particular direction, but I’d still love to get thoughts from the community!

Thanks for reading! Thank you even more for commenting!

Design 56 / 365 Days of Design

OK, time for a break from animals. If you can believe it, I’ve actually been creating other patterns and designs all week on top of my regular daily design! That’s because I’ve been jonesing to do rainbow-based designs for a while, and I guess I just couldn’t wait! 

So today starts a new theme sprint. I will almost assuredly go back to animals at some point, but since I found myself doing chromatic creations each day this week, I felt it was time to actually dedicate myself to them until it was time to move on.

Today I start with the most basic of basic patterns – stripes! Done in the gorgeous rainbow color scheme that I finessed all week. Despite rainbow stripes being as basic as you can get, I still love the zippered back and I know it’s something that I personally would buy if I saw it at a store.

So, new theme: Chromatic Creations. Until it’s time to move on. Yay!

See it on Redbubble

Design 49 / 365 Days of Design

So someone on my Facebook page quipped that my pink koalas looked naked. Go ahead, navigate back a day and look. Now that she said that I can’t unsee it – they look naked to me.

Thing is, I tried going standard gray koala and it was just plain boring. And my line on this piece isn’t quite good enough to just do black and white drawing style. My husband suggested rainbow. It was a little intense, so I decided to do rainbow ears instead. 

Took me all damned day! I have no idea if I like it or if it’s any good; ask me in a couple of months. Here it is on Redbubble

Day 11 / 365 Days of Design

Today I wanted to celebrate tolerance, diversity, and pride. As a mother of two wonderful LGBTQA people, I was planning on making at least a few rainbow designs for them. Also, I love rainbows.

Other than that, the geometric theme continues, again, using my new-found skill in making wavy lines in Illustrator.

These colors truly make me happy.

 

That’s it for me. See ya tomorrow!

Oh yeah: Redbubble link!