Shalom's Cottage Home Blog

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Rock Island, IL, United States
Hi, I'm Shalom. Artist, crafter, gardener, flea market enthusiast, bargain hunter, and lover of flavor. Welcome to my journey!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your Best Idea Generators - Your CUSTOMERS!

Black and white prints by Shalom Schultz.

When I first got into this business, I wrongly assumed that it was up to me to think of all the great products to bring customers flocking in. Of course, I had to start somewhere and much of what I initially created for sale wasn't exactly flying off the shelves. Luckily a few key pieces did do well and so I took a hint and started creating more and more products for the lines that people did find appealing.

But what has surprised me most of all, along the way, is that many of my greatest "ideas" were actually born out of my customers' special requests. Someone would ask me if I could recreate a piece in different colors...or if I could add lines to their notebook's pages...or would suggest that I create a party package because if they'd found my items 2 weeks ago they would have been perfect...or wished to have their name imprinted on something, rather than the wording I had placed there.

What has happened is that I've been given an incredible gift - knowing what people want! And anyone that has been in business long enough will tell you that is an ongoing challenge. I've since expanded my shop to include many items I didn't think of originally, but that continue to sell well and I've also learned how to give people choices without confusing them in the process.

Sometimes I look back and I think, Wow, I can't believe I never thought of THAT before. An interesting trend I've been noticing lately is that many customers are requesting my art prints in all black. Being a color-lover myself, it's not necessarily something I would personally pick to decorate my home, but after doing a couple I realized that it gives them a whole new look. An air of sophistication. So, my latest business "move" was to offer versions of all my designs in black and white and, just like in times past, listening to my customers' desires has proved to be satisfying both artistically and financially.

I'm looking forward to the next great revelation.


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