Shopping for home decor is totally “meh,” right? When you’re shopping for a new throw pillow or a new lamp, you probably do a lot of yawning because you’re not exactly finding anything that has people going, “Where in the world did you get that cool lamp?” At most, you might find a white ceramic dragon lamp. I might have shown off lamps that weren’t completely boring before, but those might not be what you’re looking for when you’re really serious about giving your home a unique look.
Maybe you’re just not looking in all the right places. I like to talk up Zazzle whenever the topic of online print shops comes up. The topic is pretty boring, too, only because a lot of people use them for creating calendars with baby pictures but never really consider the possibilities of what they could be doing. What makes Zazzle different is that not only does it give you incentive to at least be a little bit original by giving you the option of earning royalties by selling your own customized designs on some pretty cool products, but they also have a wider range of products you could put your design on. Lamps. Baby blankets. That badass guitar pick you wished you could have during those days when you rehearsed with a rock band in your garage. Hip flasks. What’s cool about this is that there should be no more excuses for not finding a throw pillow you’ll love.
Seriously, though, this is something that you won’t find at most home decor retailers simply because they focus more on maximizing their revenue per square foot than they do on stocking niche items. There’s no shame in knowing the market. Focusing on the cute generic stuff is basically how they stay in business.
As far as I’m concerned, though, if you’re going to redecorate your house or buy new stuff for your newborn, you deserve better than just that cute generic products that you maybe use for a few months and then stick in the attic. You want something that can become an awesome conversation piece long after you’ve positioned it perfectly on your couch or placed it in the crib. If you can sympathize with the song “Mr. Mom” by Lonestar, you deserve better than to look at yet another thing that’s decorated with an embroidered bunny rabbit when you’re dealing with the colic and rewinding Barney for the umpteenth time. And, anyway, that cute bunny rabbit isn’t very conducive to raising an aerospace engineer, right?
So, how many of you dads have been there, done that?
Yeah, I get it. People like cute when it comes to buying things for their newborn. What Zazzle is good for, though, is providing products who feel like they could just die if they have to look at yet another unoriginal design for a baby blanket. Because most professional designers have to earn a living somehow, they’re going to use the elements that they know are going to sell. What’s cool, though, is that some designers just use their creative efforts to earn a little money on the side and that means they can at least break the mold for what’s normal for a baby blanket. In fifteen years or so, you don’t want to give your teenager another reason to roll his eyes because of a dorky and unoriginal baby blanket you bought when he was still too young to know what a bunny rabbit even is. When you choose options like the one at the left, he might unbend enough to be like, “Okay, I might have puked on that, but that was pretty cool while it lasted.”
And, yeah, I am trying to sell. I promise there’s a point. Home decor is a multi-billion-dollar industry every year. Furniture and home furnishings sold like hotcakes to the tune of US$101.41 billion in 2013. The baby product industry raked in $23 billion in 2013 and those figures are worth keeping in the back of your mind when you go shopping. When that kind of money is being spent to furnish people’s homes and put together attractive nurseries for that expected new addition to the family, there’s absolutely no reason why you should settle for something that you sort of like, but wasn’t really what you were looking for.
Give the customization tools a try, if you like. Customize this mug. Customize this calendar. You could even customize this fleece blanket, if you like. Add your own pictures and text so people can see at a glance what you genuinely value. If people like your designs, you might even become one of many successful Zazzle sellers who make money on the side by earning royalties on products they sell. It’s all about finding a product that you’re happy with if you’re going to buy at all.