Every craftsman or "maker" of products knows that customers often help define how we look at, modify and sometimes even conceive of the things we make. We come up with an idea or conform to traditional concepts in the quest for what the buyer will like and then watch and listen
Here's an example.
A good friend suggested we include pen blocks in our product line over a year ago. Since this particular friend is an avid pen lover and enjoys attending Pen shows, she enlightened us about the market for a way to display favorite writing instruments for pen lovers such as herself.
Over time we added a number of original design pen blocks to our inventory.
Then recently, at an artist's market we participated in, a customer who purchased every pen block we had on display revealed that he would be utilizing them as artist brush holders. He is a painter and had been looking for a better way to keep his various brushes organized and accessible on his workspace.
Within a couple of hours of purchasing our pen bocks, our new friend texted photos of his new "brush holders".
And "voila", a new product is born.
Since the market, Gary ( the customer) has graciously shared feedback and suggestions about what "works" and what modifications might improve function.
We love feedback that helps us improve what we make.
From handcrafted wooden tongs that a customer pointed out were perfect "toaster" tongs........to the reminder that "left handed" spatulas addressed a specific need......to offering smaller lightweight"prep" boards for those cooks who prefer a "one handed" board for quick kitchen prep....... we listen and learn .
And often ask ourselves.......
Why didn't I think of that?