The world of product design is changing in a major way: more and more people are searching for products that are custom-made, not mass-produced. Why? People want originality. No two people design the interior of their homes the same way, and no one likes arriving to an event to find someone else has on the same outfit. When you’re choosing a gift, you want a present that’s just as special and unique as the person you’re giving it to. You want your gift to capture that person’s individual style, with features like their favorite color.
Many companies have now adapted to give the customer the ability to customize their products. It all began with sizes and color choices, then grew to include everything from key product features to the entire design. Nespresso lets customers match the color of their coffee machine to the color of their kitchen. Nike has developed shoes that are specifically tailored to each customer’s foot by scanning your foot, then creating shoes tailored to your feet.
This trend is inspiring companies and brands to develop products with flexible features that can be customized. And for their part, customers are choosing to buy from companies who offer products they can adapt to their own preferences, or, even better, products that are designed exclusively for them.
Every handmade product is an original product. Once reserved for local markets, handmade goods by artisans and designers are now becoming popular in the online marketplace. Etsy, a company that provides small online “shops” for these artisans, is growing rapidly after going public last year and reaching $2 billion in gross sales. 3D printing is also posed to get in on this growing trend. In the future, 3D printing will allow people to create almost any product according to specific requirements. But some questions still remain. Who will design each product? How will companies connect 3D printing with customer demands?
How all this is reflected on the Internet?
Today, online communities and social networks have given us the wisdom of the crowd. This means a diverse group of people from across the globe can supply ideas to the rest of the world, or in other cases, connect to cost-effective talent in less developed countries to companies across the world. The online freelance market has grown rapidly in the fields of graphic design, software development, translation and more, and continues to gain momentum. Last year alone, freelancing platforms like Freelancer.com, 99designs, UpWork and Fiverr, generated $4 billion in revenue. They’re a win-win for many as they connect companies with diverse pools of talent across countries and let freelancers find work that isn’t restricted to their local market.
When many people begin searching for the perfect jewelry, article of clothing or fine art, they find they spend a great deal of time time searching in shops, galleries and online stores without the guarantee of finding a product they like. Eventually, they’re forced to compromise.
Instead of making the customer go on an endless search for the perfect product, wouldn’t it be easier to connect them to the talented artists and designers who can deliver that product? Customers could tell creatives exactly what they need, then get a variety of ideas from different makers, and choose their favorite to create the right product at the right price for their budget.
This is exactly what MuseValley does. MuseValley is a platform that connects customers to an international community of designers and artists who deliver ideas, designs and custom-made products in categories like fashion, accessories, jewelry, fine art, crafts and more.
How does it work?
First, customers place requests that describe the product or gift they want. Then members of the creative community deliver their proposals, the customer picks the proposal he or she likes most, the winning creative delivers the product and the customer sends their payment.
At the same time, a community of customers, fans and creatives, are welcome to provide feedback by liking, sharing and following certain requests. In giving their feedback, the community is valuable for both the customers and designers themselves.
Safer shopping online
Unfortunately, many people are afraid to shop online due to the many scams that take customers’ money but do not actually deliver their purchase, or deliver a low-quality product that doesn’t compare to what they saw online. MuseValley takes steps to keep customers safe by letting them deposit funds for a product that only will go to the designer after the customer has received and approved their product. This process is much fairer for both the customer and designer than the traditional e-commerce model in which the customer pays the seller before receiving the product.
MuseValley is gaining momentum. Thousands of designers and artists from across the globe have already joined the community and posted their original work. Customers area also enjoying the online marketplace, thanks to its Pinterest-style, image-based interface that makes it easy to use. Thousands of visitors come for inspiration, ask for gift ideas (a free service) and request original products they can’t find anywhere else—all while saving time and money!