Saturday, January 13, 2007

Art and Entrepeneurship redux: Have It Your Way

JAN 2010 UPDATE - Well, mhUniques did not stand the test of time. Web site is gone, and although an Etsy storefront remains, it has zero items. 

Here's another artist / entrepreneur who gets the Three Forces of the Long Tail. ("Make it, Get it Out There, and Help Me Find It".) He's even added a Hamburger Corollary: "...and have it your way".

Michael Herzog is a designer, "tool user, and experimenter by nature." He has come up with some interesting approaches for creating lamps. Not just any lamps, and not just any approach, Michael uses at mhUniques to present his work to three complementary market niches.
  • Completed objects for the "I'd like to have that, please" crowd
  • Free detailed instructions for the DIY and crafty crowd
  • Parts Kits for the in-betweeners who can and want to make it
These are three interesting and complementary niches. The first crowd knows what they like when they see it, and they are able, willing and ready to pay for it on the spot. Even though they are presented with completely free instructions for making these items, for them "time is money". Or perhaps they did not inherit the make-it gene, the lack of which turns an ordinary screwdriver into a sure visit to the band-aid box. (Let's not even talk about hot glue guns.)

The DIY folks are completely a fun lot. The "crafty" lot are perfectly able to take the instructions and run with the idea. Boom - Done. Some Artistic crafties will take the idea even farther than Michael imagined, evolving his idea into something even more beautiful.

The "in-betweeners" are an interesting lot in their own right. They get the idea, and their favorite saying is "I want to make that someday. A parts kit? Cool, give me two." Mr. Herzog stands by with the product; ready, able, and willing to help those folks scratch their itch. Whether the kit gets built or not is a side issue at the moment this transaction occurs. These folks (and I am one) will go for the head start in a heartbeat, because it's cheaper than ready-made and easier than gathering parts yourself. (My own affliction is model railroading. Don't ask how many unbuilt kits I have on the shelf.)

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