Week 1: Business and Idea Development

The starting stages of idea developing can be easy and fun, but once the main theme is settled and things start to get a more detailed, it can get quite complicated to see how well that idea might translate into the ‘real world’. Because of that, many great ideas might need to be put aside for the sheer fact of being too complex for what is really necessary (and this becomes even more real when time and budget constrictions are playing a big part). This sort of puts a limitation to how wild you can go on your brainstorming sessions, and, for me, it’s what makes idea developing so delicate – it’s necessary to find a balance between innovation and limitation, and this isn’t always easy.

From a business perspective, ideas are good when they’re both economically successful and unique (although unique might be part of the whole ‘economically successful’ thing). This sense of exclusivity is achieved not necessarily by how original said idea is – it can also result from a very well-kept secret, like companies who keep their formulas and business models to themselves. That’s why idea differentiation is so important – no brand already starts big and successful, they need to show that they are, in fact, a brand and not just a name, and have something that puts them apart from other similar companies.

One of the ways to find a place for your idea to be successful is through market research. It’s a very important part of solidifying an idea into a real product, allowing you to know how interested your potential public might be in your (also potential) product, or if there’s even really a potential public at all, or even if there’s any available spot on market that could be explored favorably. In my view, it’s the most important step of turning an idea into reality, since it basically helps to determine how successful that idea actually is, and can highlight what needs to change in order to achieve a respectable position in the market. It also allows you to become aware of how great your future competitors might be, or what they’re really selling and how that translates into actual numbers. A product doesn’t depend solely on people’s interest in it – people might be highly interested and still go for what’s cheaper, or more popular, or having any sort of appeal that your product might not have. That’s why it’s important to keep track of those who are selling products that are like yours.


Innovative business concept


In the last years, a lot of online stores – also known as product houses – have been the source of a small income for diverse artists. Before the advent of redbubble, society6 and many others, there weren’t many places for a starting artist – or even a professional one who happened to be unemployed – to sell their art. Art prints are in itself already not exactly a product on high demand, but having the same art printed on mugs, tote bags and shirts changes the situation, using a piece of work to create products that are much more on demand from the masses. With the ascension of internet popularity, this demand only increases.

Most of these stores work on a print-on-demand basis (meaning that shirts are only stamped with a certain piece of art when someone actually places an order for it), and artists are rewarded with a percentage of the price (in many companies, they don’t have a say in the percentage, but they can choose a minimum amount, which may increase the price of products and result in a not-so-successful business). While this isn’t the cup of tea of every artists and might not be an extremely profitable idea for many, it’s certainly advantageous for companies; it’s a smart idea based on the actual demand for a new market that could sell art in a much more profitable manner than art prints alone.

I don’t have much experience with other shops aside from society6, which, from my experience, is a comfortable place for artists to sell their art in a safe and profitable way.