Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A New Product

At any given time of the day or night, I have a million different project ideas bumping around my brain  (imagine the Bumper Car ride at the amusement park and you'll get the idea).  But I've been pretty selective about what actually goes into my Etsy store, or what I bring to a market.  For one thing, there's only So Much Time to devote to sewing (I see you nodding your head in agreement).  And, I think it's better marketing to have a good selection of a FEW items, rather than a bunch of different products, which can make a shop or market booth look incoherent, or maybe a little disorganized.

But my customers talk.  And I listen.  And one theme that has come up again and again is Alternate Uses for the Selvage Bath Mat.  Quite a few people who have bought one can not BEAR the thought of actually putting it on the floor.  (For the record:  the prototype of that product has been on the floor of MY bathroom for nearly a year, has been through the washer and dryer many times, and has held up beautifully.)  But I do know that it frequently ends up as a Sofa Decor Accessory. Other people have mentioned that it would work well in a pet area.  Another customer thought that, in a smaller size, it would be a great place to drain her glassware after washing.  

These are all fantastic ideas.  I love the concept of something that's multi-functional.  But all of  this was leading somewhere:  a smaller, chair sized selvage mat.  And here's another thing:  especially at the Sunday Morning Market, people are absolutely pet crazy.  You would not believe the number of dogs there.  And there's a vendor selling dog and cat treats, and another one selling leashes and other accessories.  Anyway, this is what I came up with to (hopefully) target ALL of those customers:
This would be of course for a small dog or cat.  You can put it on that spot on the couch where they insist on sleeping, or that one chair that they have claimed as theirs.

Like the Selvage Bath Mat, it has a towel on the back.  But I also put a piece of batting in between the layers, so it has a little bit of a cushion feel to it.

   Yes, those really are little white pawprints on that border fabric.  I have about 1/2 yard of that fabric left.  Can't remember when I bought it, or where.  (Luckily, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of cute animal fabric out there, so I should be able to replace it with something comparable if needed.).

Like all prototypes, this one needs a little tweaking.  Mostly, I think it's just a little too small at 14".    The border fabric is 3" on this one, so just another couple of inches all the way around should solve that problem easily.  I like the applique pawprint in the corner but I would probably try at least one with it on the selvage area.
And what about a name?  My mother-in-law suggested The Cat Nap.  I love that.
So I'm going to bring this one to market on Sunday, give it a prominent spot on my display, and just see what happens.  I'm not necessarily looking for a sale (although that's always nice!) but rather the Customer Commotion Level that it inspires.  Then I'll know whether to pursue this product idea further.