Pattern Pod is starting a series of blogs to create a resource library of customizable products for both residential and commercial interiors.
The history of customization is very interesting to us. Before creating Pattern Pod, we started our careers in the textile industry working at U.S. mills. Back in the early nineties, it was more of the Henry Ford mentality; you can get it in “any color so long as it is black”. As long as the customers were buying the fabric, the thought was that there was no need to change.
As the market became more competitive and prices were forced down, there needed to be a shift in the culture in order to stay competitive.
Pushing the limitations of the equipment and using the design tools creatively provided us with an edge, but it was not a large enough differentiator. What really needed to happen was a change in manufacturing mentality and or machinery improvements.
While watching the textile industry dissolve, we went in search of growth opportunities. We found it in mass customization.
The premise of mass customization is to determine a way of combining traditional manufacturing processes while injecting product personalization. This creates a closer relationship between consumer and manufacturer. It provides the customer with an individual experience, while maintaining basic manufacturing processes.
One great example of this is the Mini Cooper. The basic body is manufactured in mass, but then the customer can tailor parts of the interior and exterior, thus making it their own.
As the next generations come of age, it has become very clear that it is extremely important for them to feel connected to the product.
This increasing market demand of personalized product sparked the next wave of customization with companies such as Zazzle, Cafe Press and Spoonflower.
Their process is very simple which is to create enough single personalized products to enable a full production run. That keeps the price down, while offering a completely customized experience.
Several of these companies started off as “blank slate” businesses; meaning they provided a white product such as a mug, fabric, cutting board, etc. and the customer uploaded their design to be printed on the product. Typically, the images were a photo of a relative or pet.
We learned there is an amazing amount of talent in this world, but not everyone has the ability or the time to create designs. With over 38 years of combined experience in the textile commercial interiors industry, we saw this as an amazing opportunity to partner our skills with the growing trend.
Initially, we created a library of vector designs in seamless repeat providing a resource for individuals. The customer could purchase a design for personal use and then take it to their customizable store of choice. This seemed like a great idea at the time, but learned quickly that it was a bit of challenge with consumers working between several sites.
Though we have set up stores at Zazzle, Society 6 and Spoonflower, we realized there is a strong need for designs that are well suited for commercial interiors. We turned our attention to the Business to Business vs the Business to Consumer.
Existing imagery sites can be overwhelming and challenging to find the perfect design for your space. With this in mind, we developed our licensable library to specifically target the interiors industry and to be a resource for emerging customizable companies.
Since the inception of Pattern Pod, we have witnessed an increasing number of commercial interior companies move into the space of customization / personalization. We began to build partnerships with these companies and are very excited to be part of their journey.
Over the next few months, we will be writing about and highlighting a variety of these businesses, creating a resource for Interior Designers and Architects for all their customizable needs.
Shop our designs and learn more about their innovative products. If you need any custom changes to the graphic or color, we would love the opportunity to collaborate with you!
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Thanks so much and have fun developing something cool!
Be sure to #PatternPodCustom or @Patternpod_design_studios We would love to see what you create!