Sunday, April 6, 2014

Choice, Options, or Customize?

My Blue Streak Perfecto

In a world flooded with things: choices, options, and customization all seem so common. But are they just alternative words for the same thing? If not, which is best?

I've thought about choices, options, and customization—and their subtle shades of meaning—for years. Why? I'm one dubbed with a first name that can have several correct spellings. As a child, those cheesy, store-bought name plates and name keychain displays caught my eye as if they were gold ingots!

The dozens of available names seemed like millions to me back then. But my most methodical scanning and searching revealed there was never just the right one for me—one with the correct set of letters for my name. Choice! Lots of choices, none exactly right!

It was so easy to envy Tom, Dick, and Harry or Ann, Sue and Marie! I looked for those displays with names back then and I still do search them whenever I see them.

Soon something better happened. During one of my parents' trips to the grocery store, I departed as usual for the cereal aisle and reading those "precious" offers on the back of all the 1950s cereal boxes. It was a marvelous exposure to offers, deals, exaggerated claims, and phoney images. BUT, one ad offered a little "license plate" customized in your choice of colors and words. Could it be?? My childhood grail! A customized plate for my old, second-hand, bike. Made the way I wanted! Now to convince Mom.

Thinking customization was the answer to all questions and world problems, it was time to plan. The bicycle was named "Blue Streak Perfecto," so a blue license plate was the obvious choice. Oh, how it now seemed wonderful to plan a plate with the bike name and not my name. Kids would know I got that custom plat somewhere extraordinary! Oh no! There was a limit on how many letters would fit and my poor "perfecto" couldn't make the cut. About 2 months later my "Blue Streak" plate arrived and proudly hung from the bike's seat for years. Lesson learned: customization has limitations and takes time.

There is a large span between many choices and customization. Price and time play in those extremes. I think products offering options suit many purposes. Products with options are not as expensive as a fully customized item, and yet they can more closely represent preferences without a big expense or long wait.

In one of my online shops I offer handmade chainmaille pendants on cord necklaces. People purchase for the design and color of the pendant — not the cord. Perhaps they do not like the cord. Now I am offering upgrade options on that cord. It can be leather, you can pick the best length — and happiest of all — you pick the leather cord color! The upgraded clasp is sterling silver. Make it classic, whimsical, or color coordinated!

What a difference a colored cord makes!

Order a pendant and custom leather cord in April, use coupon code BLOG04,  and receive free US shipping.

Coupon available in  for chainmaille jewelry and for selected pendants