Why Entrepreneurs Need To Create With Design In Mind

There once was a time when consumers bought items out of necessity. For example, we used to buy outerwear for the sake of protecting ourselves from the elements; or we bought cell phones to stay in touch with our friends, family and acquaintances. And product design focused on an object’s functionality and ability to efficiently serve a purpose.
Designers and entrepreneurs recognize the dual purpose an object serves. Not only are consumers looking for goods that satisfy a need, they also seek items that can be considered an extension of the buyer’s personality.
Home buyers are always looking to balance function with design. “Everything from mixers, to cutting boards to dog

Heart Serving Set

Mad Style Heart Serving Set

bowls need to be cool and visually appealing and fashionable,” remarks Doug Stein, founder and owner of Mad Style, an on-trend fashion and lifestyle brand. “Instead of hiding our home appliances in the cupboard or in our pantries, we find people treating their appliances and functional items as pieces of art that are meant to be displayed.”

Entrepreneurs need to create with design in mind. In today’s competitive market, almost 50% of new businesses will not survive longer than four years and failure could be attributed to multiple external factors. Survival in oversaturated markets depends heavily on a business’ ability to differentiate themselves from the crowd; entrepreneurs need to find a way to appeal to their customer who are already used to some iteration of your product or service offering.
An industry that is supersaturated shouldn’t be seen as a turn-off. Think of it this way: a market that has thousands of businesses vying for the top spot means that industry is healthy and in demand. In the automobile industry alone there are over 600 model vehicles a customer can choose from.
In 1950, there were only 65 models or so available, but since then we’ve seen the market expand and now consumers can choose from hundreds of options. In an over-saturated market, whoever adapts to consumer needs the best will outlast the competition.
Vintage Light-Up Whisk Sign

Vintage Light-Up Whisk Sign

Businesses must be able to change. Customer needs can change on a dime, and companies who hope to survive the next five to 10 years have to be able to adapt and keep up with trends and expectations. Startups in particular have a slight upper hand when it comes to identifying and exploiting the gaps that established businesses have yet to notice; startups are less rigid and better able to pivot than big corporations.

Take, for example, the healthcare industry and the buying and selling of healthcare products. Previously, when a doctor told you to buy a humidifier, you bought one because you were told to do so and didn’t pay much attention to what it looked like or how it fit into your home decor. Once you didn’t need the humidifier anymore, you presumably stored it away. But what if that humidifier looked like a piece of art that could be displayed in your home or your bedroom?
Crane-USA set about rethinking the design of a humidifier and showing customers how functional items could be fun, cute and serve a purpose at the same time. This innovative company released their collection of whimsical animal humidifiers called “Adorables” to fit in a nursery-setting or a children’s room. It was an idea that revolutionized how customers view functional items like humidifiers; now, customers can choose products that not only serve their actual purpose but can be viewed as an extension of a person’s identity. “Design for better living is Crane’s mantra,” says Katie Sotor, VP of Marketing and co-founder of Crane. “We believe design is an attitude and the home is a expression of an individual style.
Crane products are good quality at an affordable price. Why purchase ordinary when you can purchase extraordinary.  Style is a statement, a choice –  even if all you need is way to relieve your dry skin or stuffy nose.”
Heart of Flowers Color me Cushion

Heart of Flowers Color Me Cushion

Something as simple as redesigning the way an item looks can open up a world of opportunity for a business. This is what is meant by change – in a highly competitive market, businesses need to change to meet the consumer need while also appealing to their desire to express who they are through their material goods. You could easily create something that is functional and works perfectly, but if it doesn’t look visually stunning it may not be appealing to certain customers.

Industries today are saturated with businesses who are eager to launch the “next big thing”. In order to stand out, you need to not only have a product that works great but is appealing to the customer in more ways than one. Design is more than just a product’s functionality; it’s also about looks and how a product will fit into a customer’s lifestyle. In the case of standing out, looks can help launch your product to the front of the line.

Happy Independent Retailer Month!  We hope this blog post helped you recognize the value of the outdoor décor category. If you’d like to find out more about Mad Style, contact your OneCoast Territory Manager.

Read more articles from #onecoast (see what I did there!) vendors here!

Original article can be found here.

Tips to Take the Perfect Flat Lay Instagram like a Pro Blogger

With content being posted on Instagram every minute, daily bloggers, stores and social media lovers are in constant search of attractive ways to share their favorite products. Flat lays are have become a standard for product displays and the favorite way to share content for many bloggers. Anybody can take a lay down shot but only the pros know how to make it stand out! Here are some tips to help your Instagram gallery perfectly polished.


Flat lay tip #1: Have a flat lay theme. True, you have a bunch of random objects grouped together, but those objects should have a purpose, and they should tell a story. For example, your theme could be vacation packing, date night, or beauty bag goodies. Pick a theme then snap away!Flat lay Shot Tip 1

Flat lay tip #2: Create a posh Instagram feed and poised to perfection with a neutral background as a backdrop. Remember, your items should be the main focus in the photo so white sheets, rugs, countertops and the trending marble surfaces, make for great backdrops.

Flat lay Shot Tip 2

Flat lay tip #3: This is a simple tip, but effective all the same. When you are arranging your items in your flat lay, make sure to leave some space in-between each item. This way, the image you capture looks both organized and pretty.

Flat lay Shot Tip 3

What are some of your favorite lay down shot tips?

Happy Independent Retailer Month!  We hope this blog post helped you recognize the value of the outdoor décor category. If you’d like to find out more about All For Color, contact your OneCoast Territory Manager.

Read more articles from #onecoast (see what I did there!) vendors here!

Be Great Today

CDJohn Keiser, CEO of OneCoast, started our “Be Great Today” series. His first post sparked interest and
excitement within our company! We will be asking other OneCoast team members what “Be Great Today” means to them and how they work that into their professional and (sometimes) personal life! Sharing her thoughts this month is Catie Dolgos, DEMDACO Account Executive.

Q: What does “be great today” mean to you?

CD: “Be Great Today,” is a reminder for me to make the most of every day both personally and professionally. It’s about being focused and consistent in my efforts knowing that one great day leads to another. It represents the feeling of satisfaction that I get at the end of the day knowing that I have done everything within my power to be my personal best.

Q: What can you do to “be great today”?

CD: I strive to be great today by recognizing that today is one stepping stone in my path to success. I wake up each day with a positive attitude and have a plan of what I want to accomplish. I have created a daily routine to my work day that helps me to stay focused and consistent. I make sure that I am prepared for my day and have a game plan to achieve my daily goal and a backup plan to ensure a successful day.

Q: How do you encourage others to do the same?

CD: We are all fortunate, here at OneCoast to work with so many talented people that come from many different backgrounds and experiences. Each and every one of us offers a different perspective and point of view and we can all learn so much from each other. I encourage others by sharing my ideas, suggestions and success stories and asking them to share theirs. I value the strengths that each person brings to the table and I am inspired by their successes.

Q: What is your favorite motivational quote? How do you apply that your everyday routine/job?

CD: “Sail beyond the horizon; fly higher than you ever thought possible; magnify your existence by helping others; be kind to people and animals of all shapes and sizes; be true to what you value most; shine your light on the world; and be the person you were born to be.” – Blake Beattie

I love this quote because it is very simply stated and really encompasses what it means to be a good person, to spread positive energy and enthusiasm and to push yourself to reach your greatest potential. I apply it to my everyday routine by going outside of my comfort zone and letting go of my fear of failure or rejection to find new business opportunities and overcome objections. It helps me remember to see the big picture and help my clients grow their business beyond just selling them product. It reminds me to take a deep breath and be patient and kind at all times, to remain true to my core values and beliefs and to allow myself to enjoy the success that I have worked so hard to achieve.

What does “custom” mean?

Written by OneCoast Collegiate & Custom Territory Manager, Susan Kirtland 

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When I started with OneCoast, I thought that I would have to create new custom graphics for the collegiate market every year. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, the best sellers are the college Word Mark, arch and the mascot. These collegiate symbols have been critical icons for hundreds of years. This job didn’t require me to come up with new items. Instead, it allowed me to work with buyers to update these looks on current fashions and capitalize on the colleges’ strong sense of pride, their long history, a form of identity, and the continuation of longevity of the institution.


Custom reflects pride. Working in the “custom” business you quickly realize there is a great deal of pride and spirit on a college campuses. Pride can be achievements or feeling a part of something that is well respected. Pride is important to prospective and current students, alumni, and relatives of those who have attended the college. I have a daughter who is currently a junior at a Florida Atlantic University. As we went through her college selection process, she made it a point to go to a school that had a student body that was proud to be there. For example, she did not apply to schools without a football team because she wanted to participate in the full college experience. Many colleges in my territory are very school spirited such as Cornell, Colgate and RIT. These schools have both academic and athletic programs that are to be noted. This is important to know as you approach a college store buyer in order to help direct them appropriately to the bestselling custom graphics. Where there is pride, there are multiple opportunities for sales and growth.


Custom reflects history and longevity.  Special notable events of the past are vital to school recognition. Special awards, notable discoveries, famous alumni, super star athletes and news worthy social events all contribute to the institutions story, evolving creation and character.  A prospective student or alumni will somehow feel deeply connected to the power of the history.  Here are a few names you might recognize; Ernie Davis, the first African American to receive the Heisman Trophy, Syracuse University; The Ivy League colleges/universities, old and accomplished, highly respected establishments; Michael Jordan, one of the best NBA players of all time, North Carolina; Marco Rubio, United States Senator, University of Florida; Adam Sandler, Actor & Comedian, Syracuse University.


Custom capitalizes on identity. Identifying the College’s Word Mark, mascot or name arch is essential when working with a buyer.  This special recognition has marked the college since the beginning of their inception.  Most of these schools carry special licenses. This is to ensure they are used in the proper form and held to the highest standard.  One quick glance and anyone would know, in an instant, which college is being represented. These graphics are a staple item in each store and have shown that they are consistent reorders. These graphics also change very little over time but prove to remain best sellers.


Custom symbolizes longevity.  As time passes many things change; fashion, electronics, finances, entertainment just to name a few. One thing that looks the same today, as it did upon its creation, is the collegiate symbols created uniquely for their long standing institution and brand. These symbols have transcended time and trend alike. This type of branding help root the student in the university community and give them a sense of belonging to those who have previously walked the same halls. In the custom world, is it important to note the longevity of collegiate history as you represent OneCoast line package to a buyer.


All in all, “custom” in the college market will play a key role in meeting with a buyer. To be successful, for me at least, you need a basic understanding of the pride and the spirit of a campus as well as recognizing their history and longevity.

Images cited from:

Take Ivy