I was lucky enough to “pitch” my business in the elevator on MSNBC’s “Your Business” on Sunday and what a “ride” it was. My e-commerce company www.FabricWorkroom.com sells custom made window treatments, bedding, shower curtains etc. to consumers. On the elevator I was asked a question that brought me back to why we developed our business model 2 years ago. Rod Kurtz, Senior Editor, at Inc. Magazine and Inc.com asked the question “Why Custom”? A great question I admit but it actually caught me by surprise. I gave the typical answer “on air” that people “want something unique that is not offered in the big chain stores” (smart answer I thought, after a segment on big chains vs. a small local bookstore just minutes before). However, while I still firmly believe what I said, the real answer is “Why NOT custom?”
There is little doubt about the trend towards custom products from cars to jeans to sneakers and extends to how we order our Starbuck’s coffee. Innovative companies have made “customizing” so easy that literally anyone can do it! Our business model is based on a very simple concept – make it easy, make it affordable. The Internet gave us the vehicle to make it easy and affordable while capitalizing on another trend towards “do-it-yourself”. Today’s consumers are more demanding and at the same time more adventurous. Custom shopping is no longer intimidating and only for the wealthy. All these companies including FabricWorkroom.com have proven that when consumers can get exactly what they want, they get hooked.
We hear all the time from customers who never considered custom window treatments before due to the cost and the “unknown” process of working with a decorator. Companies like ours continue to break down the barriers and open up the market to those very consumers. In our $10 billion custom home decorating industry I can truly say that we have succeeded in changing the consumer landscape while expanding the market to new users. So ask yourself the next time you are thinking of an idea for a new business, “Can this be Custom?”