Custom products and online product designer tools for that are nothing new. Ever since the explosive growth of the Internet and eCommerce in the 1990s it has been easy for consumers to get their own custom designs made. Until relatively recently, most custom product makers focused on simple things such as t-shirts, bags, hoodies and mouse mats.
As the web grew, other services, such as print on demand book publishing became more commonplace, and today, there are even stores that make custom sports equipment. One incredible example of the world of custom products is Gaynor Minden, the maker of custom ballet shoes.
A Perfect AudienceБ.
Gaynor Minden’s custom shoe business is a perfect example of finding a niche market and using the web to help cater to it. Every dancer’s foot is unique, and it is important that the dancer wears shoes that are designed exactly for their size and shape and the way that they move. Gaynor Minden understands this, and they have the ability to make shoes in 5255 different configurations. The customer supplies them with information about their feet, and then the company will make a custom-fit product with the perfect size, shape and angle of box, so that it fits the dancer exactly.
Making custom-fit shoes in this way is a much more practical option than keeping 5,000 types of shoe on hand in a warehouse, or trying to stock the most common types in a bricks and mortar store. There is some lag time for the consumer, as the foot measurements must be processed and a shoe must be designed, but with expedited shipping the buyer can get the perfect shoe in a relatively short period of time.
Currently, the form used by Gaynor Minden to allow users to enter information about their feet is quite long and complex. Perhaps as technology evolves they will be able to find ways to improve the form and make it easier for people to order the perfect shoe. Even with the current form, however, they are a great example of innovation in the world of custom product design. Other example is Magento product designer for eCommers websites.