Personalisable products are becoming more popular than ever before, with a growing focus being placed on retailers selling products which can be made unique. Consumers are moving away from wanting the same product as others, instead placing an importance on having something they can make their own.
Modern Retail spoke exclusively with Chrissie Probert Jones, Founder and CEO of Eatsleepdoodle. Beginning in 2012, the company set out to enable people to colour, draw, doodle, design and personalise their own textiles. The ink then disappears when washed, meaning the designs can be re-drawn, re-customised and continuously re-designed.
What inspired you to launch Eatsleepdoodle?
The whole idea of this came because I love designing and making things. I thought it would give everyone the opportunity to be really creative with everyday items and make their own unique, personalisable designs.
How has Eatsleepdoodle evolved over the years?
Beginning with the personalisable pillowcases and duvet covers, we have grown our range to include other stationery and textile products, from pencil cases and bags to placemats, tablecloths and branded wash-out stationery. We are continuously researching and expanding our range. We have even used Autumn Fair to launch our pondlife tablecloth this year.
When did Eatsleepdoodle really start to take off?
It’s taken around five years of solid work to get to where we are today. We’re all self-funded so it’s been ongoing work which has led to success, but an early milestone was when we won the ‘Best New Gift’ award at Top Drawer for our duvet cover.
How have you found a USP within the industry?
In an age of screens and short attention spans, Eatsleepdoodle create unique, thoughtful and educational gifts the whole family will love, and our products are useful and practical, too! Our latest addition is the colour & learn series, which inspires playful and imaginative learning through colouring in.
You don’t only sell in the UK… tell us more…
Our products have been sold all over the world. We export 55% of our products, as well as having a warehouse here and in the United States. We exhibit in Paris and New York, so have grown our products’ reach enormously in recent years.
How important is sustainability and ethical production?
In terms of ethically producing products, this is another big factor for so many now. Eatsleepdoodle is very sustainable in this sense as we use all cotton. Our products are designed to be re-used, re-customised and re-drawn, creating endless individual designs and creative freedom. We make sure our products are beautifully designed, of an excellent quality and long-lasting so our products can be used and re-used again and again.
Do you have any advice for those looking to manufacture sustainably?
It can be hard and time-consuming to find the right materials and manufacturers but this means you can grow solid relationships with trustworthy manufacturers who you can work with in the long-term.
What advice would you give to an independent retailer looking to start out?
You should be realistic about pricing from the beginning. So many presume new products won’t sell for a certain amount. You need to be good at your spreadsheets and do a cost profile for everything. Build in the margins. If you want to sell at different levels, in multiple places and on larger scales, you must have it right from the start.
The second piece of advice would be to network and ask people like us. We get people coming to us for advice all the time who want to export in the United States or do similar things and of course, we are happy to help. If you’re humble and ask for advice, you’ll be amazed by how many are happy to help guide you.
Karl McKeever, Founder and Managing Director of Visual Thinking, backed up the importance of personalisable products in retail. He said: “Brands are making customisation the heart of their products and stores. The consumer today wants personalisation and uniqueness. The ability to customise is growing faster than many other trends. It’s becoming more tailored to the Instagram generation, who will share pictures, reuse and speak about these products which they have personal ties to.”
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.