Monday, January 30, 2012

Game Changers

Riviera Set of Two Wall Sconces

When I begin to look for a new category to design and develop product for, the first thing I do as part of my process is to look at the marketplace in as many retailers as possible to determine what is missing, that is what techniques, or function, or even scale are the current offerings not representing.  This can be the seed of an idea which will transform a given category even if only a little in the beginning.  
We, as designers cannot always transform the world with game changing ideas; most of the time we are lucky if we can move the needle one mark at a time until we have transformed a category.  A car is ultimately a thing that carries people from place to place and has a steering wheel, motor, and four wheels.  No matter how many design changes take place, in the end the final product is still a car.  The same is true for most mature categories;  in this case wall sconces.
Many years ago, we at Pomeroy, had tremendous success with a very simple wrought iron wall sconce called Riviera.  This was a new idea at the time; not that a wall sconce was a something new;  it was new because we came up with the idea to create a set of two and include candles to create more value in the box, and to this day I am convinced that the item sold as well as it did because of the added value of the candles.
This product concept would be the beginning of a long line of gift box decorative candle lighting products which would transform our industry and continues as a product category to this day; and while there are products which will be game changers for categories of product, more often it is small continuous innovations which breath new life into a mature line of product.