As the world comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people around the country are starting to open their homes up to gatherings, and in doing so, the need for the proper decor is more needed than ever.
As of this writing, the global home decor market is valued at $616.6 billion, and is estimated to reach $838.6 billion by 2027, registering at a CAGR of 3.9%.
With more people than ever before buying decor and goods online, products like signs, rugs and furniture have seen dramatic increases in sales via ecommerce.
Leading the way in the at-home sign and art sectors is a company in Texas called Lone Star Art and its founder Norm Lanier. Through new technology and a growing demand, Lanier has seen his companies sales and demand increase during the pandemic, especially now coming out of it. “Today’s technology has been a tremendous asset. It has allowed us to put images on all sorts of materials like metal, canvas, and wood. Not only that, but we can now print on a one-off basis. This print-on-demand ability lets us offer thousands of designs to our customers that they can then add customized elements to. Technology has helped us produce more which then helps our customers be able to find the art that perfectly fits their home,” reveals Lanier exclusively to us here at Disrupt. He continues, “I think for a lot of companies the pandemic brought a great deal of uncertainty. No one really knew what was going to happen when it all began and what it meant for the future of your business. However, when the lockdown was first announced and I told everyone to stay home, I knew for certain that I wasn’t going to be laying anyone off and that paychecks would continue. I chose to view the lockdown not as a challenge, but as an opportunity. During that time, I was able to build a dedicated store, http://www.lonestarart.com. Lockdown had so many people working from home. Spending more time in the house and looking at the bland walls inspired some updating which we were happy to help with. Once everyone was back at the shop, we were pleasantly surprised to see our sales had surged. As our sales grew, we grew. We invested heavily into people, equipment and expanding into other channels.”
With this mindset, Lanier has seen his company grow and continue to offer new products to willing online customers who bring a little fun and excitement into their homes with his offerings. But that doesn’t mean Lanier has stopped being inspired and continuing to create new things. “Over the years, I’ve developed an eye that lets me see inspiration everywhere. We’ve created new products with ideas from memes, t-shirts and even old neon signs. We always start with an idea and then twist the idea around to make it our own. However, there’s one crucial step when it comes to developing new ideas, listen to the customers. It’s some of the best advice I have ever gotten from a business standpoint. You always create products with the customer in mind and what they want from the get-go.”
As for Lanier’s advice for other companies trying to scale and utilize the online marketplace these days to achieve the same success, Lanier exclusively revealed to us his advice:
“Data – I use tools to see what product categories are popular and then I go about creating products that fit that niche. So many starving artists create art just for themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to be successful, you need to create art your customers want. By having a customer-focused approach, we increase our odds of a product that will sell well. Not that we don’t have flops. We have those too. That’s just part of the game. Not every design is going to be a homerun. You can do well just getting singles when you have thousands of designs available to the market.
Keep things simple to start. I see so many people wanting to get into ecommerce that get bogged down in trying to set the business up without ever knowing if they have a product customers are interested in. They get a logo designed, business cards printed, set up a Shopify store, etc. People should just list a product on Etsy or eBay and just see if you can get a sale. Nothing will motivate you more than making that first sale to a stranger.”
The world is changing and our homes are opening up. And whether you are a buyer or someone looking at entering the marketplace, be aware of the trends and strategies you need to put into place to have success with whatever product(s) you offer your consumers. Lanier and Lone Star Art disrupted his industry, and there is no reason you can’t do the same!