August 29, 2019

Help me validate this idea? 99designs for Makers/Artisans

Deven Jarvis @devenjarvis

I know Indie Hackers isn't full of a lot of handmade makers/artisans, but this would be a marketplace and I really need validation help on the consumer side of the product.

With my current project, I've built up a familiarity with maker shops (handmade/craftsman products: typically sold on Etsy, boutiques, or directly. Mostly woodworkers at the moment.) and their problems. I think I've identified my current product addresses too niche of a problem for this group (I didn't do product validation upfront on this one, which is why I'm here now 😅) but I have identified a larger problem and would like your help validating it!

My idea: A marketplace like 99designs for custom handmade products. I'm trying to nail down the scope for an MVP, but let's just start with:

  • Only the contests feature from 99designs
  • Only shippable products (a lot of these shops do full-size furniture as well, but shipping is a beast on that one)
  • U.S. only (to start!)
  • Perhaps even start with very specific categories like 99desgins

The idea would be that anybody could go on, and start a contest for something custom they would want to be built with their requirements, total price, and the timeline for delivery. These shops would then provide mockups and prototypes, and the customer would then select the maker who's style, price, and delivery time meets what they are looking for. At that point, the maker would complete the project and ship it to the consumer. This is similar to what you'd go to Etsy for, but Etsy puts the work of getting mockups and quotes from makers on the customer (which means it's far less likely to happen).

Anywho, I have a good enough network now I can validate this idea with the makers (I think it addresses a large pain point for them) but I really need help validating that this is a marketplace consumers would actually be interested in? This would be different than the typical Amazon/Etsy interaction and I'm not clear yet on how that would be adopted and/or if the contest idea needs to be reshaped to work in this vertical.

RIp it apart, or tell me it's awesome, or just let me know everything I'm not thinking through. I love critical feedback, and I want as much as I can get this time! Thanks IH!