A week or two back I participated in PromoChat, a great discussion from PromoKitchen that happens every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST on Twitter. One of the questions in that particular week’s chat was how you could sell your products as keepsakes that would stand the test of time and still keep your customers coming back again and again. My answer to that question was as follows:
Focus on the fact that you’re creating a memory or preserving a special moment with something people can hold in their hands and cherish forever. There are always more special moments that deserve recording.
One of the things that people selling sublimation forget is that it’s not just a way to put a name on a mug or a picture on a mousepad. It’s also a method by which memories can be captured and keepsakes created. Yes, some of these items might be one of a kind keepsakes, only special to the particular person that commissions the work, but one of a kind generally comes with a premium price.
Humans are, I think, in some respect hardwired to be collectors. Maybe it’s shot glasses or spoons. Could be dolls or dice. People have collections of postcards, playing cards and scorecards. The one thing that holds a collection together is that the particular items are linked to a particular memory. It could be a memory of place that was visited. It could be a memory of a much loved person who is no longer around. Often it’s a memory of a time, a wedding, a baby’s first Christmas, a graduation or a retirement. The items we collect and keep and cherish may have no significance or value to anyone other than us, but it’s our relationship to the items and the memories they symbolize that makes them valuable.
People who sell sublimation can often spend a lot of time debating what to make and how to sell what they make. One of the things they can fail to take into account when figuring out what they’ll offer is what it is they’re actually selling. Yes, they’re selling cutting boards, or water bottles or necklaces, but they’re also selling memories that can be touched and held forever.
Photos fade. Paper degrades. Letters and pictures and postcards eventually will become nothing but dust. The mind forgets, or gets filled with new memories. You think you’ll never forget that adorable, perky, ears up alertness when your childhood dog wanted a treat, or the beautiful sunrises at the cottage where your family summered when you were a kid, but those memories will get less clear over time. A sublimated keepsake freezes that memory, and gives it a physical form. It’s something your customers can hold and hug and keep forever.
So when you’re selling sublimation, remember that you’re selling more than a belt buckle, or a puzzle or a keepsake box. What you’re really selling is a aide-memoire, a help in remembering a place or time or person that is special to the customer purchasing the item. Memories can be fleeting or fade, but a sublimated version of that memory will last forever. And the best thing of all is that there are always new memories to be captured.