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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pick a niche product to make

This sounds very obscure but it is not.  My idea is the following:

As a student of limited financial means, you should develop a specialty in something you can make: amazing fruit jam; a decadent dessert; funky scarves made from old T-shirts; beautiful photographs; etc. Of course you have limited time so pick something that comes naturally to you.

The idea is that by having this niche talent (but one that produces something tangible), you can use this same product over and over at different occasions, to show gratitude.  And since you will use it over and over, it’s better if the product is a consumable such as candies or candles, rather than large sculptures.

By making your unique products in somewhat large batches a few times a year, you will please many hosts (see my post of August 7th 2013 about being a great guest) as well as relatives at social events.  For example, if Ted makes great fudge, everyone will be delighted when he gives small boxes of his fudge to for their birthday.  As well, if Leslie produces calendars with photographs that she took at Christmas time, everyone will feel special that she thought about them and created a personal gift instead of buying a cheap gadget.  Ideas of what you can make are plentiful.  Here is a list to inspire you.

-       homemade food, especially anything sweet or savory snacks

-       plants in small pots – if you are good at growing them

-       candles, unscented (many people are now sensitive to perfumes)

-       photos or photo montages (calendars, notecards, etc.)

-       poems about the person who receives the gift – even 4-6 lines is enough

-       hand-knitted scarves (you can advertise for left-over yarn to get it for free)

-       drawings or drawing montages

-       anything monogrammed (people love seeing their name or initials on something)

-       non-precious jewelry

-       hand-crafted soaps

In addition to helping you being a great guest, you will be seen as more thoughtful and you will be able to use your niche product(s) to trade with others: trade some plants for homemade dinners (frozen) so you have more time to study or work; trade your photography talents at an event for free tickets or a meal at the said event; trade candles delivery to a restaurant for gift cards to the same restaurant.  The possibilities are endless!

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