We’ve heard a lot about the creative generation lately, much of it revolving around the online work this group does for free. As this trend begins to mature, we’ve seen that creatives are realizing the value of what they do, whether it’s video, blog posts, or graphic design, and are looking for ways to be compensated. Offline, artists and crafters who begin making objects for friends and family, and are encouraged to sell their work, usually end up at craft fairs, hoping some of those in attendance will see value in what they’ve created. An uncertain process to say the least, but one that’s been established for many years.
I recently came across a new site called Mintd, that bills itself as a “a global collaborative space for artists, designers and musicians to sell their work and connect to new markets.” The twist at Mintd is something called a “Lookbook.”
People buy products. They take photos of themselves or their friends with these products, and upload them to the site. Other users can browse these lookbooks, and link to the products the stylist has used. If they subsequently buy the products, the user who submitted the lookbook gets a commission from the price.
For a consumer, it sounds like an interesting site that could yield some real gems. When I look at it, however, I see it as a real resource for retail buyers. A whole Web site of interesting and unique objects aggregated in what amounts to an online showroom. But what if that buyer is from Target? How could an individual artisan ever hope to supply the large volume required? The Target buyer makes a simple introduction to her preferred China vendor, and everyone is off to the races. If it’s a resource for buyers, it’s competition for vendors. Another sign of how the mom-and-pop shop can compete on a global basis for business once available only to anointed suppliers with large logistical infrastructures.