In pre-industrial days, artisans poured heart and soul into the items they carefully crafted. Provenance and attention to detail were the hallmarks of their bespoke trade.

Fast forward to 2017 and technology is enabling personalisation at an ever increasing rate

Brands like Nike ID, The Daily Edited and Mon Purse were some of the first to open up gaps in their production processes to allow consumers to add their personal touch, be it a colour change or a monogram


But now new age businesses are paving the way for consumers to take control of more complex product development projects

Whether you’re into surfboards, skateboards or snowboards, Disrupt Sports has established relationships with a complex web of manufacturer suppliers so that a customer’s designs are dropped straight from their website onto the factory production floor


Says founder Gary Elphick “On demand manufacturing and customisation allows you to always be on style trend and show off your personality in a meaningful way.”

There is a role for custom made in the post mass production era across every vertical

Customisation is a natural benefit for consumers. The beauty for retailers is the removal of working capital and zero discounts

Amazon certainly knows it.

In April, Amazon received an intriguing patent for an “on demand” apparel manufacturing system, which can quickly fill online orders for suits, dresses and other garments. Here’s how it would work.

And as 3D technology advances, custommade 2.0 will even migrate into the home.

Companies like Shapeways and Vodoo are offering consumers platforms to design or access CAD plans and 3D models. They also offer access to high volume, small batch 3D printing.

So now a consumer’s dream really can become reality


Nike itself has made significant investments in 3D technology. While Nike are using 3D printing in their own production processes, they have also publicly stated they foresee a future when consumers will buy a Nike Shoe design to print themselves

The question then becomes, how much does a consumer pay for a 3D design?

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Personalisation is on an exponential growth path. It has a natural benefit for consumers. For retailers it has a lot to offer. It builds deeper connections with consumers while at the same time the on-demand nature of personalisation reduces the need for working capital

Author Nerida Jenkins

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