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Guest blog: Spin 4 sourcing by Michael Emery

Classic yolk watch – By Arrk

A few weeks ago we welcomed Michael Emery from Spin4 to Creative Towers to tell us more about the site he and his business partner are starting up. Spin4 launches tomorrow – Friday 28 March – and to celebrate Michael’s here to tell us more about the products the site will be featuring and how he went about finding them. Over to you Mikey! 

Screen shot for Spin4's new site - we can't help noticing the colour scheme... have we seen that somewhere before?

Screen shot for Spin4’s new site – we can’t help noticing the colour scheme… have we seen that somewhere before?

My role for the company is primarily to source products for the website. We have a pretty strict policy when it comes to the products we allow onto the site; they must be high quality, affordable and unique. A tall ask some would say!

This proved to be a lot more difficult than I had originally thought. Firstly, what makes a truly unique and quality product, secondly, will people like it and thirdly, how do I get suppliers for these cool new products?

Classic yolk watch – By Arrk

Classic yolk watch – By Arrk

I came across a book called ‘Purple Cow’, written by Seth Godin. The first scenario he writes about is how if you drive down the motorway and see lots of cows grazing in the adjacent fields, you probably won’t tell anybody. However if you were driving along one day and saw a purple cow stood in the field, you would go and tell everybody.

Woodbuds iPad Case

Woodbuds iPad Case

Reading this book made me realize that these are the exact types of products that we need on Spin4! Godin later explained in the book that Purple Cow products have something truly unique that are obvious upon a first impression.

I quickly found that simply typing ‘cool unique products’ into Google is not a solution! This discovery led me to search deeper than the generic Google searches and to source a network of regular bloggers, small retail websites and like-minded people through various social networks and obscure websites. Going on my gut instinct as suggested by Godin I added them to my roughly scribbled ‘potentials’ list.

Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner

Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner

So now I was sat there with a list of products that I believed were really cool and unique, but how could I know if anyone else would like them? After all it’s more important that our customers like them than I do. We decided to set-up a few tests with some potential customers, asking for their immediate thoughts on a variety of pictures of products. It became clear at this point that an egg tray that tells your iPhone how many eggs you have left probably wasn’t the most creative invention in the world!

Pebble Aria Portable Charger & Speaker

Pebble Aria Portable Charger & Speaker

Once we had decided on which products we’d like on the website, it was simply a matter of getting in touch with their creators and being as persistent as humanly possible to make sure that we could sell them on our website, but in the end it seems like we’ve got a pretty good hoard of products that hardly anybody else will be selling online!

To check out these and other products, or to chat to Mikey and tell him that you also have fab products that he should be selling on the site, go to the Spin4 website.