Millennials are being blamed for ruining everything. They don’t like the same things that we liked when we were that age. They don’t eat at the same restaurants we did. They don’t shop at the same malls we did. And they don’t even approach relationships the same way we did.
This is great for you!
Remember the days when your mom would make grilled cheese sandwiches with a couple of slices of individually wrapped American cheese and loaded with butter before it was toasted in a pan on the stove? When served with a can of tomato soup that was warmed on the stove (yes, this was before microwaves), you had a feast! Thinking about it brings back memories and evokes emotions of our childhood.
I remember when the first McDonald’s opened up in our town. My mother and I would celebrate me bringing home a good grade card with a Filet-O-Fish sandwich and a big orange drink. I was living like royalty!
The neighborhood went nuts when the Long John Silvers opened up. There were lines at the door for people waiting anxiously for deep-fried fish filets and they would argue over the crumbly bits left in the serving tray.
If there is one thing that I have learned from millennials (including my son) is that they are different. They think differently than we do and they are not afraid to state the truth. They all go their own way and are each developing their own distinctly different personalities without the peer judgement that I remember as a kid.
The only thing that I see that Millennials have ruined is our perceptions. We no longer take for granted the ads that we see about how good something is. We no longer shop based on price alone, but on value. We no longer choose our meals without thinking about carbs, transaturated fats and cholesterol. We no longer do things the way that they have always been done. We question everything.
How many of you would celebrate with your kids with a Filet-O-Fish? How many of you actually have American cheese in the refrigerator? If I am making grilled cheese, I will reach for the Gouda or Havarti. If I am really being rebellious, I might actually use both!
Millennials have taught us that we have options. Mass produced low-cost products are not the only game in town. With online services like eBay, Etsy and Amazon Handmade, or online shops that use Wix or Shopify, we have almost unlimited options on what we can buy. Millennials are shopping for value instead of cost.
Because of their distinctly different personalities, millennials all want something distinctly different. This is where you come in. The products you make are not mass-produced but hand-made. They know this. They appreciate this. They value this.
Your products are as distinct as you are. Whether it’s candles, soaps, leather goods, wood product, or whatever, your shoppers appreciate your distinction. They buy your products based on its distinct personality and the story (you) behind it. When they use the product, or show it to their friends, they share in the story of the product.
In my opinion, it has never been a better time to be an independent maker. It might be hard work and long hours, but millennials in particular appreciate and value your efforts. Keep up the excellent work!
See you at market!