We are at a critical time of the year: parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school or daycare. This is usually a challenging event — both emotionally and logistically — but this year, the stakes are higher than ever before. That’s because in most parts of the United States, children are going back to school even though the COVID-19 pandemic is not under control. Needless to say, this has created unprecedented levels of anxiety, as working parents try to juggle their careers, their children’s education, and the safety of their family and friends. It’s fair to say that there’s never been a crisis quite like this in our lifetime.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is for people in indoor spaces to wear masks. Regulations on wearing them vary by jurisdiction, but most schools and daycare centers have policies to protect children from the spread of a highly contagious, and potentially lethal, disease. Unfortunately, masks can be irritating to wear, and they are perceived as not particularly cool. As a result, many kids don’t feel comfortable wearing them, or take them off at some point during the school day.
The good news is that we can take steps to change this. Imagine if kids’ face masks were actually fun to wear! In fact, that’s exactly what personalizing masks does. Instead of requiring kids to wear boring, uninspired designs, they can actually create their own look. Kids who like superheroes might go for a spiderweb motif, while others could choose tropical fish, unicorns, or smiley faces. There are so many different options.
The main advantage to this approach is that it gives children choice. As a parent myself, I can tell you that kids are much more likely to support something that is at least in part their own decision. Personalization also goes beyond traditional choice. Instead of allowing kids to choose from one of 10 designs, they have an entire universe to select from. What a great way to let them express their individuality while keeping them safe and protected.
The main problem with customization has always been quantity. Most companies that make customizable gear, including coffee mugs, stickers and corporate swag, require a minimum order for production. As a result, it’s never really been practical to get a 100 percent customized item without paying exorbitant fees. The alternative for this has usually been the DIY approach. This certainly solves the cost problem, but the quality of the items may suffer. It’s really a no-win situation.
Or at least it has been until now. That’s because printing technologies have evolved to the point where time-consuming setup is no longer necessary. As a result, the economics of commercial printing have changed enough to make it possible to print one-of-a-kind items at a cost usually associated with mass production.
This could not have come at a better time. Kids need to wear masks to stay safe in daycare centers and schools, and there’s no better way to enforce a mask policy than for kids themselves to want to wear their masks. Thanks to customization, accomplishing this is as easy as 1-2-3.
Andrew Witkin is the founder and CEO of StickerYou, a global, e-commerce leader in custom-printed, die-cut products that empowers consumers and businesses to create high-quality materials for personal expression, marketing, and packaging.
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