10 Tips for Product Inspiration by @SweetSoaps

by Ellen Cagnassola| Featured Contributor

People always ask me “How do you come up with all of your ideas?” Or “How the heck does your brain work?” I’m not sure but I can layout some common scenarios to shed light on the why and how.  One of the hardest aspects of entrepreneurship is maintaining a positive attitude.

Your positivity has a direct effect on your ability to be inspired and therefore highly creative.  When everything feels bad inspiration is dead and innovating is impossible.  When I get a really good idea my head starts to tingle and it feels like electricity throughout my body.  It is a feeling of elation or a state of euphoria if I had to name it.  A good analogy would be that rush of Dopamine in your body when you get goose bumps watching someone winning an Olympic medal.  Creative people have to work hard to stay focused and maintain a manageable level of inspiration without spinning out of control.  One of my business partners (a company I only design products for in major retail) refers to me as the lightening visionary.  He gives me a theme and I give him 12 products in an hour or less.  It was not always that easy for me but as you become more focused and discipline it can flow out of you like a river.

While having the ability to create products on the fly is a gift I am grateful for it is also a curse at times.  I become frustrated by the length of time it takes to get a product to market as it goes through so many stages of approval.  It is important to keep a journal of drawings and written ideas in one place.  This will serve you later as a source for inspiration during one of your low points.  I get a kick out of looking at an old drawing and getting excited again as if I didn’t even know I thought of it!  Putting them down on paper also frees up your mind, enabling you to go on to other things.

Performing mundane tasks like driving around town, I get some cranial action flowing.  I think the relaxed state in familiar surroundings opens up my gray matter.   You certainly won’t reinvent the wheel everyday but the more you practice the better you get like all things.  I want to end this paragraph by telling you the most game changing thing I do to keep my edge, I walk 5 miles a day 6 days a week.  It keeps stress to a minimum, stabilizes your mood, and makes weight management easy.  Just taking an hour in the beginning of the day, just music and my thoughts before the day starts is gold.  It sets the tone for everything that follows, good or bad.  It makes the good great and the bad a bump in the road.  Exercise is a natural anti depressant and when you look good, you feel good.  Confidence in your appearance is more important now than ever.  The age of small business video and social media requires us to come out from behind the curtain.  Here is my Wizard of Oz story, http://www.chicagonow.com/barefoot-in-the-burbs/2012/01/ellen-cagnassola-revealing-a-weight-loss-journey/

10 Tips to Bring Resuscitation to Your Inspiration

  1. List all of the things that inspire you i.e.; people, places, music, art, TV, radio, media, and family.
  2. Set aside 15 minutes in your day to review your accomplishments and feel the joy.
  3. Music might make a huge difference in your energy if you work alone.
  4. Make sure you get natural sunlight in your work space and get outside even if it’s only 20 minutes, especially in the winter.
  5. On a bad day go somewhere that brings you happiness, the visual helps lift you up.
  6. Exercise is so important!  Get out from behind your PC and move your butt!  The mental benefits are priceless.
  7. Reading current events is not only inspiring but it can get you to market first.  Early bird and the worm idea.
  8. Window shopping works wonders for me.  It gives you insight to color trends and ideas for other things that might be missing in a product line.
  9. Lunch with old friends.  It feels good and it feeds your soul.
  10. Eat right and sleep tight.  Stay away from processed foods and too much sugar.  Sleeping is important to your metabolism, mental state, and appearance.  Keep your over night bags in the closet not under your eyes.

Vision Boards

Every visionary needs a little structure with their inspiration.  Vision Boards are a good way to mix thought and imagery.  Perhaps a board is in order for a theme, trend or facet of your life that feels unsettled.  Putting it to paper and placing it in plain sight is a daily reminder of your goals.  It is easy to get pulled of track as demands in life and work chip away at our focus.

Examples of Vision  Boards.



Our commitment to made in the USA and creating manufacturing jobs in America remains paramount.  Ellen Cagnassola is also represented by Micah Johnson of Media Stars as an expert and analyst, http://www.mediastars.tv/media-talent/experts-and-analysts/ellen-cagnassola

Ellen Cagnassola, owner of www.sweetsoaps.com, creates unique soap and candles for the craft and gift industry.  Ellen designs product and packaging for mid sized and large companies in the US and Canada.  Sweet Soaps product development is cutting edge due to Ellen’s unorthodox approach to artistic expression.  In 2011 Cagnassola signed a licensing deal with a manufacturer that markets and distributes her soap kits and accessories to big box retailers.  Cagnassola’s ability to generate media interest for herself has landed her major media coverage.  Television placement on MSNBC “Your Business”, The Verizon Channel “Push Pause”, Daytime TV,NBC,CBS, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Print publications that have also done features on Ellen are Woman’s Day, Real Simple, Entrepreneur, Promo, Pitney Bowes “Priority Magazine”, The Newark Star Ledger, Patch.com, Foxnews.com, Nationalist Magazine,Trendhunter.com (1 of 33 most creative candles),CBS.com, Bride and Groom , American Express Executive Travel Oct. 2011 issue.  In November of 2011 Cagnassola was a speaker at The Brands Conference, discussing the use of social media in marketing products.  http://brands2011.140conf.com/product-development-the-bacon-soap-factor   In July 2012 Sweet Soaps was named one of the top Made in the USA product lines by Nationalist Magazine http://www.nationalistmagazine.com/magazine#!__magazine

Sweet Soaps has designed and manufactured for the following well known branded companies; Neiman Marcus Catalog, Horchow Catalog, Solutions Catalog, Touchstone Catalog, Nike, and Warner Brothers Studios.  Ellen has also marketed her products into the hands of celebrities such as Howard Stern, Kevin Gillespie of Top Chef, cast and crew of Two and a Half Men, and Ellen DeGeneres.  Sweet Soaps made headline news in 2010 for marketing Santa’s Coal Soap and becoming the #2 product on Amazon.com in the beauty category.  Sweet Soaps will continue to be marketed through luxury brands and retailers.  Sweet Soaps is #2 in Google searches for Logo Soap and is expanding this product by offering 2 sizes.

Our commitment to made in the USA and creating manufacturing jobs in America remains paramount.  Ellen Cagnassola is also represented by Micah Johnson of Media Stars as an expert and analyst, http://www.mediastars.tv/media-talent/experts-and-analysts/ellen-cagnassola

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2 Replies to “10 Tips for Product Inspiration by @SweetSoaps”

  1. Aisha Jones

    Great article. I think keeping a journal is a great idea. I also get a lot of ideas right before I go to sleep and first thing in the morning when I am coming out of dreamworld, so it is also a good idea to keep the journal close to bed.

    1. Ellen Cagnassola

      Yes that’s a great idea. Blogging is just the digital version.

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