We’re all individuals...
— Crowd in Life of Brian - Monty Python

Whether you're taking customisation, personalisation, bespoke creations or a tailored solution, there is a considered shift from mass market to unique products. Customers no longer want to keep up with the Joneses, individuality rules and owning something unique is a talking point. This trend explains the surge in niche and one off products and services - enter the world of niches and personalisation.

Chris Anderson identified this trend in his ground breaking book The Long Tail "we equate mass market with quality and demand, which in fact it often just represents familiarity, savvy advertising and broad if somewhat shallow appeal. What do we really want? We're only just discovering, but clearly starts with more".

Online tools now provide a range of capabilities only dreamed of previously with personalised creations now possible in everything from phones to jewellery and bikes to shoes. Here are my top picks of the online personalisation leaders.

Tiny Me

A range of personalised, custom made kids toys, books, puzzles, clothes and decals. Tiny Me was started by 3 dads - with 14 kids between them! 

Shoes Of Prey

The style leaders in personalisation, Shoes of Prey was founded in 2009 and provides a 3D designer for customers to choose the shape and heel height from 12 core styles, then choose materials from soft leathers, genuine snakeskin, fishskin or vegan leathers. They custom make, ship worldwide in 4 weeks and provide 365 day returns.

Original Stitch 

This San Francisco based start-up allows customers to choose from 300 base patterns, 12 button colours, 6 collar styles, inner collar colours and add monograms all in a simple interface.


Customise your Motorola Android phone by choosing the front, back, trim, case and engraving. Options include finishes such as leather and timber, right down to the colour of your wall charging plug. You can then preview in 3D before placing your order.

Trek Cycles Project One

Trek encourages customers not to settle for anyone else’s bike. Each Trek Project One bike is hand built and allows you to choose your model, components, styling and fit from thousands of options.

Emma & Roe

The personalised charm builder from Emma & Roe allows customers to start with pre-built designs styled by experts or to create their own designs from a range of over 800 charms.

There are challenges around how personalisation and custom designs can scale and ensuring that personalisation options are usable and kept simple. Customers want choice and can be paralysed into not making a decision and therefore not purchasing if it all gets too hard.

What are other great personalisation examples that you've seen? What would you like to personalise that you can't yet?