“Do it yourself” (DIY) may not actually be that new a concept but it certainly is a trend which we have recently started to come upon pretty frequently. DIY is the term used to define building, modifying and repairing anything without getting help from the experts and professionals. The term had emerged around 1912 for the first time and started to be frequently used in the 1950s. At those times, it was mainly used in order to define home improvement projects that people implemented themselves, whereas today, after undergoing quite a dramatic change, DIY dominates a 29 billion USD artisanship industry and appeals mostly to young adults under 35 years of age.
DIY first appeared in Turkey when especially women who spend most of their time at home started to produce items trying to reproduce what they had seen at stores, customizing them according to own taste and style and introducing something new. This concept, though it may sound unfamiliar in the first place, has actually been part of our lives for a long time. It started in our country in the 1980s with the short “do it yourself” TV infomercials, mostly prepared for the purpose of developing a sense of economizing, broadcasted on TRT. However, the real impact came years later when Derya Baykal started converting old objects into new and useable ones on her TV shows.
Lately, web sites are sharing plenty of inspirational and instructional content regarding this trend. Many “do it yourself” recommendations can be found in numerous fields from recipes to jewelry making or furniture building. A large number of channels on YouTube create content in this context. These “do it yourself” products then can be put up for sale on web sites such as Etsy. Moreover, even the failed “do it yourself” attempts do roam the internet just for the fun of it.
On the other hand, it is possible to find not only ideas but also lots of sets and kits on some platforms for you to create things yourself. These kits and sets vary from paint and white wash to candle making at home or home textile and decoration items. All these allow those who have an interest in “DIY” to both be informed and put it into practice.
What lies behind this philosophy is customizing, producing without consuming or recycling while consuming. This financially convenient trend is at the same time one of the reasons for the emanation of the term “prosumer” that we shall be hearing a lot from now on.
Prosumer is a derivative of the words “producer” and “consumer” which denotes that the consumers in the developing world have transcended beyond being in a position where they merely consume and into becoming producers themselves. With the technological advancements, DIY renders the consumers -who have so far been passive for years- active by giving them the right to speak in the product development phase.
The primary reason why the “DIY” trend has become so popular can be explained through a scientific theory that is known as the “Ikea Effect”. ** The research conducted by Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, and his colleagues, reveals that people value products which they have contributed in their making disproportionately higher than those they have not. According to an experiment, people regard the origamis that they have done themselves (no matter how crooked they may be) to be much more valuable than the ones done by a professional and they quote prices as high as the professional ones for their origamis.
Another reason is the innately “customized” nature of the “do it yourself” products. According to a research conducted at Texas University, people feel more special while using products of their own making because nobody else has those products. For that matter, people can’t help but embrace what they have created.
The last psychological yield of this trend is that people feel pleased and satisfied with themselves once the production is completed. They think that they have done a good job – no matter what the end result is – insomuch that some research results even suggest that the DIY trend is becoming addictive because of this impression.
Brands that benefit from the DIY trend want to play a creative role in the brand perception in people’s minds and offer creative and sensory experiences beyond the moment of consumption. One of the most important examples of this is Ikea which has lent its name to the “Ikea Effect”. Ikea, by giving the materials to the consumers and asking them to assemble the end product, ensure that they produce something both more affordable and more valuable from the consumers’ point of view.
Other brands, although by nature they may not directly supply products that would respond to the “do it yourself” trend, seek to draw advantage from the impetus of this trend through marketing methods that would appeal to the motivations underneath this trend.
For example, even though applying nail polish or putting on lipstick are not as tricky as building one’s own furniture, they may sometimes become burdensome for which one may choose to seek help from professionals. Maybelline, while promoting its products, shares information and videos on applying nail polish and putting on make-up and encourages its consumers to “do it themselves” and hence as a brand tries to keep up with this trend.
When it comes to the customization aspect of “do it yourself”, we discern some operations of numerous brands. For instance, McDonald’s allows customers to order from a tablet-like kiosk where they can customize everything and “prepare their own burger”. In a similar approach, Starbucks has been customizing its drinks and even serving them with customers’ names on the coffee cups for years. Nike has added “customization” services for its outstanding models at the store and on their web site, allowing its customers to design their own shoes.
We wanted to conduct a research to observe how the “do it yourself” trend reverberates in Turkey. Our research comprised of 100 females and males who are 18-40 years of age, AB/C1/C2 SES and live in İstanbul.
When we read them the definition of the “do it yourself” trend and asked whether they had heard it before, 52% of people we interviewed said that they had heard it before. When we asked them what they thought about this trend, the majority of the consumers expressed a positive opinion and commentated that it “enhanced creativity”, “was economical” and “was more efficient”. A small number of people expressed an adverse opinion saying that “there was no such need when there were readymade alternatives available”.
41% of the interviewees said that they had already given the “do it yourself” trend a try. When asked about what they had done, there were a variety of answers but the most common ones were “decorative objects”, “furniture”, “accessories like jewelry and bags” and “textile goods such as dresses”. Other than that, a wide variety of items such as “children’s toys”, “climbing/scratching posts for cats” or “a tool to be used for sundrying tomatoes” were mentioned.
Among the reasons why the interviewees did these items themselves are “passing the time”, “hobby”, “cutting down costs”, “learning”, “sale” and “being productive”.
When the positive aspects of this trend were questioned, it was referred to be “an entertaining and enjoyable occupation”, “financially advantageous”, “shapable as required”, “a source of motivation”, “allowing for self-development”, “a source of pride”, “using that which they made themselves being more pleasurable”.
When asked of the negative aspects of this trend, most of the interviewees remarked that there were none but few mentioned “not finding the time needed to be engaged in it”, “possibility of not being able to do it right” and “hardship of finding the materials”.
Nearly half of the interviewees follow the programmes and platforms that contain videos and photographs about “do it yourself”. They follow this trend mostly on the internet and “YouTube” and “Facebook” were the platforms that are mentioned the most. Among the others were “Pinterest” and “programmes on home decoration”.
10% of the interviewees said that they could recall brands promoting the “do it yourself” trend. When asked of such brands, “Ikea” was the dominant answer which did not come as a surprise. “Koçtaş” and “public education courses” were among the others.
Regarding the customization aspect of the trend, 38% of the interviewees indicated that they owned a customized object. When asked about these, a variety of answers were received, some of which being “energy wristband”, “cabinet”, “model ship”, “frame” and “bookshelf”.
When asked why it was important to own a customized object, some of the answers received were “because I did it myself”, “because it is not fabricated” and “it would be something to identify me with, people would only see me having it and remember”.
When we asked them whether they could recall any brands that offered alternatives to customize an item, 9% of the interviewees said that they could. “Samsung”, “Ikea”, “Sony”, “Zara”, “Mavi” and “vehicle brands” are the brands that were mentioned.
As a conclusion, “DIY” is an important trend today for both creating a new market and encouraging people to become enterpreneurs and for accentuating “production” instead of “consumption”. When people see their own touch on a product they buy, they feel connected to it and in the end these products (and brands) matter a great deal to them. For brands, it is a trend that is easy to put into practice and has a great impact. We believe that brands will take it into serious consideration upon seeing how widely DIY is being put into practice and how positively it is adopted.