What does OOAK Mean?
A common question I receive is about OOAK. What is it and what does it mean. I will bet a lot of customers see the term all the time in listings and do not know what it means. Here is what you need to know about OOAK.
What does OOAK stand for? One of a Kind.
What qualifies as One of a Kind? I would reserve the use of the term OOAK in your titles and tags for truly one-off pieces. While it is true that each item you make by hand is going to be slightly different, each one is not truly one of a kind. Something that is truly one of a kind is totally different than any other item. If you either will not or cannot make a duplicate of an item then it can be considered one of a kind.
What is an example of something that is OOAK? Paintings that will never be reproduced in any way. That does not mean you cannot offer prints though. Items using recycled or vintage components that cannot be found again to make another exact item. Custom pieces that you do for a customer are usually OOAK. You would not make the same one for someone else. Doing one of your handmade items in a custom color could also mean that piece is one of a kind.
Should you put the keyword OOAK in your titles? I think it is a good idea. Eventually the term is going to get overused, but it can signify that a particular item is more special. Not everyone searching knows what the term means and since the term is not too specific, do not not use it as the first keyword in your titles. Use the most important descriptive keywords as the first words in your item titles.
What you should not do – You should not remake an item that you sold to a customer as one of a kind. Honesty aside, it will hurt your reputation and sales. One angry customer that feels like they overpaid for an item they thought was OOAK will broadcast to everyone they know what you did to them. You do not want someone Googling your name and finding pages full of complaints on forums.
How do you price something that is OOAK? Generally speaking something that is one of a kind is worth more. Some of that has to do with scarcity. There will never be another. That can make it more valuable. From a construction standpoint something that is OOAK is going to take longer to make than an item you have made before. You may have to do sketches, templates, make a fixture, or even a prototype of the design just to make the first finished item. For items you plan on reproducing you will already have these things figured out so you can spend all your time just building the item. You may need to ask more for a one of a kind item to justify the hours spent.
Should I have an entire stored filled with one of a kind items? You definitely can and that can be completely normal depending on what you make. I personally prefer to have some OOAK items along with other designs that I am willing to reproduce. One of a kind items can draw attention to your store or website and can also display your abilities. The downside is you will have to take new photos and write new descriptions for every OOAK item and you will be starting from scratch on each one. You will also have to have a lot of ideas and will have to keep coming up with new designs to keep your store full.
What about having a series of OOAK items? Even if you only make 2 of a certain design I would not call them one of a kind items. It would be a limited edition. Still unique and rare, but by definition, not one of a kind since there is more than one of the same exact piece.
Other tips – Include a certificate of authenticity that states that your handmade item is “1 of 1,” signifying that it is the only one of its kind. When you use the term OOAK in your titles or listings, explain what it means in your description. You want customers to know that their item is indeed one of a kind and that you did not just use the OOAK keyword to get their attention.
Good luck with your handmade business