I would venture a guess that almost every successful coach in history has, at one time or another, pushed students to not only out-work the competition but to out-think them as well.

Unfortunately, while there are many excellent leaders in the print-on-demand community, we don’t have these individuals over our shoulder all day as we make Merch By Amazon tshirts. So if we want to be pushed to not only out-work but also out-think the competition, we have to motivate ourselves to do that.

I bring this up today because I’ve developed a sudden and overwhelming animosity for gardening.

Yes, gardening.

Why? Because in the last week alone, the gardening bug must have bitten an awful lot of Merchers. You see, I’m getting messages left and right from sellers asking me to review and critique their gardening-related designs.

I was happy to oblige. But I’m no longer happy. I’m irked by all the imitation.

In almost every instance, the designs I reviewed were practically indistinguishable from one another. There were lots of “Sometimes I Wet My Plants” and “I Need Some Peas and Quiet” designs, among other overused and obnoxiously repetitious memes and jokes.

I hate to be a garden party pooper, but when it comes to stale gardening puns, party thyme should be over.

Ok, so I’ll be honest. I don’t actually despise gardening. I just can’t stand gardening tshirts that belong buried, not planted on Merch By Amazon.

In my opinion, we don’t have a creativity problem in POD today, we have a creativity crisis. To an extent, it’s always been there, but it’s getting worse. And the latest niche to see an uptick in uninspired messages and designs is gardening.

Does this mean you should avoid the gardening niche on MBA or elsewhere in POD? Just the opposite. In fact, I’m writing this today not as a warning to dodge gardening but to embrace it. It’s not only one of the most popular and profitable niches in POD, it’s also desperately in need of new ideas.

Need some creative inspiration? Here’s one entry from my personal list of gardening niche tshirt ideas that other Merchers haven’t touched to an adequate extent — if at all.

As you may have observed, whenever friends and family members refer to their gardens or the gardens tended to by someone they share a home with, the garden is almost always referenced in personalized terms — “Mom’s garden,” “Dad’s garden,” “Sarah’s garden,” “Robert’s garden,” “Grandma’s garden,” “Grandpa’s garden,” etc.

We simply don’t make enough garden-focused tshirts using the language we all use to refer to the gardens and gardeners we know. Conspicuously absent on Amazon are designs that make any such attempt at personalization. For example (not checked for compliance):

  • Nobody Bother Grandma When She’s in Her Garden
  • Dad’s Vegetable Garden is Open to Family and Closed to Deer
  • Mommy’s Garden is for Sunshine and Wine
  • No Disturbing Amanda in Her Garden
  • Gloria’s Garden is Glorious

Despite all the competition and clutter, even the gardening niche remains fertile ground for expansion with unique messaging angles and ideas that few others have explored.

At the end of the day, we all must be our own self-motivating coaches. When we are tempted to make or re-make designs that already exist on Amazon, the inner coach voice needs to speak up, reminding us that we can do better and create something nobody else has.

On Merch By Amazon, there is no such thing as a niche out of room for new ideas and creative energy — even gardening.

Can you dig that?