Monthly Archives: December 2009

News: What can we expect in 2010?

We know, every Tom Dick and Harry is posting a forecast for 2010…well we’d hate to disappoint! So when you’re planning your product ranges and marketing strategies this year don’t forget the 5 ‘Cs’….

1/ Craft

With the rise in popularity of craft e-tailers like Folksy and Etsy there has been a resurgence in interest in crafted textiles, furniture, wall art and ceramics. We’re experiencing a huge trend towards appreciating finely crafted and individual objects in a backlash to the mass-production and mass-consumerism of the past decade.  Watch out for naturally occuring irregularities – little mistakes are celebrated- and in some instances faked- to give that ‘made for me‘ vibe… Materials are humble and natural, the overall tone is simple, honest and friendly– this is not about the neo-green movement necessarily, it’s about giving hand-made gifts, supporting local craftspeople and having a desire for products that are individual and unique. We love knitted and crochet lampshades, ceramics with fingerprints on the base, felt fruit bowls, patchworking, embroidery- the list goes on….we’re also  desperately trying to get our hands on a copy of the Handmade Nation movie by Faythe Levine. The craft movement started off small but is gaining momentum rapidly and will become a mainstream concern in 2010…see our report on the changing face of retail where this movement plays a major part.

2/ Caution

2010 is widely thought to be a year of cautious restraint from a shoppers perspective, with most of us preferring to increase our savings and reduce our debt. With Britain now alledgedly the only G20 nation still in recession there is an air of suspicion and caution which makes us think twice before we buy. US Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner recently promised America that there won’t be another financial crisis in 2010. “We’re not going to have a second wave of financial crisis,” Geithner said in an interview with National Public Radio. “We’ll do what is necessary to prevent that. We cannot afford to let the country live again with a risk that we’re going to have another series of events like we had last year.” In terms of how this affects home interiors, watch out for a trend in trading-up where shoppers will look for true value, even if it means spending more on a product that lasts longer and is more hard-wearing. This isn’t about abstinance and frugality, it’s about spending wisely and having researched prior to purchasing to get the best deal.

3/ ‘Consumer’

Recently we’ve been talking to our clients about how they communicate with their customers. Notice we say customers– not consumers. It’s just a word, but it really describes the changes we’re experiencing in terms of how people are behaving. The word consume has such negative connotations with wasteful, thoughtless squandering which all of a sudden seems very distasteful (ever wonder why brands stopped representing themselves with mega-rich glamorous celebrities? Seems so last century! It just seems so vulgar now in the current climate to be promoting excessive and unattainable lifestyles…). Watch our for new, real role models….

4/ Customer Driven

Shopping will continue to be a more democratic exercise, and will be driven by genuine customer demand. We’ve been reading a lot about VPI, volunteered personal information; where individuals will offer up information about future purchases they wish to make, and invite companies to pitch for their business. Customer really is king in this scenario.  The concept of brands ‘hard-selling’ goods and customers passively consuming just seems so old-fashioned all of a sudden.

“2010 is about using the information and crafting content, product and trends that are perhaps dictated or even requested by the consumer,” she says. “It’s not about creating things you’re unsure if consumers want or not.”  says Sojin Lee, founder of Fashionair.com, a fashion Web site that deconstructs the catwalk for useful tips.

5/ Cocoon

Home is where the heart is for 2010, as people spend increasing amounts of time working, socializing and entertaining at home. Staying at home is also an important consideration for travel and vacation trends in 2010, as Americans say they aren’t likely to travel much more in 2010 than they have this year, despite optimism that they will from many Wall Street and travel industry analysts and industry leaders. A new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that only 16% plan to fly more or stay more often in hotels next year than they did in 2009. About 30% say they actually will fly less frequently and have fewer hotel stays because of the weak economy. Through 2009, evidence suggests that as we spend more time at home, there is a greater reliance on products that truly perform, clever storage solutions and flexible multi-use spaces and multi-functional furniture. We saw some great examples of this at the Northumbria University graduate show in the summer, where tables, chairs and even garments had a practical, adaptable and transient nature (below).

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News: People Power

We posted a link earlier this year about the changing face of retail, and have found some more interesting examples, this time they revolve around the concept of consumer interaction and consumer generated content. Voting, it seems is hot; we know the public love to vote (except perhaps in elections!) on TV shows, for their favourite musicians and acts, and we love this example of fashion by democracy at Modcloth where shoppers vote for their favourite designs to be put into production, taking the risk out of the buying process for retailers.

We’ve also found evidence of this in marketing as well as design, like the technology called Every1speaks developed by Kidology which allows school kids to communicate with the school heirarchy and make their opinions known through voting. Peter Hirst, Director of Kidology explains; “Kidology is a market research company that helps companies and organisations that aim what they do at young people to test thier ideas and innovations in a way that generates fun and learning within schools and amongst pupils.”

Peter explains; “Schools often find it difficult to encourage student voice when a culture of living down to peer expectation exists. Every1speaks is an informal tool that pupils can anonymously utilise to share their opinions about school and vote on ideas they think are worthwhile.  In our experience young people struggle to effectively voice their ideas as traditional forums like student councils are unrepresentative (i.e. only the ‘good kids’ take part) and speaking face-to-face with teachers is daunting.”

US based manufacturer Smart Furniture recently launched the  ‘SmartDesigner’ which enables customers to “plan, customize and purchase furniture in a way that was impossible before,” says T. J. Gentle, CEO and President of Smart Furniture. “If customers want to see how a particular chair or table will fit in their living room or office it is simple to visualize with the SmartDesigner, and if they want to find a fabric or finish that is ideal for their space, it is simple to customize the furniture to suit their preferences. For the first time, all of this can be done online, within your web browser.You can now design custom furniture, visualize it in your space, and order in minutes, all without having to deal with traffic, crowds, or aggressive salespeople. At Smart Furniture, we ask why not shop on your own terms?”

New Zealand-based Ponoko is offering consumers a new way to turn their creative ideas into real objects. After uploading their design to the website (in EPS file format), users can choose from a variety of materials. Ponoko then runs the design through a laser cutter. Besides offering access to professional tools to manufacture products, Ponoko also helps users bring their products to market.

A few of our favourite ideas from Ponoko, above.

We expect to see lots more examples of consumer directed product ranges and design on demand facilities across fashion and interiors. What can you offer to your customers to cash in on this customization trend?

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This Week We Love: The Domestic Goddess

We love this idea of fun nostalgic kitchenware it brings an uplifting mood to otherwise dull household chores. With the recession still influencing all our lifestyle decisions, we are cooking and entertaining at home rather than eating out. Watch out for bold primary colours mixed with pastels, ginghams, polka dots, coloured silicone utensils, posy florals, cup cake print motifs (we love the cup cake egg timer from Urban Outfitters, below) and witty slogans…


Images above left to right: apron by Urban Outfitters; jelly moulds by John Lewis; hamper gift set  by Marks and Spencer;  jam pot covers by John Lewis; silicone cake cases by John Lewis; rolling pin by John Lewis.

Images above left to right: flower printed apron by Anthropologie; anti odour tin candle by Cath Kidston; set of three measuring jugs by John Lewis; chocolate cake calender by Marks and Spencer; The Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book By Tarek Malouf; butter dish by John Lewis; floral scrubbing brush by Cath Kidston.


Images above left to right: polka dot apron by Anthrpologie; gingham apron by Anthrpologie; ceramic cup cake pots by Urban Outfitters; jelly cream mug by Marks and Spencer; I know How to Cook book by Ginette Mathiot; jelly cream recipe journal by Marks and Spencer; cupcake egg timer by Urban Outfitters.

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Satellite Trend: Storytelling

The trend for storytelling is something we picked up on for our Kids Lifestyle Trend forecast for Autumn Winter 2010/11. We love the design references to Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, conversational textile prints and quirky stories. We’ve found these great examples of how storytelling is influencing design in general but also specifically kids design.

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We love this kids game by The Small Object. To play, roll the dice which features images of objects, people or settings and tell a story based on the pictures that appear. Younger children can then circle the images on the Match and Write pad, whileolder children can write a story.

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6a00d8341c578853ef0120a59db9a0970c-400wiwww.thesmallobject.com

The Wonderland exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London also explores fairy tales, myths and folk tales from around the world. Featuring over 80 artworks, the exhibition includes depictions of much-loved European tales such as Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, as well as folklore from other continents. The varied cultural and geographical backgrounds of the 50 exhibiting artists are evident in the works shown, taking us to places of good and evil, quests and heroes, love and friendship. East London Printmakers is an independent collective of around 200 artist-printmakers based in Hackney. Until January 2010.

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We’re greatly anticipating the release of  Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland film due  5th March 2010 (USA). Click on the link to watch the trailer.

We also love the work of urban storytellers A Bit Crack whose popular Open Nights are for anyone who wants to share a yarn, tell a story, or just enjoy listening to others tell theirs. Products that engage consumers-particularly parents- through storytelling will be popular.

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This Week We Love: Birds

Birds have provided creative inspiration for several seasons and continue to be strong print motifs and icons for home interior products. Here are a few of our favourites- watch out for cute, highly stylised goldfinches and sparrows for Spring Summer 2010, and for darker, sinister birds such as magpies, ravens and blackbirds which are important for Autumn Winter 2010….

Keeping it light and fun for Spring Summer 2010….

Images above left to right:  bird flower holder by BCXSY; alarm clock by Balvi; goldfinch greetings card part of a set; bird ornaments by Hannah Turner, door knob by Anthropologie; print cushion by Ashley Thomas; set of three birds by Bosa.


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Kids Trends: Skull and Cross Bones

We know-pink for girls, blue for boys…it’s a that formula that works commercially but sometimes it just seems a little boring!! Check out these skull and cross bone print motifs as a way to add an edge to kids clothing and home products– 2010 is all about dark mythical and mysterious influences for kids products- we figured this is a great way to hook in to those darker trends while maintaining a friendly exterior! Black and white works best but you can always add a nautical red-white-and-blue palette for summer, or keep in girly by using pink with black and white.Images above left to right: Black plastic cup by Elodie Details; dummy by Elodie Details; babies bottle by Nordic Kids; white t-shirt by So Bright Designs; grey t-shirt by My Baby Rocks;  grey and black babygrow by Psycho Baby; red and white striped bib by Psycho Baby; tuxedo babygrow by Psycho Baby.

Images above left to right: hair slides by My Baby Rocks; striped knee high socks by Felicity’s Boutique; white t-shirt by Boo Boo Baby; white and pink baby booties by Ruby and Spike; white frill dress by My Baby Rocks;  fuschia pink babygrow by Psycho Baby.

Images above left to right: Red skull hoodie by Boden; navy t-shirt and skull print shorts by Bon Prix; skull and cross bones bedding by Marks and Spencers; set of three pairs of socks by John Lewis; skull and cross bones shoes by My Baby Rocks.


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News: Brands as Facilitators

In a previous post New Retail Ladscape Starts to Emerge, we talked about how retailers and brands might consider responding to future shifts in consumer behaviour as we start to come out of the recession. We’ve seen some great examples of brands borrowing from social online networking behaviours, and acting not as mass-producers; hard-selling their products, but as facilitators for customers. We love the concept at kids online retailer, Kaboodle, who have provided their customers with a direct line to Santa with an online wishlist service. Not only can they ‘friend’ Santa; they can share their wishlists with family and friends and request gifts from literally anyrwhere online.

Web retailers have only just begun to scratch the surface of combining selling with social connections and user-curation.

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