Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SPOTTED: Owls Popping Up Everywhere

One of the first times I was camping, I spent it under a string of plastic owl lights strung under the awning of my soon to be in-laws’ Airstream. In the trend world, everything cycles and Owls are back- popping up everywhere for home décor.
Looking for a fresh approach on our designer love of birds, we’ve seemed to turn to owls. Their graphic silhouette translates well onto fabrics and motifs. The theme also plays well is our love of nostalgia and all things 70’s. After all, aren’t Mustard and Wasabi Green really just the reincarnation of avocado and gold?
Where: Home décor retailers, fabric houses, bedding, Ebay, jewelry,
Why: Their shape and form fits in with our love of graphic pattern; Nature’s inspiration-another take on our long standing love of birds; urge to rekindle childhood memories
What’s Next: More motifs of exotic or endangered birds playing off the green movement and environmentally conscious client. This could go either way- kitschy chic patterns or sophisticated designs a la Charley Harper or Audubon. Can pink flamingoes be far behind?
The owl is known for spying what others can't with its keen ability to see at night. The solar-powered Night Owl Floor Lamp by Rick Lee can help you find your way through the night.
Pottery Barn's Olivetta Owl bedding features this season's "it" bird sitting regally on pine boughs and blossoming flowers. The bedding translates the look of block-print artistry onto 100% pure organic cotton, woven to a soft percale. Plus, with an Oeko-Tex certification, you can rest assured knowing that no harmful substances were used in its manufacturing.

Charley Harper's Limited Edition Serigraph of owls. Can't afford the real thing? Check out Old Navy's Charley Harper collection . Old Navy's Creative Director Todd Oldham is a huge Charley Harper fan.

This wood veneer vinyl wall decal comes in 6 sizes priced from $4.00; what an inexpensive way to get your owl fix.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Cold enough for you? As I write this here in Illinois it’s 4 below zero – without the wind chill. These bits of energy information just came across my desk and they're worth talking to your clients about. Don’t forget to order samples. We all know that lining a window fashion enhances its beauty, protects it against the elements and extends its life. But did you know that using lining or lining and interlining raises the R- Value and helps out with energy costs?
Kasmir Fabrics recently provided these stats on lining :
Fabric plus Nightline (blackout) - increases R value rating by 43% over unlined draperies
Fabric plus Enhance- (napped sateen) increases R value rating by 80% over unlined draperies
Fabric plus flannel and Gem (lined and interlined) increases R value rating by 310% over unlined draperies.
Speaking of linings, did you also know that Designware has just introduced Prima Sateen All Natural. It’s 54” wide and 100% sustainable drapery lining finished without bleach, dyes and chemicals.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some Bedroom Inspiration

I am in the midst of reevaluating, rethinking and repositioning my business( like everyone else this time of year and in this economic climate). I came across this survey and it sparked some thoughts on an opportunity that might be out there waiting for you.
Hearst Home Group publishers of House Beautiful, O At Home, and Veranda among others recently did a survey hoping to understand the American consumer’s current and future design aesthetic; document the buying process for home related products—from inspiration to purchase and quantify current decorating and renovating activity in the American home. In so doing, Hearst identified a number of marketing opportunities for savvy home furnishings pros.

Among the survey’s key findings, “Affluent consumers are in decorating mode,” says Hearst Home Group Director Jeanne Noonan Eckholdt. According to Eckholdt, the survey found that “decorating is slightly higher on their agenda than renovating. And, the master bedroom is where the action is, in more ways than one!” (In the coming year, decorating activity in the master bedroom will increase by a whopping 74 percent over last year.) “Consumers’ desire for escape from a fast-paced, crazy world has driven them back into the comfort of their master bedrooms,” Eckholdt related. “More than ever, they want to make it a sanctuary from the rest of the world. Help them accomplish this, and you’ll gain a loyal customer
The survey showed that only one in 10 (11 percent) likes their master bedroom as is. Here’s the good news-some 42 percent seek new window treatments for the master bedroom of their dreams. But don’t just think in terms of the windows.

From Hearst Home Groups's Survey 2008

The Opportunity-In general, the study found that most consumers were NOT happy with the rooms that they lived in the most. They are ripe for marketing messages that communicate how they can resolve that. You can be the person to give them an end result they are happy with. Sell yourself not PRODUCT. Secondly, the survey found that most consumers will pay more if they believe the product will last longer; so market quality and exclusivity. The survey reiterated that consumers decorate over time. Build loyalty; develop longer-term relationship incentives to keep them coming back over a longer period of time. You can also appeal to consumers’ interest in unique items by incorporating limited-edition items or limited collections.

HOW?- Consider moving into positioning yourself in the soft furnishings niche. Do the research and get yourself up to speed on bedding, accessory and soft furnishings trends and resources. Check out retailers that own the market share to see how they are marketing themselves. Look for resources -Etoffe Makara, Fleur de Lis, Austin Horn and others- the high end bedding companies that don’t have minimums for designers so with a small upfront cost in sample books you can be in the category. Or forge an alliance with a quilter or workroom willing to help you create a semi custom private label line.
Position and market yourself as a bedroom expert. Look to develop packages using the tried and true good, better, best concept of window treatments and bedding. Name them cleverly using buzzwords that are touchpoints for your consumer- Spa, Private, or Sexy, romantic… Here’s my favorite example of a bedding package.
Bedrooms by Brynne has the following packages:
"All About The Love," package for couples getting married or couples just celebrating their love.
"The Upgrade," for those who are wishing to wash that old lover right out of the bed and have recently ended a relationship and are looking for a clean start or an upgrade.

"Bedroom In A Box," which acts as a blueprint guide for clients for a flat fee delivered in a lovely box. After one consultation for measuring and assessing the clients bedroom needs and one edit consultation, the "Bedroom In A Box," is delivered which includes a presentation style floor plan and furniture plan, samples of selected fabrics for furniture and window treatments, flooring samples, specs of furniture, decor elements found locally and online, and sources for carpenters, painters, drapery makers and artisans. This is the perfect option for clients who are on a budget and wish to project manage the room themselves in a discerningly timely manner.

Let me know if this has struck a chord and if you are considering getting into this niche;already have and how you're doing it. Finally, take a minute to answer our survey about business in 2009 and then look for the results early next year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome to the TrendSpot!

We think that trend watching is more than spotting the next new color, fabric, or hot designer. We believe it’s observing and understanding what’s driving the trend and then figuring out:
how it impacts your business;
how to counter any threats
how to capitalize on the next wave of opportunities.

The famed “cool-hunters” of the mid-90s were just one-woman shows, independent designers who noticed some interesting changes and realized there was an opportunity to be had. Recognizing and responding effectively to trends is great way to grow your business: it’s fun, it fits into your natural abilities as a designer, and it’s easier than ever.
So at the Trendspot,we’ll present and brainstorm consumer and interior trends. We’ll discuss what is truly driving each trend, and relate those findings to our industry and your brand. We’ll generate new ideas about what you can do to create a powerful brand and we promise to be thought-provoking and inspiring, always leaving you with not only fresh product knowledge in terms of design direction, but also forward-thinking ideas that aid in being a sustainable business today, tomorrow and beyond.

Finally, we invite you to be an integral part of this experiment. We want to hear what you have to say; we want to see what you’ve been spotting; we want you to join in on the collective design intelligence of the TrendSpotter’s community.