For years the world has been dominated by large corporations and multinational brands, but in recent years that has all changed. The fall of the west, economically, changed everything in retail. The focus for customers has become price since they are all tightening their belts, but in the search for cheaper products, consumers are demanding better design. This led to cheaper brands becoming more successful, but in the process, many went out of business trying without success, to balance design cost with cheaper retail costs. And so the consumer moved on. Some moved to DIY and crafts, creating their own clothes and at the same time blogs, and some, in the journey to find unique clothing at a reasonable price found unique design ideas, smaller brands, and a whole host of unique across the world. Suddenly those who made ”crafty” goods and were before, slightly dismissed by the public, were suddenly popular, offering something different and new.
I’ll tell you how to make sure that your brand, large or small, doesn’t get left behind, but first, I want to put this into a context for you.
In June I returned to London, where I grew up. The shops and retailers that I always considered the leaders in design, offered only ”safe” items. Those who pushed boundaries and set trends were bland. I felt really disappointed, but to not make mistakes, buyers seem to be playing it safe in the designs they chose. I actually updated my facebook status to tell people how bored I was wandering around the shops. Where has the innovation gone? Where is the ”I need that NOW” appeal? Where is the beauty and design? Well it hasn’t gone, it has just moved.
In London, one of the oldest historical markets still exists. Spitalfields market, set in East London, in recent years has become known for its creative design. The area has always been part of the artist scene, and the market was always home to innovative design and creative people. Today, the, market and surrounding area is a vibrant, creative hub for those looking for something different [despite the renovation project that has created more “real shops”. I wandered down there in the hope that my belief in London’s fashion scene was still in tact. Luckily what I found was an even more vibrant, colourful and innovative fashion scene. The market was bursting with stall holders, hand-made items, unique designs and beautiful creations. What I noticed however was that there were many more smaller, individual stalls. Individuals who hand craft items for sale. The market always had this for as long as I can remember, but there was a definite increase in the numbers of people selling their goods, and definitely more people buying.
From my time in London and from my observations over the past 6 years, it is becoming more and more important across the world, that either for the love of a particular passion, through lack of other job prospects, or even because of the change in society, it is obvious that the world is moving back towards individual crafts. People creating their own products in some form and selling them to smaller numbers of devoted fans, and not large multinationals selling on mass. This has never gone away. Companies like Etsy and areas like Spitalfields have done very well for years now, but there is definitely an increase in sales and interest.
Now don’t misunderstand. I truly believe that the large companies that exist today will probably stay, but I very much doubt that there will be any new large multinationals. Large companies are just getting bigger as they buy other large retailers becoming umbrella corporations or are expanding into other countries to find new customers and when it is far easier today, than at any other time, to start a website, a blog or online shop, there will be far more people taking advantage of this. Through a need for creating a product, building your dream, or being your own boss, the ease of technology has allowed thousands of people to create their own businesses, and this trend does not look like it will slow down. So whatever you may make, wish to design or idea that you have, it seems that now is the time to try it out.
If you have a fashion brand yourself, or are looking to start one, then it’s important to notice the changing consumer trends around you wherever you are in the world. If you are in retail, whatever the product, the retail trends of your consumer are just as important. The difference in your location, how your customers shops and what they believe good design is, can vary and you need to know what those trends are and how they change.
For example, if any frequent shopper in Hong Kong was reading this post, they would have no idea why I was preaching to the choir, as the saying goes. High street multinationals here are always Western, because the culture is to buy ‘unique’. To buy from boutiques or markets [However. not necessarily hand crafted, although this has begun to change in the last 4 years]. The culture here is very different. Vintage is not something people like as they see it as old and a ”hand me down”, where as in London, Vintage is all the rage around Brick Lane. So where would you sell your vintage products?
If you sell online in parts of Asia or India, internet shopping is not the main way consumers shop. Whereas places like Australia and New Zealand, because of the vast areas of land and the distance for some people to get to a large shopping centre, the need for websites is very important. In America, people enjoy internet shopping because of their busy lives, whereas in other cities like New York, people enjoy the hobby of shopping. So for places like India, it’s still important to have information online, but there is no point focusing on an online shop and spending your time developing online marketing. Your time could be better spent getting your product into physical shops and in the public eye through events, but if you were selling in New Zealand, you need to make sure you are online, and you have a pretty good set up for delivery.
So before I give you 10 steps that will get you thinking about your own social trends, I just wanted to let you know that we have a specific “Trends” newsletter to develop your trend prediction skills and let you know about new trends. Simply Click HERE to join!
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Think about your own trends. The trends of consumers and their personal needs. So how can this apply to your business without thousands of dollars to spend on research? How can you take some steps to use this specifically for your business? Well here are the steps