Today we indulge ourselves as we re-share this ‘client letter’. It’s one of the most wonderful ‘acts of kindness’ the SO team have experienced. It’s about our trend journey with a client before their new products actually hit the market. We’re as thrilled reading it now, as we were when it was sent to us … Our first ever customer (yes really!), Matthew Canwell, who was at the time of writing this ‘Director of Buying for Lakeland’ and is now ‘President International at Lifetime Brands.
It’s that time of year again, yes, you know the one, the beginning of the retail buying cycle, and we’re concentrating on Spring/Summer 2013. By the time we actually arrive at that point in real time (some 18mths from now), we’ll have had the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – a great success in its own right. We’ll be basking in the warm afterglow, memories of a sea of red, white, and blue. It feels like these COLOURS are everywhere at the moment, an overdue re-appropriation of the Union Jack. But, once we get to the Spring/Summer season we’re focused on, will this colour theme that has dominated our lives have passed? What’s next? What’s coming? Why? What will our customers want in their kitchens and their homes? It’s enough to wake you up in cold sweat!
But, rest easy, that’s why we’ve worked with the team at Scarlet Opus for many years. It all started with a pitching letter, you know the sort you often get, offering a service you don’t need that you file under ‘b’ (bin). But in this instance I’d worked with trend forecasters in a previous life in fashion, and knew of the value they can add; I hadn’t known of one in the homewares arena so the letter, far from being an unwanted intrusion, was serendipity.
We started slowly, with Victoria giving us some colour direction for our bathroom range, this has developed to the stage where the Scarlet Opus team now present key trends twice a year (we still do), helping us develop key colour schemes in between, in addition to design work and surface patterns – phew!
W I N T E R 2 0 0 9 C O L L E C T I O N
Over the time we’ve worked together we’ve developed a successful relationship that has helped us navigate the choppy waters that is the world of Consumer Trends. It would be easy to be dismissive of trend forecasting, indeed I’ve heard competitors talk it down. Great, if they aren’t interested, we are.
I’ve never known the team at Scarlet Opus to get a trend wrong, and they think hard how trends relate to us, and indeed, if they are translatable or not onto our product range. They are always happy (perhaps with a little encouragement) to pin their colours(!) to the mast as to what will be the important colour, pattern or material of the season for us, by product, category, whatever we need.
C H R I S T M A S C O L L E C T I O N
But this is no ‘Airy Fairy’ science. It’s not guess work, at least not that I can see. And that’s what my team and I really like. Trends based on fact, rationalised, obvious when explained. But oh my, the back work that must be involved in forecasting – knowing what films are coming out and when; key political meetings – where and when etc. etc. It’s a joy to sit with Victoria as she explains why these trends will happen. It’s compelling, entrancing, inspiring. And it works.
M Y L O N D O N R A N G E
So here’s the punchline – thank you Victoria et al, you always add value to our business. And for you doubters out there, don’t. Invest in Trend Forecasting, it’ll be worth it. And for any cynics, I wasn’t asked to write this piece, and certainly not paid; I did it because I felt I owed the team at Scarlet Opus for a job well done, and one that is much appreciated.
As we re-post this most wonderful of posts we again, give a HUGE thanks to Matthew for writing it and his really kind words about the work we did together.
We still work with the team at Lakeland (a treasured partnership for more than a decade now) and we’ve worked more recently with Matthew at Lifetime Brands with his team on their Creative Tops brand.
Why don’t you take Matthew’s advice and get in touch … he’s never wrong either!