Lakeland’s Trend Journey

Today is the first in a new category of postings that sees us take the trend journey with our clients before their new products actually hit the market.  We’re thrilled to welcome to the Trends Blog today one of our most valued clients, Matthew Canwell, Director of Buying for Lakeland.  We’ve been working with Matthew and his wonderful team for over 5 years, presenting the trends to help both inspire and inform the buying process.

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, we’ll have had the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – both acclaimed great successes in their 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 that has been happening for the last 4 years.  But, once we get into 2013, 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!

Clockwise from top left: Skyline apron £14.99; Street Party napkins £3.49; Knitannia jug £8.99; Knitannia roaster £9.99; Britannia Floral oven gloves £11.99; Knitannia mug £4.99; Street Party collection; Skyline apron £14.99.  Background image: Vintage Jubilee textile design

But, rest easy, that’s why we’ve worked with the team at Scarlet Opus for more than 5 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 predictors 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 team now present key trends to us twice a year, helping us develop key colour schemes in between, in addition to design work and surface patterns – phew!

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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 colour trends.  It would be easy to be dismissive of trend prediction, 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 of the season for us, by product, category, whatever we need.

 C H R I S T M A S  2 0 1 1  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 prediction – knowing what films are coming out and when; key political meetings – where and when etc. etc.  It’s a joy to sit with Victoria, Shelley, and Phil as Victoria 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

Left to right: Cake tin duo £19.99; Storage tin £9.99; 4 Coasters £4.99; Mugs £4.99 each; Cheeseboard £9.99

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 prediction, 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.

HUGE thanks to Matthew for today’s posting and his kind words about the work we do together.  Lakeland offer free delivery on all orders over £30 so be sure to have a browse through their latest online catalogues, I’ll most certainly be purchasing the Red Leicester Square cheeseboard – LOVING!    

Yesterday was the first day of the much-talked about, new Design-Art event, Design Days Dubai; I headed over to Emaar Boulevard in Downtown Dubai and WAS NOT disappointed.  So many fabulous pieces on display, in a wonderful location and – something new for Dubai: a super enthusiastic and inquisitive audience.  It was wonderful to see so many people truly enjoying and interacting with design: students, designers, media professionals, design lovers.  I’ll be back at the show this week to bring you a full report jam-packed with fantastic images next Monday.  See you all then!

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