While we encourage retailers to know their customers and find products suited to their niche, we also know people love to seek the next-big-thing and remain enamored of all things trend-related. So, in the spirit of being trendy, we watched, read and researched everything from major forecasting services to design blogs to paint company predictions (plus about 327 other sources) to come up with an overview of concepts worth keeping on your purchasing radar for 2011. Here’s a glimpse into just a few inspirations and ideas:
Down on the Farm: Look for colors inspired by the vegetable garden as well as rich, fertile farmland. Rough-hewn textures balance with rich embroidery and delicate florals. Stone and mineral finishes offer another element. Whites are buttery and milky. But natural doesn’t have to mean just rustic; look for sophisticated organic interpretations. This also plays into an overall environmental influence and ongoing green movement.
Escapist Dreams: Surreal, transparent, hazy looks offer a departure from reality. Pearlized, smoky, chalky – all bring to mind a dreamlike state of light and shadow. It’s both angelic and sensual. This can be shades of white as well as mauves and grays along with candied fairy tale colors.
Tribal Influence: Ethnic, primitive prints aren’t new but invoking symbols, maps and cultural icons creates a modern urban chic. A bold palette with mixed patterns adds richness to any décor. Be careful about overuse. In this case, a strong statement piece can be enough to all a multi-cultural element.
World Order: Strong structural elements using both black & white and primary colors can be both modern and traditional. Contemporary doesn’t have to be cold when pieces are combined with softer components.
Hybrids: Look for combinations of nature and innovation to appeal to those who want organic without seeming rural. Sleek pieces in materials such as reclaimed wood and cardboard satisfy both demands.
Color Burst: After a few years of warm neutrals dominating, people are ready for some color. The combinations and hues will vary greatly but color is making a comeback. Some will move toward deep reds and purples, others toward rich pastels while some go for livelier, pulsating tones. Energetic color as well as soothing palettes have a place. The key is not to be afraid to use bursts of color.
Remember, almost any concept can be tailored to fit your customer and price point. Trends should be like suggestions – not strict guidelines. So keep an open mind and keep an eye on these ideas for the coming year as you shop the remaining 2010 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Markets. With more than 2,000 permanent and 4,000 temporary exhibitors each July and January, you’re sure to find just the right lines to suit your customers – while ensuring they see the “latest and greatest” products available.