Industry Views - May 2014

Jill Sands On Individualization

Jills Sands, publisher of “The Trend Forecaster” (802-384-3884, engages in a “big picture” exchange.

Is a movement toward a “maker” or artisan business economy in the works? How big will it get?

“Definite movement toward small, new, innovative artisan products and looks, and made in America. Like small, quick British ships vs. the Spanish Armada, they can react quickly to market demands, producing small runs, innovative designs, always something new and fresh that won’t be seen in every street corner window.

“I saw a similar marketing approach at Monoprix, the French clothing store. Every 10 to 14 days, they change their windows and entire in-store merchandise to complement the windows; the old merchandise has been trucked away. If you want an item that you tried on a few days ago and wanted to think about, you are out of luck. (Possibly it’s available online, but not for instant gratification.)

“Does this movement have legs? Absolutely, for it’s the Millennials who are fueling it. Think of how far we’ve come in the Green Movement. It’s no longer ‘crunchy’ to buy organic.”

Millennials are more apt to accept a peer’s opinion than that of a traditional authority. Do buyers need to update how they decide what to sell?

“As far as dictating stye and color, that no longer cuts it! Millennials have their own individuality, which they project in their homes and in the clothes they wear. To think that Millennials...or anyone these days, will buy your dictated color is wishful thinking. They want retailers to listen to them rather than dictate to them. Millennials have given other demographics the freedom to break the bonds of dictation. Quite refreshing! It’s the luxury of being yourself!”

Is it possible that the design savviness of Millennials is overrated? Do more of them purchase bland “affordable basics” based on low pricing than we realize?

“Millennials are still young (14 to 34) and were caught up in the 2007 financial debacle, so they got a slow start out of college into the job market. With a lack of jobs many, motivated by necessity, chose to do something with their passion since the corporate ladder was not an option. The number of small business start-ups surged 60 percent worldwide in 2012.

“Not having a corporate mindset, the entrepreneurial spirit is what has motivated individualism in fashion and home décor.

“I believe that if you buy from your heart what you like, then it will blend without the need for any extra savviness. Most people are drawn to certain styles and colors that suit them, be it clothing or home furnishings. Now they have the liberty to express themselves in their homes. This liberty is not specific to Millennials. All demographics are releasing their design bonds. Thank you, Millennials, for liberating us all.”

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