AALSMEER, Netherlands: At the Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair Aalsmeer and IFTF Vijfhuizen thousands of people will come to see what’s new and hot. No doubt they hope to see new trends that can give their product an extra boost. But how do you recognize a trend when you see one? That’s what we asked Sandra Könings, a Dutch trend analyst with an abundance of experience in the world of fashion, interiors, flowers and plants.
“Trend watching is a profession. Since I’m not an expert on plants I cannot always see the difference between various qualities. I don’t count buds, I look at green in a different way. If trend watching is not your forte, don’t expect to recognize many trends. If your focus is mainly on the product, it will be a hard job finding trends at a fair. It’s a waste of time. You’d be better off sending an employee who is adept at discovering trends. He will see things you would never see.”
“Focus on what your own company needs. Don’t think you will able to find completely new trends at a flower fair. Because completely new trends are presented elsewhere. You have to be an expert to recognize them.
It’s better to take stock of your own company first. What are your aims and your values? What type of consumers do you want to produce for? Are they the early adopters or late bloomers ? It‘s better to look for things your focus group will like in the coming years than to look for fleeting new trends. And don’t stick to your own product. If you want to be an innovative orchid grower, don’t just look at what other innovative growers are doing. Following your colleagues will only lead to copying which commercially is the road to more of the same. That’s often hell for your price and margin. It’s better to look at innovations in other green product groups (or outside the horticultural world).
At the same time it’s good to see what your competitors do, but that’s not trend watching. Don’t spend the entire trade fair in your booth; take a walk and find things that no one else sees.”
“There is a difference between seeing something and remembering it. So keep your camera close at hand and shoot as many pictures as you can. Once you are home, review your pictures and study them. You will see things in the photos that you didn’t see when you were taking them.”
“Visiting a green fair is smart. But read fashion magazines, surfing the Internet, following instagramers, going shopping or visiting other trade shows can be just as useful. And if you really want to discover new trends, ask an expert to accompany you. You could even attend my trend presentation (which is November 16). And never forget: although trends are predictable, you cannot predict when a trend will reach the masses and to what extent they will embrace it. Something can simultaneously be big in the Netherlands and a disaster in Germany.“