If you’re running a business, you’re busy, that’s a given. There are probably a lot of hats on your head and trying to add one more may seem impossible, but it’s necessary. Anyone doing garment decoration or really decoration of anything, be it mugs, blankets or patches, needs to be aware of what’s trendy. After all, you don’t want to be offering items decorated with camels when everyone has decided their new love is llamas.
Luckily, keeping up with the latest trends doesn’t have to be difficult or particularly time consuming. Here are a few ways to keep on trend without spending a ton of time.
Use Social Media – Follow your competitors. Follow the feeds for the companies that make or sell equipment and supplies for your decoration discipline. If you create garments or hats, follow fashion blogs or sites that cover trends in the items you decorate. Social media can be a great tool for collecting a lot of useful information in one place.
Talk to People – If you have employees, particularly if they’re in a variety of age groups, talk to them about what they like/notice/have seen people wearing. If you have kids, or know people who have kids, talk to the kids about what’s hot in their world right now. Definitely talk to your customers, as they can be your best source of industry or interest specific trend information. Create a e-mail box or a billboard where people can post interesting articles and information they’ve found.
Go to Trade Shows – Yes, a trade show can be a significant investment in time and money, but it’s also a place where you can kill a variety of birds with one stone. You can view the newest equipment. You can visit multiple suppliers and see what new supplies are available. Seeing what new things are being offered gives you some advance notice of what upcoming trends might be. Trade shows are also a great place to learn, with seminars that teach a variety of decoration techniques. Trade shows offer a number of ways to gather information on trends in one place with one visit, so they’re well worth the time and effort.
Subscribe to Magazines – Whether they’re trade journals or something more general interest, magazines can be a great tool for staying current on trends. Many trade journals can be received in digital format and some are free to those who work in the industry. Subscription prices for digital formats of general interest magazines are also available. As a bonus, many magazines will have electronic newsletter subscriptions available. In these newsletters they spotlight articles they think are important, which may also be a way to spot emerging trends.
Go Shopping – Maybe your shopping trip is to an actual store, or maybe you shop online, but spend a little time each week visiting stores to see what they’re offering. This is particularly relevant for garment decorators, but it really has benefit for any kind of decorator. Doing a little shopping (and it can be of the window variety, where you don’t spend money) helps you stay current on what’s on the way in and what’s on the way out.
The main thing to remember is just to keep your eyes and ears open. Anything could be the piece of information you need to clue you in to the next big trend. Stay alert and stay interested, and your business well be poised to ride the next big wave when it arrives.