Sunday, June 22, 2014

I See The Same Booth Looks Everywhere

This is something that has been on my mind for awhile.  I have a feeling that things are starting to shift.  I have no idea what they are shifting to, but I think I know what they are shifting away from.

No matter what nice mall you walk into, you'll see several booths that look the same as several booths you recently saw at another nice mall.  The arrangement and merchandise is a bit different in each booth but the look is the same. I would love to insert a great photo of a pretty booth in neutrals, but since this article is about the market being over-saturated with them, I won't do that. 

We saw the all white look for a long, long time.  All white started to transition over to white mixed with lots of neutrals and burlap and iron.  That really caught on and for the past few years, those booths have ruled.  I think that look may have peaked. It's not over by any means.   It will likely still do well for a bit more time, but I'm not sure how long.

Even style names are changing. Fewer and fewer vendors are using the words "Shabby Chic" to describe their furniture on their tags.  I still see it some, but I wince because it's seems too passe.  The upscale neutral booth vendors never use those words anymore.  My, my.  I feel like such a snob.  :-D

Retro was hot for awhile and vintage kitchenware sold like hotcakes.  Not so much now. Those fabulous retro tables with enamel tops used to sell like hotcakes.  Now they sell a bit slower and for less money.

Industrial was hot for several years.  Now it sells a bit slower.

Chalk painted furniture is everywhere, but now, unpainted furniture sales are starting to rise - or at least a mix of painted and natural.  Tables that are painted on bottom and wood on top do just a little better than the solid color tables.

I have no idea what's the next big thing.  I'm not seeing any clear ideas from magazines, but one of these days, some new design star is going to show us something amazing and people will start jumping off the neutrals bandwagon and head onto another path.

So, my advice for vendors - think about diversifying.  If everything you have is chalk painted, add in some wood.  If everything you have is white and/or neutral, add in a little bit of color.  Watch magazines.  Watch Pinterest.  Watch what sells.  Get ready for styles to change.  You don't have to go overboard.  Just a little bit of a change can make a difference.

Luckily, in most markets, the local consumers are usually just a tad behind the styles.  Once a new trend gets started, it takes them a little while to decide they like it enough to start redecorating.  Many will hang onto the old looks for a while.

I am keeping my eye out for new ideas and new styles.  I'm keeping my eye out, too, for booth looks that don't feel like every other booth I see.  I'll post those photos over on the VSO Facebook page whenever I come across them.

The photos I posted this morning are a good start.  Here's one of them.  When I first spotted this, I got excited.  After seeing photo after photo of neutrals, this one was like a breath of fresh air.

Source - My Desert Cottge

I'm not suggesting that this red-white-and-turquoise look is the next new thing, but at least it doesn't look like every other booth.

If you have one of those fabulous neutral booths, I'm not at all suggesting you toss everything and start over.  But you could add a little bit of color here and there.  You could keep plenty of neutral things to catch the eye of neutral-seeking shoppers.  But now, you'd also catch the eye of people tiring of neutrals.  Plus, your booth would be more memorable.  Your booth wouldn't be confused with several others in the store.  I'm really craving something different.  Am I alone?

I admit that this post is heavy with personal opinions.  But, boy do I feel it - change is in the air.  I have seen changes in sales to back up my feelings and my personal opinions, so I don't think I'm alone.  

Also, let me clarify - there will ALWAYS be a place for neutrals.  No matter what style becomes popular, people are more apt to buy large pieces that work with many color schemes and styles.  Neutrals are safe.  Few of us can afford to buy something large in a crazy color we'll tire of in a couple of years. The smaller things around those large neutral pieces are the things we are a little more adventurous with and I, for one, am ready for an adventure. :-D