Professional Insider: Trend Spotting
Some have it, some don't. If you can position your store
as a haven of style, you'll stay on the cutting edge
You can't buy taste, my grandmother would mutter when confronted
with a particularly egregious assault on her discerning style
sensibility. I'd better place a call to her on the psychic hotline
to the great beyond, because, as the century turns, it's become
easy to buy taste.
The overwhelming popularity of In Style magazine lies in its
ability to make it easy for readers to copy the taste (or lack
thereof) of their favorite celebrities. The magazine provides
detailed explanations of what the stars wear, how much it costs
and how readers can get their own item.
The New York Times credits the class mobility of America for
spawning an industry of tastemakers for sale. Social climbing
hostesses can go on-line to find how to throw the perfectly appropriate
cocktail party from domestic dominatrix Martha Stewart at the
"Ask Martha" portion of her Web site (www.marthastewart.com).
Fortunately, there's also "Martha by Mail," on the
site, where the hapless hostesses can buy Martha Stewart's Hors
d'Oeuvres Handbook for $35, her hors d'oeuvres kit for $72 and
fancy toothpicks for $38.
Other tastemakers are retailers first and foremost. High-end
cookware purveyor Williams-Sonoma, home furnishings retailer
Pottery Barn and the favorite store of neatniks everywhere, Hold
Everything, all have their genesis in a hardware store. Back
in the '50s, Chuck Williams devoted a portion of his hardware
store in Sonoma, CA, to cookware. Forty years later, Williams
oversees Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Hold Everything and high-end
sheet and pillowcase retailer Chambers and has directed the tastes
of kitchen gearheads, redecorating suburbanites and reclining
sybarites across the U.S.
On the Jewelry Front
Tiffany & Co. has positioned itself similarly it's
made itself a name-brand that consumers look to for validation
of their good taste and discerning quality.
Independent retailers can do this too. Extending your jewelry
offerings to beautiful crystal, glass, tabletop and gift items
will create a destination for all consumer accessory needs
adorning their bodies and their homes. Your store can embody
your personal style and taste, and you can sell it to those who
by Liz Smutko
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.