The trade show season is in full swing and we have seen lots of products and trends that will either be new for this year or continue to grow.
1. Grow You Own Food- This has gone from trend to lifestyle for many people. Garden retailers have a great opportunity here to offer more products, more finished (ready to harvest) products and establish their local garden store as the source for information and products. We hope that our easy to execute Culinary Couture program will be a part of the Spring plans for many retailers. There is still SO MUCH potential for growth in this catagory for the IGC.
2. Wooly Pockets- We first saw this California based company about a year or more ago and fell in love with the simply idea that this company has capitalized on. Go vertical in your store in 2011 and give your clientele ideas on how to dress up walls both inside and out with living plants. Visit http://www.woolypockets.com/ for more info.
3. Tropical Color- There has been so much focus on drought tolerance, eco friendly etc that people are starving for bold COLOR! Tropical such as our INGENUE Hibiscus and PERGOLA Mandevilla are exclusive to the IGC and offer a big punch of color. Tropicals are also very difficult for the box store to ship and maintain so the IGC has a great opportunity here.
4. Facebook- Garden retailers are learning how to use social media to attract younger customers, provide information in a cheap and efficient format and create a unique conversation about thier business with Facebook. If you are a retailer that is not sure how to do this- call us at 866.955.HORT and we will show you how to get started. There is a great group on Facebook called "Independent Garden Centers and Nurseries" that was started by a "Blogging Nurseryman" in Northern California as a 24/7 live conversation about our industry- great networking and information.
5. Terrariums- This trend is still growing and offering cool apothecary jars and mini conservatories is a great new product line. Combine this with lots of cool miniature ferns, baby tears, hoyas, mosses and foliage plants to complete your sales area. A couple of possible vendors for this product line are http://www.hpotter.com/ and http://www.napahomeandgarden.com/.
6. Succulents- Amazingly as much hype as this group of plants has been given in the last few years that there is still great opportunity in most IGC's to capitalize on this long lived trend. We have moved our Sunny Succulent production from California to Florida to provide a better source for the east coast and midwest retailer to have better access to these products. Easy to grow and gorgeous both inside and out.
7.Wellies- We have been wearing rubber gardening boots for years but now they are uber trendy as a fashion statement. There are tons of great companies making these in every color in the rainbow.
8. Coupons- Give your customers a reason to come into your store. A coupon is a great way. Newspapers, Facebook, email newsletters, local clippers and Groupon are all great ways to get people thinking about your store. A word of advice is to use the coupon discount not to discount a product but to engage the customer to purchase more. "Buy Two Get One Free" is far more profitable than "33% OFF".
9. Hort Couture- We have really struck a cord with the IGC channel of our industry with our cool plants, sophisticated marketing and commitment to the IGC. We are seeing an amazing increase in our business in markets such as Washington / Baltimore where our sales are off the chart. We are gaining steam everyday on our goal to be the premier brand of plants for the Independent Garden Retailer.
10. Organic Controls and Ferilizers- For many IGC's this catagory continues to grow but we are still just scratching the surface of educating the consumer about eco friendly products. Espoma has been a great line for many garden centers as an organic fertilizer line and they now offer many organic controls. Visit http://www.espoma.com/ to see what all they are up to. Establish your store as the source for not only products but advice on this growing catagory.
Let us know what you saw at Atlanta Market, TPIE or another regional show that you are excited about for this Spring. We hope you have the Spring you have always dreamed of in 2011!