Trends sometimes slow when the economy is retracting but the world of gardening has seen the changing times lead to lots of opportunities for 2012. Finding new, fun ways to make up dollars that we are losing on items such as traditional chemicals and more expensive nursery stock are important.
Many of the newest and hottest ideas for the Independent Garden Center revolve around the idea of growing our own foods. Canning, backyard chickens, seed sowing and buying organic are all opportunities for the IGC to capitalize on in 2o12. This phenomenon also gives way to sales in catagories such as hydroponics, drip irrigation and organic controls.
Here goes our list of the Top Ten Trends to be prepared for in 2012 at your IGC-
1. Locavores- The demand for local vegetable and herb plants will continue to grow in 2012. With the local IGC leading the way as the experts in "grow your own" we can continue to grow this catagory for years to come. At Hort Couture we are partnering with companies such as Peace Tree Farm in Pennsylvania to produce our Culinary Couture Collection to bring not only the finest varieties and quality to the market but also from repuatable companies that are going the extra mile to not only use sustainable processes but are working to pioneer them. Promote your local grown plants!
2. Worm Castings- This is a fast growing catagory in soil conditioners. We particularly like Worm Power that is a company working to produce a very high quality product. Visit http://www.wormpower.net/ to learn more. This is a high margin item that gardeners will be looking for in 2012.
3. Backyard Chicks- Many gardeners are looking to add a few beautiful poultry to their gardens in 2012. Insect control, free fertilizer and fresh eggs are part of the allure. There are tons of exotic varieties that can be offered. Find out what your local laws are for selling and also for raising chickens in your town. Imagine a fun event with a truck of baby chicks arriving on a Saturday morning. Kids will never forget your store!
4. Miniature Gardening- Talk about a fun trend! Both miniature and fairy gardening continues to be a hot catagory for the IGC. From miniature plants to very cool accessories to even fairy potting soil... get this catagory going early at your store with an early Spring seminar or two to get some interest started. Companies such as Georgetown Home & Garden and Jeremie both have great accessories such as furniture, fairies, fencing and more.
5. On Line Gardening- Wow! This is such a different world to garden in. Many gardeners now spend endless nights discussing gardening on Twitter at events such as the popular #gardenchat, reading through the endless array of gardening blogs and websites or joining Facebook Groups with names such as Garden Geeks and Plant Porn. There is even a new on line gardening game called GARDEN QUEST that will help lead customers to our stores. The IGC can really learn and gain new customers through social media. How can your company meet new customers on line?
6. Outdoor Orchids- Orchids are gorgeous in the house but have never been part of the container gardening and landscaping discussion. The new PATIO & GARDEN Orchids from Hort Couture are game changers. After excellent results in trials in such hot spots as the Dallas Arboretum and at our trialing facilities in Homestead, Florida... these orchids can take the heat and keep blooming all summer. Think of this as the new "Geranium" for the mixed container!
7. Canning- Becoming the local expert on vegetable and herb gardening is a great opportunity for the IGC... offering some seminars on canning can be a fun event that can attract new customers to your business. Consider carrying canning supplies at your store this Spring to let people know they can use your staff expertise to learn how to grow and store fresh veggies.
8. Salad Mania- There are so many ways we can sell lettuce to our customers. Decorative containers, growing crops in our empty greenhouses in slower times to service local restaurants, offering endless mixes to keep customers coming back for more. Look at our Culinary Couture Seed Collection for unique mixes such as our Soul Food Salad and Urban Jungle. Fun ideas that are so easy and delicious!
9. Bright Colors- The 2012 Pantone Color of the Year is Atomic Tangerine. Bright colors in flowers are going to be hot for the next few years. People are going to want to get the maximum bang for their buck so why not make it Atomic Tangerine! Take a look at our new Petunia PANACHE 'Hells Bells' for something totally new in the catagory, and yes it is Atomic Tangerine in color! Pottery is moving the same way. Check out the new bright colors from Jackson Pottery in larger containers. Make gardening fun with bright colors.
10. The Smart Horticulturist- The trend of local shopping is for real. People are tired of the fight to purchase at the big boxes. We have an amazing secret weapon that will make the IGC a great experience for the consumer. WE ARE SMART! There are so many amazingly creative and articulate horticulturists out there. The big chains can not replicate this and we have to leverage this to the max. Be confident and make your store the source for great information and conversation about gardening in your community.
We hope you will take the time to plan properly to make your 2012 your best year yet. The key for the Independent Garden Retailer is to find ways to differentiate your store from the others. Maybe some small part of this blog will help!
Happy New Year from Hort Couture