How to Interpret Trends For Your Retail Business - Small and Mighty Co.

How to Interpret Trends For Your Retail Business

What to know how to interpret trends? Joanne Griffin, founder of Arnold & Bird is sharing why trends are relevant even if you’re not a fashion business. And most importantly how to understand them in a way you can use them for your business.

How to Interpret Trends For Your Retail Business | Small and Mighty Co.

Trends. I know some businesses hate this word and say things such as ‘I don’t follow trends’. But the way I look at this is that trends are all of the visual inspiration we digest on a daily basis. Such as what you spot in magazines, in a museum, pop-up shop or while scrolling on Instagram.

As creative businesses, you take inspiration from everywhere so it’s thinking about how you use these trends (or visual inspiration) and interpret this in a way that works for your brand.

So I’ll break down why trends are relevant, how to know what they are, how to decide which ones are relevant for you and how to interpret them to use in your product development.

Why are trends relevant if you are not a fashion business?

Most people associate the words trends mainly with fashion. However, trends affect all businesses from food, technology, home accessories and stationery.

It’s hard to ignore trends. Like I mentioned in my intro, trends are in all the information and images we process on a daily basis. Which is a lot in our digital age.

I think sometimes we think of trends just as the fad trends that pop up and stick around that become a bit tacky (Pugs and unicorns spring to mind!)

Some examples of current trends that have longevity include:

  • Sustainability and eco-friendly fabrics
  • Evolution of geometric shapes

You don’t have to use all the trends and inspiration you find – in fact please don’t! Use what resonates with you and take bits such as colour, texture or pattern to develop a theme you can create new ideas from.

How do you know what the trends are?

Look at shops, visual merchandising, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, magazines, newspapers exhibitions and pop-ups for visual inspiration.

And head to the trend experts and find free inspiration. I’ve already a written a blog post on The Co with tips on how to do this.

Most importantly as a visual person keep an eye out and see what keeps appearing and what people keep talking about. Also, spot what is emerging, be that a new trend on a new twist on something that is currently popular. This will be the start of a trend that you can identify.

Then piece smaller themes together. And remember themes and trends may not seem connected at first.

How do you decide which ones are relevant to you?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you personally like it? If you don’t then don’t use it. You have to believe in your product and ideas to sell them!

Can you interpret the trend in a new way that hasn’t been done before?

Does this trend fit with my customer’s lifestyle, choices and values?

How will this trend/product make my customer feel? Does it align with the purpose of why you started your business?

Can you develop this trend into a whole new collection? Or would it just be one style? It’s best to have a range of products that work cohesively together instead of one-off products that aren’t consistent.

Remember to always make it relevant for you by bringing it back to your ‘why’ and your customer.

How do you interpret trends to use in your product development?

Once you’ve gathered lots of trends and inspiration start piecing together your findings on a mood board. A physical mood board is great for this as you’ll be more focused but Pinterest also works well.

Decide on one theme to focus on and pull together the key ideas and elements you want to work with.

Make lots of notes with product ideas you can develop and then come back to them a few days later to see what you still like. These are the ideas to move forward with.

So what are your thoughts on trends now? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this word and how you use inspiration and interpret this in your business!


Feeling inspired and needing some support? Get in touch with Joanne for product development support or graphic design. Joanne would love to work with you and help move your business forward.