Besides the fact that you get to visit Paris, Maison et Objet is THE design show for retailers. If you’re looking for unique products and product lines from Europe (and all over the world), this is the place to be.
Literally “house and objects”, this trade show has everything from tabletop to fabric, drapes to furniture, home fragrance, kitchen goods and more. It’s six massive halls full of merchandise – we’re spending four full days wandering the halls looking for new lines, inspiration and more.
Beyond the actual merchandise itself, there are trend books and trend “art” interpretations to help you understand what’s going to be hot in the coming years. Right now the trend books are for fall/winter ‘09/’10, which gives you a good understanding of how far in advance product manufacturers are planning. You’ll also find amazing visual displays that can serve as inspiration for your store.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Where have all the unique retailers gone?
The long and short of it is that we’ve become somewhat homogenous in the U.S. in terms of retailing. Walk into any mall and you’ll see the same cadre of retailers – you could be in one of hundreds of cities across the U.S. and never know it. That’s because they are all developing their own lines, forgetting about the unbelievable products that are out there in the rest of the world. The good news is that as small retailers, we usually cannot afford to develop our own lines and that means we get to tap into all the fantastic products that are out there just waiting to be discovered.
And what separates the interesting retailers from the boring? Interesting products. That’s it. That’s ultimately why people shop at a particular store.
A few days ago, I wrote about the need for newness and how you have to keep your store fresh in order to stay on top of trends and keep your customers coming back. I’ll go one step further and say that it’s about newness but also about a global economy. As consumers travel more, they’re more open to newness. Newness in experiences, newness in products, newness in life.
We Americans live to work whereas the Europeans work to live. They have a sense of style, a sense of ease, a sense of sophistication. They cherish life, design and the everyday.
Be the first to capitalize on newness. Take a piece of that European culture and bring it to your retailing experience. Bring in the new, the unique and the different. You’ll have a fantastic story to tell your customers and become known as the place to find innovative new products.
Start by visiting Maison et Objet this summer and the wide world of retailing that’s waiting to be tapped.
Where are you finding unique products?