December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays!

2012…WOW what a year!!!

As the year sped by, the overriding theme was CHANGE.

CHANGE came in all shapes and forms and the big drivers delivering this change were technology and unpredictability.

CHANGE meant both challenge and opportunities.

There was little to no time to step back, review, digest – the force of renewal could not be stopped.

CHANGE challenged us to continuously look forward – without looking back.

CHANGE was all about what’s next?! And we all wanted to know about the opportunities of moving forward with the new, the unknown. They knocked at everyone’s door.

The ever growing community both online and offline impacted us all.

Digital media continues to change our lifestyle – 24/7 became the new norm for shopping – when, how and where we want it – on demand.

The art of story telling was finessed further and stood out against a landscape of sameness.

The consumer is more knowledgeable than ever before and is capable of turning any industry upside down.

The power of data and the ability to analyse that data will tell us how we too can respond in a more effective, impactful and direct manner to what our consumer will want in 2013.

Sustainability will continue to be more and more integrated in our every day lives. The unpredictability of the impact we have on our environment makes it ever more important to all of us.

Local retains its importance – inviting us to be more conscientious about what, how and why we purchase. It beckons to us…to be more creative, to be idea generators, to think out of the box, to break the norm, to be different, small but unique.

Trust-based business models are here to stay and are the new tool for successful marketing strategies.

So…our motto for 2013 is…keep it simple, learn to let go, ride the wave, and most of all, enjoy it!!! Do what you love, be who you are, and approach life and your profession with unbridled passion. If you do, you will turn heads!!! And we will be your greatest fans! 

From all of us at MBF Trend Consulting, we wish you a wonderful holiday season surrounded by family and friends – and may 2013 be a year of amazing, head-turning passion and success!

December 13, 2012

Twins?! Yeah...Why Not!

The most cheerful time of the year is upon us! So shift gears this season to reminisce about what the holidays are actually about, our loved ones. As you wrap up your holiday shopping, end of the year projects, and (hopefully) take a few days off from work to celebrate, remember that family can include all different types of relationships and connections, whether we share genetic bonds or not.

Meet Taryn and Shailyn Tavella, 21-year-old identical twins who live in New York City. Taryn goes to Parsons School of Design and Shailyn, the eight-minute-older sister goes to NYU. The two complement each other to create a harmony of opposites. For instance, when they got lost in Rome on their family vacation they harnessed their contrasting skills and worked together to find their way through the foreign city. Taryn was prepared with a map and directional skills and her sister helped with her language ability. These contrasts are also seen when they pick out clothes, Shailyn goes for the comfortable fit while Taryn selects the latest trend. The result is an ensemble that works in its practicality and style. Putting together their assorted talents creates an advantage in any situation.

MBF: Did your mom dress you alike when you were younger?

Taryn: Yes, same outfit but different colours.

Shailyn: I would always be in red or pink while Taryn wore blue or purple.

Taryn: When we got older we were able to pick out our own outfits but Shailyn who wasn’t, and still isn’t into fashion, just wore whatever I picked out.

Shailyn: It was much easier for me!

Taryn: Until 5th grade, when I demanded that we wear different outfits. Then I started to experiment on Shailyn. I would always dress up Shailyn like she was some doll to play with and I still do today.

Shailyn: Taryn is always putting on my make-up and helping me style a plain outfit. I love it.

MBF: How would you describe each other’s style?

Taryn: Well, for Shailyn ideally her style would be like Anna Karina (Godard’s muse). When I dress her I always think of her as a 1960s schoolgirl meets preppy plain Jane.

Shailyn: I’m not as articulate at describing fashion. But I would say that Taryn’s style has always changed with the trends. But she is by no means trendy; she always has some classic aesthetics. When she moved to New York she has changed styles a lot! I think she likes to mix 1960s with the 1990s, which reflects her taste in music too.

MBF: Have you ever had any freaky/unexplainable twin experiences?

Shailyn: The classic go to story for this question is when we were little at the doctors and I got my finger pricked to get blood drawn.

Taryn: I got it drawn from my arm; it was our first time being old enough to do so.

Shailyn: After seeing her have it done I choose the comfortable method. Taryn has always been the brave one.

Taryn: When we walked out of the office my finger hurt.

Shailyn: And my arm hurt. It was odd; it was like we exchanged pain pressure points.

Taryn: Other than that we always have the same symbols or motifs in our dreams, usually with different endings. One reoccurring dream in particular there was tidal wave in both of our dreams.

Shailyn: Oh and once we had the same English class and we found that we interpreted the symbols and themes in stories the same way.

MBF:What annoys you about each other the most?

Taryn: Ah, ever since we started living with each other again the list grows each day.

Shailyn: I think what annoys me most about Taryn is how long it takes for her to get ready in the morning and her insomniac tendencies that keep her me up at night.

Taryn: I find Shailyn’s tone and sometimes condescending words particularly frustrating.

MBF: Have you ever-switched places? Think Olsen twins.

Shailyn: Nope, it's something we have feared to try because, unlike me, Taryn has a beauty mark on her face.

Taryn: It's a total give away.

MBF: Have you ever been separated for an extended period of time?

Taryn: There was the time we went to different away camps, and Shailyn went to college in London…

Shailyn: We really have only spent 4 months at most apart.

MBF: How are you different? How are you similar?

Shailyn: We are different in many ways; it may be easier to say how we are similar.

Taryn: We are both passionate, have the same high-pitched voice, similar mannerisms, and ability to read and empathize with people.

Shailyn: We are both left-handed, need our fingers to count, can’t spell, and have the same laugh; but different sense of humor!

MBF: If there was one attribute you could trade what would it be?

Taryn: I would definitely want Shailyn’s amazing self-confidence.

Shailyn: I’d kill for Taryn’s more angular facial features.

MBF: What famous twins would you like to be if you could be anyone?

Taryn: This is tricky; when we were little we were very jealous of the Olsen twins...

Shailyn: ...but we really love Tegan and Sarah.

Taryn: They rock, and are very talented.

Shailyn: It would be fun to be them.

December 6, 2012

Turning Heads

With companies like Target, H&M, Macy's, and all the designer upon designer partnerships from the last year, collaborations have become so passé. This approach of bringing high-end names to the mid-market through capsule collections and limited edition product assortments is losing its appeal among shoppers. It's time retailers bring us forward into the next phase of innovation by pushing the concept shop even further. So, with that said, what cutting-edge business formats are turning heads? With 2013 almost upon us, let's give our attention to the companies who are leaving the status quo behind and really experimenting in the marketplace.

First up is Table of Contents based in the artsy Old Town Chinatown district of Portland and filled with a curated selection of up and coming designers and rare finds. Inspired by the process of editing books and magazines, this shop is compared to a "three-dimensional publication" with each season having its own key theme. While the owners, Joseph Magliaro and Shu Hung, firmly believe the in-store experience is crucial, they also heavily rely on their online presence as a major means of generating profits and expanding their global reach. Keep a look out for this duo because they may be bringing this super modern concept shop to a city near you soon!

We all know and love Etsy and now (until Saturday) the world's largest e-commerce marketplace of handmade and vintage products brings its online community to life right in the heart of SoHo. With carefully selected goodies, special events, and real-time demonstrations, this holiday pop-up features a list of curators like Martha Stewart, Tavi Gevinson, and Bobbie Thomas, among many others. The crafty e-commerce site turned holiday shop even features a booth selling giftcards for online purchases and gifts. Etsy is just one of a string of online retailers to open up pop-up spots across the city over the past few months. As the tables continue to turn between online/offline, we may be seeing more websites take on this approach to build personability, branding, and real life experiences for their customers through traditional brick and mortar stores.

photo via ASOS

ASOS continues to be the leader as the hottest (and most successful) global online retailer for Gen Y-ers and now they are taking it to the next level by expanding into the luxury resale market. How you ask? Well, they recently invested in Covetique, a site selling previously owned luxury designer clothing and accessories. While ASOS does sell vintage merchandise and resale via its marketplace, nothing as high-end as Prada and Alexander McQueen. Also, rumors are surfacing that the trendy shopping site is finally looking for real estate in SoHo. Don't get your hopes up too high just yet...real estate as in office space! However, we suspect this may be the first of many steps towards future U.S. retail opportunities for the e-commerce powerhouse.

video via Puma

By incorporating technology in their store design, Puma gives a digital spin to traditional sports gear. Last year, the company launched their "Puma Joy Pad," a wall of 32-interconnected iPads producing a full on interactive media experience featuring touchscreens to play games. In-store you'll also find a "peep show" in the fitting rooms where customers can open the door and find random multi-media images of everything from a hamster to a disco ball.

photo via Rubina Magazine is an e-commerce site that sells beautiful hand-crafted accessories made by women artisans from around the world. The concept was inspired by a trip to Pakistan back in 2005 when founder, Kari Litzmann met a woman named Rubina who dreamt of starting her own business but did not have the financial means to do so. The company's primary mission is to help the "Rubinas" of the world move forward in their communities through a collaborative business model that gives them a more viable means of selling.

video via Uslu Airlines

Uslu Airlines has been one of our favorite brands for a while now. This makeup company is constantly re-thinking their marketing approaches as well as their product selection. From asking men which lipstick shade they like on women to creating a nail polish line that matches a Berlin made sunglass collection, they keep thinking outside the box.

All of these companies are a great examples of how retail is evolving and where it should go as we move into the coming year. The market is moving so quickly and as we move forward into a new age, traditional brick and mortar operations just simply won't be enough. Those that remain open minded and fearless to bring new concepts to the table will without a doubt find success by not only offering fantastic products, but by creating a sense of community for their customers.
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