I’ve just been helping a client put together their predictions for wedding trends in 2017. Which always gets me thinking about what will be “big” and what will drift out of fashion.
Within the wedding industry trends come and go and it’s vital that you keep up to date with what’s happening so that your business doesn’t get left behind.
Make it part of your routine to check what’s new and what’s going out of fashion. Often these changes are slow and subtle – but the signs are there if you look for them. Here are 7 ways you can stay on top of trends:
Keep a list of popular wedding blogs and take a good look at a different blog every week. Check out the real life weddings in particular. Styled shoots are lovely but not always very realistic – use them mainly for inspiration.
Buy a different wedding magazine each month. In particular look at the real weddings and look for trends that apply to your business.
Have a day out once a year and go to one of the big national or regional wedding shows as a visitor. Grab lots of brochures and if you can, take snaps with your smartphone. Look for new types of businesses and overall styling trends. Is there lots of rustic shabby chic or is Art Deco styling making a comeback? What are the big players doing? Make notes and gather ideas you can use in your business.
Social media is fantastic for keeping an eye on trends. Follow industry leaders, blogs and competitors across the different channels and chat with other wedding businesses in Facebook groups (like our very own Hub).
Review your sales
Every year review your sales. Which product/services/designs were most popular and which didn’t sell? Look for trends and adapt your offering accordingly. Remove slow moving stock from your retail shop and/or website – they just create clutter and distract from your popular items.
Check out your competitors
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. But don’t fall into the trap of copying their every move or getting too hung up or stressed about what they are doing. Adapt their best ideas, but remember: you don’t know their sales figures and their splashy new collection may not be selling that well………
Listen to your customers
This is the most important. After all these are the people buying your product or service. Whether it’s a detailed consultation with a client or a brief chat at a wedding fair, pay attention to the details and use it to build your knowledge of what’s trending. When I ran my DIY wedding stationery business I spotted a couple of people had asked about cheque book style invitations (which we didn’t do). A quick bit of research and we created a cheque book range – which absolutely flew off the shelves.
As for those articles predicting trends for the next 12 months – well, I wouldn’t take them too seriously. Most of them were predicting the demise of vintage in around 2008. But you will find some useful nuggets there to add to your overall picture.
And remember – it’s not enough to spot trends, you have to act on them and adapt your business. Some trends will be unwelcome. One factor that helped me decide to sell my business in 2011 was the trend away from handcrafted stationery and towards printed designs, helped by the improvement in digital printing technology. My business would have needed a major overhaul and family commitments meant I didn’t have the time to invest in doing it.
But those who can identify the trends and stay one step ahead will be well placed to succeed where others get left behind.