Here at The Companion Group, we know how to make an innovative product from scratch. We’ve come up with a range of products that break the mold, from charcoal starters and smoker boxes to pizza stones and pizza ovens. We release products that no one has seen before and change the way they grill and cook.
Our line of outdoor citronella candles, called Patio Companion, is a different story. Here, we innovate, but we do so in line with the fast-paced trends of the candle world, where colors, materials and patterns change from season to season. Understanding which of these will be trending is key to producing candles that fly off the shelf. We’re lucky to have a top-notch creative team – including Creative Director Sharon Kallenberger and artist Jen Fisher of JFish Designs – working hard to strike a balance between coming up with something totally new and being on trend. It’s no easy task!
We chatted with Sharon recently about how our creative team anticipates what consumers will want to buy in the future:
1. Go into the field. Earlier this year, Sharon and Jen travelled to stores all over the Bay Area, from the Mission District in San Francisco to College Ave. in Oakland to get inspiration. They stopped at gift and specialty stores, looking for colors, patterns, finishes and materials they hadn’t seen before.
2. Watch other industries. Color trends often start in the fashion industry, then move to home décor, furniture, and other interiors, and then to the outdoor space. A certain speckled pattern caught Sharon’s eye earlier this year. When she attended the International Home and Housewares Show in March, she saw it on plates, bowls, mugs, cups, you name it. It’s just a matter of time before that pattern shows up on outdoor lifestyle products.
3. Scour the internet. We regularly monitor home design blogs and websites. One term our team came across many times as they did their research this year was Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”), a Danish lifestyle that embraces coziness and comfort. Think staying at home with no phone in sight, a hot mug of tea and a snuggly blanket. It’s a natural fit for home décor, and since outdoor products often follow indoor trends, we know we’ll be next.
4. Keep an eye on experts. This is less for inspiration and more for confirmation of what we’ve started working on. At a panel at the International Home and Housewares Show, renowned color expert Lea Eiseman (who knew that was a job title?) unveiled the 2018 color palettes selected by her and her team at the Pantone Color Institute. One of the colors featured in the palette is “Greenery” — “yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring” is its official name. Our creative team was not surprised by this news, as they’d already been working on a trend board featuring this shade. “It’s satisfying to see something we’ve already identified get confirmed by an expert,” Sharon said.
All this trend monitoring means the retailers we work with can rely on us for well-researched designs that click with consumers. Get in touch with us if you’re curious about the trend boards that our creative team has put together, and keep an eye out for our designs in stores!