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Trend Watching

Maggie Mulhern | July 10, 2011 | 6:17 PM

Do you ever ask yourself how salon manufacturers get their advance news on fashion, scent and packaging trends? The answer, for some, is to get predictions from professional “trend-watchers.”

Trend-watching experts make it their business to keep on top of consumer trends and global marketing and do field research to uncover important developments. Both Matrix and Goldwell, among several other U.S. marketers, include the insights of trend-watchers in their mix.

Kurt Lowell, vice president, Matrix Global Market Research, stays current by monitoring a host of information channels. “Depending on our source, we may receive updates quarterly or annually. We are also linked into what L’Oreal [Matrix’s parent company] monitors from their global connections.”

“We use a net of trend scouts,” says Tanja Schnaar, Trend Research & Initiative manager for Goldwell. “We use two trend agencies, HTP Concept with headquarters in Berlin, Germany, and desgrippes in Paris. Both have trend scouts and subsidiaries located internationally in all fashion-competent cities such as New York, Milan, Tokyo and London.”

Because desgrippes is fashion-oriented, Schnaar receives reports twice a year. “It is analogous to the summer and winter collections of the big designers. From HTP concept, we get an annual study and analysis of trends in December of each year.”

Schnaar has had very good experiences with both agencies and scouts. “We use their trend predictions data as a base to develop Goldwell’s trend hair style and color collection, Trend Zoom.”

According to Matrix’s Lowell, “Trends are marathons, not sprints, and evolve over time. Because they are dynamic and fluid, it is important to continually monitor them to maintain sensitivity to changes that may occur. Trend-watching certainly plays a role in our ability to forecast and then act on social or demographic opportunities.”

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