Top Drawer 2022: 5 things that caught our eye
A Point 6 visit to Olympia London feels like a monthly occurrence at this stage, and we were back again last week for Top Drawer 2022 — the UK’s leading design-led trade show for retailers.
Full disclosure, we’re not a retailer — much to the disappointment of a few exhibitors we spoke to who gave us the sales spiel only to learn we weren’t there to talk numbers. What we are though, is an agency that likes to keep abreast of the latest industry trends and how brands big and small are positioning themselves and approaching their marketing.
So here we have it, five things that caught our eye at Top Drawer 2022.
1) A blooming brilliant idea
Naturally, sustainability was the word of the day. If you’re a company with a hot new product but you haven’t paid much thought to whether that product can be made, distributed, or disposed of in an eco-friendly way, it’s unlikely to garner much interest from retailers.
Conscious consumerism is on the rise. In a survey conducted by Accenture, 72% of respondents said they are buying more environmentally friendly products than five years ago, and 81% expect to buy more over the next five years. In a similar study by CGS, 47% of those asked said they would even pay more for a sustainable product. People care more than ever about what they are buying, where it comes from, and the related environmental implications.
One exhibitor that really caught our eye was The Seed Card Company, and its amazing plantable cards. Brits love a greetings card — our shelves are brimming with them every Christmas, birthday, and Valentine’s Day (thanks, Mum). But let’s face it, it’s all a tad wasteful. With The Seed Card Company’s plantable cards, you simply stick your used card in soil, add water, and watch your plant grow. They use vegan-friendly inks, and all cut-offs are reused and/or donated. We thought it was a really cool idea and they break down all the details on their website — check it out!
2) Nature, nostalgia, and not embracing the new
As we said in the intro, our main motivation for attending Top Drawer was to uncover the latest industry trends. So we were delighted that organisers had done a lot of the heavy lifting for us and listed four top trends for 2022. The trends listed by Top Drawer are: Slow rituals; Earthen artistry; Positive reinforcement; and New heirlooms. So let’s delve into them a little bit more.
Slow rituals is all about embracing those mindful moments that the pandemic forced us to cherish. When COVID put the brakes on our busy lives, we needed to discover — or rediscover — our love for the things that had become chores, such as cooking, reading, grooming, relaxing. But as the dust settles on what our new lives look like, lots of us continue to set time aside for these calming, anxiety-reducing routines. Brands are jumping on this, designing products from natural stones, ceramics, and glass, and applying neutral tones such as dark blues and deep tans.
The second trend is Earthen artistry, and this means reconnecting with the outdoors and reengaging with nature. All of these trends are driven by the post-pandemic world, and since we were stuck inside for so long, we’ve developed a yearning to bring the outside in. This trend is characterised by floral and leaf prints, wood, line drawings and embroidery — very earthy!
Moving onto Positive reinforcement, and here we see a push back against the post-covid minimalist and digital-first world. Many brands are taking influence from the 90s, with splashes of colour, irregular shapes, and simplistic, bright, bold graphics. Nostalgia plays a big part here as we long for simpler times. Look out for cobalts, oranges, pinks and limes as brands try to get us to embrace playfulness and positivity.
And finally, New heirlooms. Again, this trend encourages us to look back to the comforts of the past and find some stability in a world that seems more and more backwards by the day. Simple designs, cosy knits and ditsy wallpapers evoke memories of childhood and family and remind us that the old should not always be cast out to make room for the new. Expect to see warm peaches, sages, and dusty blues.
3) What’s your story?
OK, let us start by saying that not every brand in the world needs a story. If you have a really useful product that addresses an unmet need amongst consumers, then you have a chance to do well without any mention of heritage or ‘where it all started’.
But for brands competing in a crowded market, such as fashion, cosmetics, or food and drinks, it helps to have a narrative that people can relate to. Similar to conscious consumerism, people care about where their product comes from, how it’s made, who the founders are, what the idea was born from. And if you’re a smaller brand with visions of breaking into the big retail stores, this kind of back story can be vital.
We attended a panel discussion in which Kristina Currie, founder of children’s fashion store, Bon Tot, spoke about how she decides on which brands to feature in her stores. She said she pays a lot of attention to a brand’s story and the products themselves, whilst obviously important, almost take a back seat. She spends a lot of time talking to the founders, hearing about the origins of the brand, and establishing their goals and vision for the future. This all comes before any numbers are discussed.
Something to bear in mind if you’re a new brand looking to expand: what’s your story?
4) Some loaf-ly content creation tips
One of the highlights from the day was an interview with co-founders of interior design blog Forward Features, David White and Mark Russell. If you spend hours browsing Pinterest and drooling over incredible interiors, we seriously suggest checking out their Instagram page.
Their blog is a passion project at the moment, but in their day jobs, David is a social media manager for furniture company Loaf, whilst Mark lends his social media expertise to countless brands in the design sector. So what two better people to pick up some content creation tips from?
Point 6 has big plans for its socials in 2022 and listening to these guys share their dos and don’ts was super valuable. To pick out a few top tips, we learned that planning isn’t always the best approach. For large campaigns, yes, you should have some kind of a plan to refer back to. But it also pays to go with the flow, post what’s on your mind or what’s caught your eye. Putting yourself out there and sharing content is the only way to see what works and what doesn’t.
You also don’t need to jump on every single trend or topic. It’s always World Something Day and trying to spread yourself too thin and produce content for everything is time consuming and inauthentic. Pick the subjects that matter to your brand, talk about the things you have an interest in, and ultimately, be yourself.
5) Free digital marketing tools for your business
And finally, we wanted to give a quick shout out to a small brand you may or may not have heard of — Google. In all seriousness, when a tech giant like Google talks, you listen, and we were delighted to attend a seminar hosted by one of its digital marketing gurus.
Not to blow our own trumpets too much here, but digital marketing is kind of our thing. We got the sense that the seminar was probably more useful for brands in their infancy who are looking to take the next step in terms of marketing their products online and increasing exposure. Point 6 is a marketing expert (I’m blushing); we help brands and businesses with this kind of thing all the time — but even we weren’t aware of how many resources Google has to offer.
From site building and audience analysis to market insights and trends, Google provides invaluable guidance and support for brands and businesses — and it’s all free of charge. They even host 1-2-1 sessions with experts for more bespoke advice. Check it out.
We hope you enjoyed reading our takeaways from Top Drawer. We haven’t quite planned our next trip to Olympia just yet, but knowing us, it won’t be too long before we’re back. In the meantime, have a read of what we got up to at the Baby Show back in October.