IHA spoke with Patti Carpenter, global trend ambassador for Maison & Objet in the U.S., to learn about what she will discuss at the 2020 Show about trends she has seen around the world and at recent trade shows. The Inspired Home Show’s Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics will include successful retail practices, consumer research findings, digital commerce, sustainability and global market trends.
Patti Carpenter heads carpenter + company/Trendscope. She is the global trend ambassador for Maison & Objet in America and Paris and is a consultant with Pantone Color Institute. She is also a creative director for globally sourced home accents and personal accessories, gifts and fragrance, with extensive experience in product design and development, merchandising and color and trend forecasting. She is a microenterprise specialist with domestic and international expertise in artisan development, small producer and entrepreneur training and economic development. She works in international sourcing to design and create innovative products that add revenue and enhance the private label brand image of companies including Bloomingdales, Crate & Barrel, ABC Carpet & Home, The Phillips Collection, Neiman Marcus and Donna Karan Urban Zen. Carpenter has also been a women’s sportswear, outerwear and accessories design and merchandising executive for well-established brands including Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Timberland, The Limited Corporation and Ralph Lauren.
What is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work?
I have two poles in my consultancy. On the one hand, I work as a Global Trend Ambassador, speaking and writing on color + trend around the world. On the other, I am an international design and development specialist and I work with artisans in developing countries to assist them in connecting maker to market. I’ve worked in this field for 25 years and we have hundreds of success stories around the world. We enable connections for sustainable incomes and cultures to grow. That is the work that really fuels my inspiration.
Can you name a pivotal event or project that impacted your career or company?
The Maison & Objet trade show in Paris was always one of my favorite shows. It is so full of innovation and inspiration from companies, large and small, from around the globe. I’m very excited to be working with them as their Global Trend Ambassador. It allows me access to the world of furniture, home décor and home accessories. I engage in creative conversations with the designers of the year who are our industry leaders as well as our rising talents who are our design future. As a designer myself, this constant interaction and growth sparks my own creativity and insights.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you do your work?
As a consultant, I am brought in to work on a myriad of projects anywhere in the world. I enjoy the challenges and the variety of work. I love the travel. Unfortunately, many of the older and larger companies are struggling to move themselves forward as the landscape of retail and wholesale shifts and changes. We are in a stage of renaissance. It’s a fascinating time and I am optimistic, but I do see those that are unwilling to change—to think outside of the box—falling away. Many of them were industry leaders yet still they have been unable to weather these storms. I am hopeful that in this omni-channel world, with sustainability at the epicenter and experience and personalization paramount as well, that retail can right its course and thrive once again.
How do you de-stress and find balance in the demanding 24/7 workplace?
Living in New York City affords me the opportunity to have a world of distractions and inspirations at my fingertips. My partner, Brian, is a menswear designer and we both enjoy live theater on Broadway and off. We love films, galleries and museums. We also love food and eating, and the beauty of New York City is that you can eat high or low and all of it is good. We travel as often as we are able. I’m at 58 countries and counting.
What you will be speaking about and how this topic is important for Show audiences.
My talk will focus on the macro global trends and their effects on our colors and products for 2020 and beyond. How do we distill the information and noise and hit the target with the products that consumers will be looking for?
Trends at the Crossroads: Sharpen Your Focus
Sunday, March 15 | 2:30 – 3:20 p.m.
Lakeside Center, Innovation Theater, Room E350
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
I see a few concerns that consumers are having. They question quality and that’s why transparency at every level is very important. They need to understand, and to be comfortable with the who, what, where of a product, and its route to market. They have a need for instant gratification and a desire for engagement and experience. These put pressure on our retailers. The retailers need to identify their particular DNA and get to the core of who they are, why they are in business and find how to connect to their consumers and their values. Those shared connections are the route to getting and keeping consumers.
What are some of today’s trends that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
Trends include a focus on nature, starting with the warming trend of lush, pink-casted reds, hot lava oranges, corals and golden marigold yellows. These are contrasted with watery ocean shades of azure and cobalt blue, and mid-range blues reminiscent of chambrays. Lastly nature’s herbal and vegetal greens will ground us—from soft, cool mints to verdant mosses and olives and the new lichen casts that offer us a new take on neutrals. Mixing and matching these trends gives a fresh take for tabletop and housewares.
To learn more about Patti’s work, see www.patticarpenter.com
Thank you, Patti, for making this stop in Chicago as you travel around the world spotting trends as they emerge. We value your perspectives on what consumers are seeking and look forward to learning more about your discoveries at recent trade shows during your presentation at the Innovation Theater on Sunday March 15 at 2:30 p.m.
Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater to hear about successful retail practices as well as the latest research and analysis of home trends and forecasts for products in the smart home, kitchen and health care categories. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at The Inspired Home Show after the Show.