May 2007
Market Watch: Feeling Inspired By Catherine Evans

Inspiration: stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity. That is one of the many definitions of inspiration, however, in the garden center world it goes much deeper than that. Oftentimes, especially recently, you will see vendors selling items with poetic sayings, unique designs or creative combinations. I know what you think: “Do people really buy this stuff?” The answer is yes.

Since 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq war, people have a tendency to feel a little scared at times and need some type of comfort. That is where the inspiration comes in. They want a saying that makes them feel good or a word that is powerful yet soothing. Let’s face it, we don’t live in a world that is all wine and roses, and consumers know that. However, there are ways to make them happy.

Yes, there is the aspect of being happy and healthy; sharing love with a significant other, friends and family; or having enough money to live a comfortable life. However, those are very general types of things, meaning they are what we all know and hold onto but sometimes that’s not enough.

Inspiration comes on more of a personal level. Whether it is some kind of muse you are looking for (my writing muse tends to take a vacation at the worst times), a person that really makes you feel good about yourself or a hobby that takes you away from it all. Ah ha, your garden center is the best place for inspiration then, isn’t it?

What could be more inspirational than a garden? You have all of the tools, and you know all of the vendors that carry the poetic sayings, reassuring words and comforting products. Now all you have to do is bring them together and you have the ability to inspire.

These days, consumers tend to require a little more inspiration. Whether it is after a week of sitting watching soccer game after soccer game or teaching a room full of kids ready for the school year to end, your customers need to be inspired, and you can make that happen.

Hold an event with creative gardening ideas, do giveaways with gifts that have sayings on them, create an inspiration area in your store for customers to see all of the wonderful things that can make their homes more inspired. There are plenty of ways to do it, and though it may sound a bit corny, take a look at that woman that has just walked into your store with three children under the age of five and see the look on her face. She needs some inspiration… and fast! Walk over, say hello and hand her a coupon for 20 percent off followed by an inspirational saying at the bottom and see how her expression changes.








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