It has been a couple weeks since Foresight & Trends, the memories of my best vegan lunch are fading slowly. The memory of a walk we took at the conclusion of the conference, however, remains vivid in my thoughts.
Have you been on a trend walk?
I’ve been asking people this question for the past two weeks, in almost every meeting. This was my third trend walk - Tokyo, Boston and now NYC. Each time the memories are vibrant and I walk away saying to myself, “we need to do this more.” There’s so much to learn, just walking around a city with your senses wide open.
When I mentioned this to Ali Kaplan, senior editor of Shopping & Style for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, she completely agreed. “I know how crazy it sounds when I tell people that I go shopping for work, but visiting stores — especially the small, independent ones — offer a pulse on retail that you can’t get from reading reports. It’s the conversations with store owners who are there every day, the new brands they’ve discovered, and the way they merchandise products to tell a story. That’s where you find the inspiration.”
The Foresight & Trends walk was focused on eating — our guides were exceptional in their planning and we tasted our way across the island. Here’s a sampling of what we enjoyed on our NYC east to west “Eatail” safari.
The Meadow — 523 Hudson St — chocolate and bitters specialty shop selling salts, chocolates, dried flowers and other sundries. The selection was large, diverse and all consuming to our group. When you start thinking nothing is new in chocolate, visit this store and enjoy.
Brodo — 496 Hudson St — Broth shop launched by Chef Marco Canora selling, yes you read it right, bone broth as a drink. So, it isn’t too long before you’ll drive thru at your local bone broth store, Cattle.
Jonty Jacobs —114 Christopher St — South African snacks with a special interest in biltong, Antelope jerky. In this location they used beef but the drying methods are the same and it was certainly unique.
Rituals — 337 Bleecker St — One big brand is showing some agility with a Unilever owned relaxation brand with home and body products. The brand promotes slowing down and taking the time to enjoy. This is intriguing? Well, it wasn’t long ago when brands spoke about helping the busy “consumer” get more done.
Davids Tea — 275 Bleecker St — A tea store that isn’t trying to be a coffee shop. This not-so-small venture (from Canada) helping people fall in love with tea. They use design, smiles and some friendly advice to break down barriers. It has significant potential, far beyond the classic tea consumer.
The Doughnut Project — 10 Morton St — who doesn’t like a hand crafted, small batch doughnut, and a yeasty beauty that recently won the Delicious Living “single bite” award? This is worth a visit to anyone visiting NYC — to enjoy at least one.
These were the most interesting ones I was able to spend some time enjoying. There was one I missed, that still stings a bit. Email me if you want to know that one.
I can’t finish this post without making a pitch to anyone with a brain to take a trend tour. Find a good set of guides, let them do what they do and then drop yourself into the deep end of the pool of culture. Our guides were: Mikel Cirkus, Global Director Conceptual Design, Flavors Division, Firmenich and Jennifer Luzes, Global Innovation Foresight Manager, Firmenich.
Thank you Foresight & Trends for putting this event on and changing my perception of culture movements.