Archives for posts with tag: ideas

SANDRI 004If you’ve been paying even the slightest amount of attention to your social media accounts over the past few months, you will have noticed that the succulent trend of the past few years has transformed and blossomed into a fully-fledged resurrection of the houseplant craze of the 70’s and 80’s.

As with most trends, the houseplant revolution took root on the coasts, and is making rapid inroads towards the center of the country. Retail consumers (especially young, apartment-dwelling ones) are driven by the health benefits, the portability, and the affordability of houseplants; they are a super-easy way for your customers to make an impact on a living space, and make great gifts.

Even if you cater mostly to more established, home-owning consumers, you can still capitalize on this style shift, although you might also want to carry a selection of larger houseplants – we are seeing a big increase in sales of larger saucers this year, indicating that consumers aren’t just interested in small “starter” houseplants.

That this market shift is occurring is great news for just about everyone involved in the garden industry – houseplant sales aren’t seasonal in nature, and can help drive year-round profitability for your garden center.

Over the past few years, retailers who embraced succulents have seen sales spike in related categories as well, as consumers shopped for specialty soils, watering cans, fertilizers, and most importantly (from our perspective, anyway), pottery. We fully expect that the same thing will happen for garden centers who have the foresight to latch onto the houseplant craze as well.

We recommend that you include a range of planters in your Spring stocking order to ensure that you’re ready for consumer demand – hanging baskets, self-watering planters, pots with attached saucers, bonsai planters, and small pots with matching saucers are all good add-ons to your outdoor pottery offerings.

If you’d like to read more on the impact that houseplants are having on our industry, The December issue of Green Profit Magazine includes several perspectives on the growth in this market, and is worth a read.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2018-ultra-violet-lee-eiseman-quoteIt’s the end of the year, which means that it’s time for the color gurus to start releasing their thoughts on the direction of fashion for the next 12 months. As always with these projections, we recommend that you view them only as general guidance, and to not let them overly influence your pottery buying plans – you are likely much more in tune with what your customers will be shopping for than are these national organizations.

Pantone has just announced that their selection for the color of the year for 2018 is going to be Ultra Violet, a rich purple leaning slightly towards blue. Here are their notes on the selection:

“A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.”

In a related development, Benjamin Moore Paints also projected the big color for 2018, and  their team of style-makers disagreed with Pantone, selecting “Caliente”, a rich ruby red as their winner:

ENGC-S5-MT - HEROBased on the volume of questions that we field from our customers, deciding how to price out a set of flower pots is one of the more difficult tasks facing garden center management today.

There are a lot of approaches to accomplishing this task, and different solutions will often work for different garden centers, or even for different products within the same garden center. In many ways, pricing planters is more of an art than a science, but there are some basic concepts that will help to get you started, and at least one rule that you should never break:

  • The biggest key to successfully pricing your pots is to make sure that the prices for each piece are proportionally and logically  related to the actual size and scale of each pot included in the set. The easiest way to do this is to use a simple formula to establish ballpark prices. We use the following to power the Unit Price Calculator on our website – Please note that the steps below will work either before or after your margin calculations:
    • Each pot in the set is assigned a numerical value, with 1 being the smallest pot, 2 being the 2nd smallest, 3 being the 3rd smallest, and so forth.
    • These numerical unit values are then added together – a three-pot set would have a total unit count of 6, for example (1+2+3=6). Similarly, a four-pot set would total 10 units (1+2+3+4=10).
    • You then divide the cost of the set by the set’s total unit count – A three-pot set with a cost of $60.00 would be divided by 6 per the example above, resulting in a unit cost of $10.00.
    • This unit cost is then multiplied by the total number of units assigned to an individual pot, so our $60.00 set with an individual unit cost of $10.00 results in per-pot benchmark prices of $10.00 (1 x $10.00), $20.00 (2 x $10.00), & $30.00 (3 x $10.00).
    • If you don’t feel like doing the math by hand, we have an easy-to-use downloadable Excel calculator on our website.
  • Don’t be afraid to second-guess the results from the formula, as many times it will make sense to adjust the weighting of the prices – most often reducing the price of the smallest pot while adding to the cost of the largest pot(s), which tend to be less price-sensitive at retail.
  • One of the great things about the pottery category is that it offers a lot of opportunity for enhancing your margin dollars. It’s perfectly fine to raise your prices beyond what the formula dictates if you feel that a particular pot can support a higher price –  If a pot looks like a $79.00 item to you, but the formula says that it should be a $59.00 pot, charge the higher price – you can always discount away from it if needed.
  • Finally, the only hard and fast rule in this process is that you should never, ever, simply divide the cost of a set by the number of pots in the set. This  overly-simple solution always leads to retail prices that don’t make sense, as you wind up with large and small pots sitting on your shelves at the same price.

Check out this cool post from Houzz.com about potting stations. Of course, we suggest using our pots instead of the ones pictured in the article, but as a general rule, we are fully in favor of home improvement projects that result in more pots being filled with dirt and plants.

It seems like Summer just started, but as always, Fall is just around the corner. In the Houzz story below, 5 ideas for Fall planters are discussed – lots of great ideas that can help to grow your pottery department’s profits during the traditional “off season”.

Imagine what a difference it would make in your garden to switch out earth-toned pots that blend in with the background with containers that visually pop in shades of blue, red, orange or even purple. Colorful containers can be used in many ways to stand out and grab our attention in outdoor spaces — often where it’s more challenging to add color. Not all of the pots shown in the article are ours, but we’ve got similar ones available – remember that it’s the concepts and colors that are most important, not the specific planters.

As Lauren Dunec Hoang points out in this terrific idea book from Houzz, “nothing has more immediate impact on the mood of a garden than color”. The principles and palettes that she details can be applied to any garden or landscaping project, from a multi-pot container garden to a large flower garden. No matter the scale of the project, brightly colored flower pots and planters are a great way to highlight specific colors, and to ensure that those colors remain part of your garden palette even after the flowers fade.

For the past year and a half, succulents have been lighting garden sales on fire across the country. While we do carry some pots which we consider to be specialty succulent planters, the reality is that these plants can beautifully occupy just about any container. This article from Houzz offers some great pointers and ideas on how to best pair your succulents with appropriate flower pots. Please note that not all of the pots shown are ours, but we do carry containers which are similar to most of those included in the article.

The houzz.com slideshow below has some tremendous ideas for Springtime container plantings. Preparing and selling pre-planted containers such as these can be an especially great way for independent garden centers to separate themselves from the big boxes, as this is a level of service that just can’t be scaled. While most of the pots shown in the slides aren’t ours, we do have very similar items to most of them on hand for quick shipment.

flower-pot-breadFor as long as humans have been making ceramic objects, they have been crafting clay into vessels to store and prepare food. From the Tandoor ovens of India, to the Tanjine of North Africa, to the Romertopf of Germany, virtually every pottery producing society on the planet has a range of traditional dishes and cooking methods centered around terra cotta clay.

In North America, we tend to reserve our red clay for flower pots and planters, while doing most of our cooking in metal pots and pans.  In spite of this history, many people are discovering the unique properties that terra cotta  clay offers to the chef, and are creatively re-purposing our German red clay pots and saucers for a variety of culinary purposes.

The porous nature of the terra cotta used to make these flower pots allows both moisture and heat to circulate through the body of the planter, encouraging even cooking temperatures and gentle browning. Here are some of our favorite uses that we’ve come across:

Our lawyers insist that we make the point that the intended use for all of the pots and planters that we sell is for use as containers for plants and flowers. That said, should you feel an overwhelming urge to unleash your hidden terra cotta chef, all of our German red clay pots and saucers are free of any harmful substances: these pots and saucers are lead-free, and their ceramic body is of natural mineral origin, and does not contain any heavy metals or chemical additives.

Our German red clay pots will not release any harmful vapors when exposed to heat, and that any contact between foodstuffs and the bodies of these pots and will be harmless if basic food safety rules are followed.