Creating Fossick Trends - Part 1
Starting my own business was never part of my career plan, however the universe played its magic and presented me with a business idea right at the time the industry needed it. I was a little reluctant at first, but after an inspiring session with a business coach I decided to pursue my idea without knowing where it would lead. I approached it as a creative project’ which allowed me the freedom to be inquisitive, and just see how it evolved.
Before I go into my idea and what inspired me; Let me first share a little bit of my background, and provide some context as to why I’m so passionate about trend forecasting and making it more accessible.
I was originally a Designer.
I am a designer by trade, having studied Textile Design (many years ago!) at RMIT University in Australia. My obsession with trend forecasting started when I studied a semester at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. From my very first Trend Forecasting class I was hooked! My lucky parents in Melbourne received a phone call in the middle of the night (lunchtime UK time) to inform them that “I have found my passion!”.
I was fascinated with the process of researching shifts and changes in consumer behaviour, and using forecasting methodologies to predict future design trends appropriate for the customers needs. It completed the whole design picture for me, it was like the missing part of being a designer that I hadn’t been thoroughly taught before, the uncovering of consumer profiles and what brings a person to ultimately accept or reject a product or trend.
When I started my career, trend research and forecasting was mostly done by ‘trend scouts’ whose job was usually in-house completing their own research for the wider business. Trend forecasting wasn’t often outsourced and there weren’t many established trend companies. I quickly realised becoming a forecaster wasn’t going to be an easy career to pursue.
After completing my design degree, the natural step was to get industry experience. I got my first job as a designer, and was in design and product development roles for eight years. My time spent as a designer gave me the foundation knowledge of how products are developed. From inspiration and initial concepts, to production and delivery in store, it gave me first-hand knowledge in creating strong seasonal ranges that aligned with commercial and consumer needs.
A considerable amount of my design years were spent at Pacific Brands (now Hanes) developing products for some of Australia’s iconic underwear and babywear brands. I enjoyed the design part of my role, but the part that brought the most job satisfaction was the initial research and trend development. I got a buzz out of understanding different consumer cohorts and target markets in order to uncover new product opportunities for the brands I worked on always gave me a buzz. Trend forecasting remained my passion, and wherever possible I took it upon myself to add extra responsibilities on top of my design work that involved trend research.
Joining trend company Stylesight.
My first role in trend forecasting was with New York based company Stylesight. The experience joining that business was a real adrenalin hit! I felt no hierarchy there, and met some truly inspirational people, including the founder Frank Bober. It was a team of unique and passionate personalities who all were driven to deliver inspiring trend insights. It was a good culture fit for me working in a business that pushed boundaries, was ballsy and progressive, and 100% customer focused.
The role at Stylesight was a professional highlight for me and gave me exposure to the wide range of businesses that require trend insights. It was a small and nimble company so my role was varied from trend specialist, to customer service and account management. I worked day to day with Stylesight's customer base in Australia and it gave me exposure to the wide range of businesses that require trend insights. Armed with my in-depth product development knowledge, I naturally understood the designers' needs and was able to help them utilise the breadth of trend reports available on the subscription service. It was an absolute pleasure to be at work every day and assist their design needs with such an amazing worldwide team who could source the answers.
In 2013 Stylesight was acquired by WGSN and the two businesses merged. For several years I worked as an Accountant Manager for WGSN, and then as the Head of Account Management for Australia&New Zealand, leading the Account Management and Client Service teams.
My passion for trend forecasting is re-ignited.
My experience at Stylesight exposed me to what life in a ‘start up’ business was like. They were nimble and flexible as a business, and they applied a creative approach to delivering a trend service relevant to whatever the market was demanding. Customer service was their number one priority and, coupled with a super easy user experience as the foundation, they quickly grew a Stylesight fan club with designers all over the world.
Several months after leaving WGSN my career was moving in a slightly different direction. Meeting with a business coach to discuss some other roles, I mentioned to her an idea that had been swimming around in my head. I explained that in recent weeks my original passion and interest in trend forecasting methodologies had resurfaced, and with it, a new idea for the trend industry. It was the kind of idea that excited me and kept me awake at night, and I knew if I was back in my design role I would have loved using this product!
For the past two decades the trend landscape has been dominated by subscription services, but I believed now was the time for change and newness. I felt that Designers and brands were ready for a different solution, and were craving new and exciting inspiration from a variety of sources, without being locked into a subscription.
It became obvious that if I didn’t explore this idea then it would drive me crazy! So I decided to start exploring it and see where it would lead.
Stay tuned for Part 2 on Creating Fossick Trends