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Friday, July 07, 2006

Fashion Statements

Have you considered how many utilitarian items in our lives have been transformed into fashion statements? Communication devices [Razr, Slvr cell phones, PDAs, ...], entertainment devices [iPods], appliances [Viking ranges, Duet washer/dryer...], cars [Mini Cooper], clothes, wall paint [used to be white only, no longer!], even food!... It's actually astounding, but also extremely exciting.

For many consumers, and particularly women consumers, our homes are the ultimate fashion statement, capturing how we feel about ourselves, our accomplishments, our personal sense of style. We invest a great deal of effort and emotion in nurturing it, improving it, tweaking it and generally making sure that it's just right.

So why is it than when we shop for flooring, we so often have an experience that has nothing to do with fashion statements? Why is it that when I drive down a main drag, I notice more flooring stores that make me hit the gas pedal rather than slow down or even stop to browse? Where are the large uncluttered windows that draw me in visually? The subtle [or not so subtle] cues that tell me that fashion statements are being made here?

And, when I do stop to go in, why is it that I'm on my own because the store isn't organized in a way that makes sense to me? My fashion statements are about color and that's how I shop!

I'd rather postpone that purchase decision than have to deal with an unpleasant shopping experience, especially when I have lots of other options available for my time and money -- including doing nothing. If I can't find something on amazon.com or through google, I'd rather browse brick/mortar stores that make me feel good about being there: the Apple store, IKEA, Coldwater Creek, Aveda, Chico's, Whole Foods.... Wouldn't you?

We are entering the age of the empowered consumer thanks to the internet. She is able to access great information about what is available. Check out this article about the resurgence of carpeting, titled "Carpeting: It's right back under your feet" "Carpeting: It's right back under your feet". This kind of information resonates with consumers looking to make fashion statements. So how do we make sure that she can act on her desires?

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