The Label Gator Blog

Were Our 2017 Hort Trend Predictions Accurate?

January 18, 2018

 

Our 2017 hort trend predictions weren’t clear trends, but there are plant predictions. Let’s take a look at how accurate they were over the course of 2017. These lists were originally comprised of data from various growers and publications.

The Top 5 Annuals For 2017 Hort Trend Predictions

  1. Dahlias
  2. Calibrachoas
  3. Violas
  4. Begonia Annuals
  5. Petunias

 

The Top 10 Perennials For 2017 Hort Trend Predictions

  1. Adenophora
  2. Echinacea
  3. Coreopsis
  4. Dianthus
  5. Gaillardias
  6. Hibiscus
  7. Phlox
  8. Lavender
  9. Salvia
  10. Helenium
buddha in a zen garden - 2017 Hort Trend Predictions

So, how did we do?


First of all, as mentioned in last week’s 2018 trend predictions blog, zen gardens and mental wellness are growing in popularity. So, lavender, echinacea, violas, and hibiscus were all particularly on trend this year. These plants make for easy combinations that also serve double duty. Hibiscus, echinacea, and lavender in particular are used in mindful cooking or tea brewing. Many meditators brew tea as a part of their practice.¬†

Leafy greens such as swiss cheese plant and spider plants trended with millennials. Particularly on Instagram, these plants create a serene atmosphere. Succulents and airplanes also remained popular with this age group. When targeting budding gardeners, pay attention to the pulse of social media.

Many of the predictions are classic options. While dahlias, petunias, and salvia was on store shelves, have they ever not been? Although accurate, these predictions are like saying water will be on trend for gardeners.

Overall, these predictions are accurate, but they also didn’t capture what gardeners wanted in 2017. By missing the leafy plant trend, social sharing was completely overlooked. I give it a score of 70%.



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Jackie Jorgenson, Marketing Specialist For Great Lakes Label & Label Gator

 

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Crystals & Gemstones In Zen Gardening

January 16, 2018

 

Crystals and gemstones play a pivotal role for some meditators, and with the growth of mental wellness in gardening, this is an important topic to understand. Learn more about the popularity of zen gardening, popular crystals and how customers can use them in their gardens. Then, design helpful labels and combinations that make shopping easy for new gardeners. In a world where anything can be bought online, provide a unique shopping experience and a personal connection.

The Popularization of Zen Gardening

zen garden

Color Associations

Last year, Greenery was dubbed the color of the year by Pantone because of its earthy and relaxing quality. This year, Pantone has declared ultra-violet the color of the year, a color associated with mysticism. These color choices are symbolic of other shits happening in the horticulture industry.

2017 Trends

Imperfect gardening is increasing in popularity.¬†Lack of time, lack of commitment, and an increase in appreciation of the natural state of things all play a role. And, it’s also bringing peace of mind to your gardeners.

Mental wellness is also growing in popularity. Millennials and young green thumbs are looking to create spaces that enhance their air quality. As metropolitan areas grow, clear air becomes much more important. Gardeners of all ages are also looking to create a private, tranquil space to use for their meditation practice. Many meditators like holing crystals and stones during their practice to provide clarity and focus.

What does this mean for growers?

So, as zen gardens grow, so will the desire to adorn them with crystals and gemstones. Even if your customers don’t meditate, the beauty and color enhance the natural aesthetic of the plants you sell. Provide people with a unique, inspirational in-store experience to set yourself apart from your competition, including e-commerce.

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Popular Crystals & Gemstones


First, learn the history & significance of crystals and gemstones. Do your research to provide customers with an authentic and educational experience. Expertly pair crystals and stones with plants that match. 

Below are some of the major stones and their spiritual associations.

Amethyst

Often associated with clear thinking, and dreaming. In ancient Greece, “Amethystos” was said to prevent drunkenness.

Aquamarine

Enhances all things associated with voice and provides clarity of mind when articulating thoughts without anger.

Clear Quartz

This stone is considered the most powerful meditation and healing stone there is. It is also known for amplifying the energies of other stones.

Red Jasper

Red Jasper is thought to bring a calm and grounding energy to the holder, ideal for meditation or prayer. It also stimulates creativity, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives.

Rose Quartz

Motherhood heavily surrounds this stone. ¬†If one has lost their mother, it inspired self-nurturing, and if one is becoming a mother, it’s good to place on the belly or have nearby during the birth. It is also considered the stone of love.


Indoor Uses


Obviously for customers who have a mediation area filled with plants, a small tray of crystals help to have nearby. This makes it easy to grab before they begin their practice. Adding crystals and gemstones to containers for air plants is a subtle and minimalistic way to achieve the same goal. Plus, air plants won’t get the stones dirty. Planting tilandsias onto crystals or gemstones saves room while adding to the decor.

For those that merely appreciate the aesthetic look, incorporate them into containers. Use them as plant accessories, either inside the container, or sitting next to it. Again, using them with air plants brings beautiful color to the item year round.

Outdoor Uses
gemstones outside in garden


The main consideration for holding outdoor stones during a meditation practice is cleanliness. For some customers, bringing indoor stones outside is the only way to go. Leaving a tray of stones out on patio furniture, under an umbrella, is another option. For others, picking up a raw gemstone adorning the back garden is ideal. Either way, larger pieces that compliment the aesthetic look of the garden are best. 

Partner With Local Businesses & Supply Customers In-Store

When it’s not a great fit…


Crystals and gemstones may not be a good fit for your brand and not an ideal item to have in stock. Regardless, know local businesses who do sell the items in order to refer curious customers. This also relieves you of the pressure to be an expert on the topic. While it’s important to understand the trend and the symbolisms, partnering with an expert enhances customer shopping experiences. Providing local spiritualistic stores with air plants for their stones works as a business referral to your advantage as well.

When it’s a great fit….


By offering customers crystals and gemstones in-store, you also provide inspiration. Show them how to use stones through your displays. Don’t be afraid to get specific and create a meditation or zen garden which features various stones. Offer books on the topic. Provide meditation classes where customers can hold the crystals during the practice like a test run. Dive in and provide customers with a truly unique shopping experience they won’t get anywhere else. With the expansion of e-commerce, this is crucial.

Use Promotional Label Design


Whether you’ve partners with a local business, or you offer stones in-store, create promotional labels advertising good matches with plants you sell. Booklet-style labels are a great option when looking to expand content with more label space. It even allows for a basic overview of the stone’s spiritual associations. Or, use an inspirational image of a zen garden.

When making combinations of various plants with crystals and gemstones, use the promotional label to break down various prices. As mentioned, ultra violet is the color of the year. Try creating a purple combination with a large raw amethyst  nestled inside. Then, create a buttermilk yellow label to pop from your product, while complimenting the colors. 

This way, while you inspire customers, you’ll also highlight plants’ value points.



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Jackie Jorgenson, Marketing Specialist For Great Lakes Label & Label Gator

 

Jackie Jorgenson

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3 Horticulture Trend Predictions For 2018

January 11, 2018

 

A new year has begun. It’s time to take a look at our horticulture trend predictions based on what we saw develop in the industry over 2017. These are our top 3 suggestions for trends to keep your eyes on. This spring, they will play major roles in sales and in creating customer/brand relationships.

3. The Bigger Picture Is Also Impacting The Smaller Picture
bee- pollinator plants

Bees

When bees were added to the endangered species list, pollinator plants skyrocketed as a horticulture trend. Shoppers are much more in tune with environmental concerns and are also eager to make a positive impact. When designing labels, make sure to specify which plants you sell are ideal for pollinators. It’s also crucial to communicate care information on your blog or social media pages.

Chemical-Based Products

With environmental concerns rising, consumers are reaching for natural products. ¬†They’re searching for alternatives to chemical-based products and DIY recipes. This way, they know they can have beautiful flowers that keep the planet healthy. Offer your own solutions and provide simple DIY tutorials and recipes on your website.

Weather & Natural Disasters’ Influence

Weather patterns are impacting landscape decisions. Drought tolerant plants were a conversation piece at the beginning of the year. As time goes on, we predict the same thing will occur for plants that help with flooding. With fires, homeowners will look to rocky zen gardens to ease their worry of a spreading threat.

2. Growth of E-Commerce Means Going Above & Beyond In-Store
garden center - vs e-commerce horticulture trend predictions 2018

Lean Six Sigma

Lean flow is a topic we explored in depth last week. Be sure to read that post before re-arranging your production line… Okay, now that you’ve taken a moment to read about how lean six sigma saves time, money, and labor for growers, it’s also time to look at your store. How can the flow, the displays, and the product presentation impact how customers see your store? With so much online competition, it’s time to make your customers’ shopping experience so enjoyable that they prefer to come in and shop.

Labeling Automation Systems

Automation plays a huge roll in this movement. Growers, whether you’re a green house, nursery, or a garden center, all need to focus on growing the best plants possible. Invest in automation to direct your employee’s attention back to what matters. Start with labeling since our systems label hundreds of containers in under a minute, saving you massive amounts of time, money, and even labor.¬†

Consider Your Customers’ Needs

A customer oriented, and empathetic, perspective is non-negotiable. What information, products, and customer service do your customers need? Go above and beyond that standard to remain competitive to e-commerce shopping. That personal touch and small business relationship is important. You also need social media presences, effective label design, and enjoyable shopping experiences.

1. Zen Gardening & Mental Wellness To Grow as a Horticulture Trend
zen garden

Pantone’s Color of The Year: Greenery

It all started when Pantone named Greenery as their color of the year for 2017. They anticipated a year where people would need a quiet space to escape to. Plants also offer that private serenity. By the end of the year, there was a clear shift in perspective toward the value gardens offer in taking a moment to breathe.

Gardens

Outside, we’re seeing an emphasis on privacy, taking¬†delight in the imperfection, and also¬†meditation gardens. Japanese maples, decorative rock gardens and minimalist statues will all grow in popularity. This horticulture trend is lead by millennials who value experiences over owning products.

Terrariums & Indoor Decor

Inside, it’s another story. Many young people living in apartments and turning to shade loving plants or easy-care succulents. Customers are looking to create spaces that enhance the air quality, provide fresh herbs for mindful cooking, and overgrown rooms.


Learn about the labeling and automation solutions that Label Gator offers. See how you can save time, money and labor with our Product Guide. Click here to download the guide.

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Jackie Jorgenson, Marketing Specialist For Great Lakes Label & Label Gator

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Merchandising For Spring Horticulture Success

January 9, 2018

 

Bridget Behe’s American Hort presentation on merchandising was an enlightening look at how growers can improve for the spring season. The actionable steps are simple, but effective. To add to her data-backed suggestions, here are our own from observing current trends.

Create an Inviting Environment
Bridget Behe's Display Table Merchandising Tip - Chevron vs. Flat

According to Behe’s findings, a chevron display layout makes it easier for the customer to see more since they don’t have to turn their head as much to view the product. Imagine if you’re entering the store at the top of the images, making your way down. With the flat display, you have to turn your head as you pass each aside. With the chevron display you merely need to move your eyes. Make it easier on your customers and show them more.

Another simple trick is to make sure there’s no puddles on the ground. Customers naturally step around them, which can block them from getting to the items they want to look at. This creates an undesirable experience.

Display height is another consideration. Behe suggests 2 foot benches where products are exposed to customers’ eyes, but aren’t too low. Benches that are too high make it difficult for shorter people to get a full view of all products on the display. Make it accessible for everyone.

Our suggestion is to create a welcoming environment, as suggested above, but also keep your displays in good condition. Outdated looking displays with chipped paint, cracks, or rust say a lot to the customer. Make the space modern and clean. Black is a classic color that disappears into the background. Black benches are a great option in making your products shine.

Understand What Draws Customer Attention

Bridget Behe had fantastic, data-based advice on what naturally draws customers’ eyes. These simple takeaways include:

  • Signs in the center of displays are more engaging than when placed on the sides
  • Use images of people engaging with the plant to make a human connection with customers
  • The more crowded a display is, the less likely customers are to buy
    • 6 plants of the same genus was most effective
  • People are more likely to buy plants on the right side of the display, while faster purchases were made with plants on the left (possibly because we read left to right)
  • More purchases and faster purchases were made using the front row
Demographics need to come into play as well. Are you hoping to draw in young gardeners to build a life-long hobby? Create eye-catching displays in windows, or outdoors that use succulents and air plants. Hoping to catch the attention of a retired home owner with lots of gardening experience? Build displays that introduce them to new ways to envision old classics. Or, introduce them to a new variety surrounded by popular options.

Labels & Packaging

Hanging baskets can be converted to combinations, so advertise that on your labels. As mentioned above, show people using your products to create a human connection. Imagery in general communicates much more than words on your labels ever will. Entice them with a DIY project, make an emotional connection by using a model, or incorporate labeling technology to go above and beyond their expectations.

Hedonic vs. Utilitarian

Hedonic, in this instance, refers to the beautiful blooms over the utilitarian herbs. Behe brilliantly suggests combining the two to create surprising and delightful combinations. Foodscaping is a trend we’ve been exploring over the past year, and one that seems to be on the rise. People expet to pay more for hedonic products, especially when displayed in a hedonic environment. It serves as inspiration, and there’s value to that.


Learn about the labeling and automation solutions that Label Gator offers. See how you can save time, money and labor with our Product Guide. Click here to download the guide.

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Jackie Jorgenson, Marketing Specialist For Great Lakes Label & Label Gator

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Save Money By Being Lean in Horticulture

January 4, 2018

 

Start your new year with a fresh start that saves time, labor, and money. Greenhouse Grower is a major advocate for lean flow and you’ll see why in this article. We’ll explore exactly what lean flow means, how to incoroprate it into your production line and why investing in labeling automation is your first step.

The Principles of Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma Logo

Lean Six Sigma, often referred to as “lean,” is a method of removing waste in all forms. Waste of time, money, and tangible items are all included in this systematic restructuring. It’s of Japanese origin and focussess on reducing waste in the following areas:

  • Defects
  • Over-Production
  • Waiting
  • Talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Processing
For Greenhouse Grower, flow works with reduction to create an efficient and smooth process. It’s goo to be a lean greenhouse, nursery, or garden center. It’s better to have lean flow.

Ways To Incorporate it Into Your Business

Intelligently Curated Product Options

If products don’t sell, replace them with something new that customers will want to see on shelf. Also, if you add a product, remove a product. Customers will get overwhelmed when there are too many choices to decide between, so give them your best plant options. ¬†Be flexible with the trends as well. While not every trend will be ideal for your business, you need to make customers want to come back. If you don’t offer what they are looking for, they will look elsewhere. Why risk losing customers over what worked five years ago?

How many shades of color do you need? A vibrant pink and a light pink could work for your customers, but they don’t care about every hue in between. By reducing unnecessary products, you reduce shipping, labeling and labor. So, ultimately, you make the decision making process easier for your customers, and you make business easier on yourself.

Production Floor Layout

Create a lean flow by finding ways to literally make your production line flow. When products halt on the conveyor, your business wastes time, production capabilities, and labor. So, do you currently have a busy single conveyor line? Add a few offshoots. It creates more room to work and provides time for employees to complete tasks. These changes increase in production and productivity.

The less an employee has to hit a moving target, the better. It increases accuracy and gives your employees time to double checking their work. The offshoot conveyors give employees more time to create a quality product for your customers. 

Keep Track of Production Information

Use a simple whiteboard to plan how many products need to be processed and then how many products are actually processed through the day. Keep track of how many people are available on your line to understand capabilities. Then, if your production is running behind, call in more employees. Data helps make informed decisions, and the whiteboard method reduces time in making those decisions.

Creating Flow Reduces Hold Ups

Imagine a crowded single conveyor where, to double check a product, it also means halting oncoming items on the conveyor. With lean flow, products aren’t held up. When one employee halts their section of the line, the conveyor keeps going. This is what flow is all about. Put systems in place that make every single minute a valuable one.

How Labeling Automation Fits With Lean Six Sigma

LabelGator- The Label Gator Two-Sided Labeling System No Black Pots
Labeling automation is a crucial part of creating lean flow. Go from this…


To this.

Instead of 4 employees acting as label applicators, use 1 employee to operate the labeling system. Now 3 employees can get back to working on tasks that matter. Imagine how much time you save when hunreds of labels are applied in under a minute. The best part about label applicator systems is that they are added to your conveyor line, where convenient. 


Learn about the labeling and automation solutions that Label Gator offers. See how you can save time, money and labor with our Product Guide. Click here to download the guide.

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Jackie Jorgenson, Marketing Specialist For Great Lakes Label & Label Gator

Jackie Jorgenson

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