Chophouse Row
Kicking off May by visiting NICHEoutside and Kurt Farm Shop within the newly opened Chophouse Row in Seattle. 
The petite garden-inspired retail store within the mixed-use development along 11th Avenue packs a punch with beautiful and unique products. Owned by the team behind the floral design studio Fleurish, the crisp jewel-box space, along the charming pedestrian alleyway, feels very European.
We're particularly fond of how the visual merchandising at NICHEoutside reflects the same durability and form as the assortment. Case in point: a brass dowel wall full of suspended treasures. 
The second space within the Chophouse Row mews is Kurt Farm Shop. The retail-foodservice-hybrid offers award-winning cheese, small-batch ice cream and plants from Kurtwood Farm on Vashion Island along side a small selection of artisan dairy products from other local farms. We love how the photos of Kurt's "ladies" flanking the 295-square-foot-shop reinforce the farm-to-table anesthetic authentic. 
Visual cues are vital in retail and restaurants because they inform a deeper customer experience and both of these concepts balance graphics with thoughtfulness. Plus, the implamentation at NICHEoutside and Kurt Farm Shop feels simple and fresh.
Allowing customers to discover and place importance on the specific products and services that resonate with each individual – with minimal signage and calculated formulation – is the ultimate pledge to authentic consumer-centric innovation at retail.  
UPDATE 6/9/15: According the CHS Blog, a grand opening celebration for Chophouse Row will take place on June 11th. 
pastry mashup
Foodspotting: The hybrid DonutMuffin at the Ferry
Building Saturday Market in San Francisco. 
Six stories you need to know before you hit the water cooler...
  • Hybridification: Are pastry mash-ups a real treat or half-baked? NYTimes
  • Farewell: DailyCandy will shutter next week. Racked
  • Retail Intelligence: Bricks-and-mortar stores are looking like physical websites. Financial Post
  • Transparency: App lets consumers find out if cosmetics contain toxic chemicals. Springwise
  • SmartCommerce: Shazam for clothes finally exists! Racked
  • Design Diligence: Novel eye-tracking study improves label designs. Food Navigator
Liu Jo windows
Color craft is part of a merchandiser’s ability. Certain product stories are enhanced by color and arrangements are well thought out so as to minimize confusion. For example, it is well known that certain shades of blue and green, in combination with black, should be presented in a customer-friendly arrangement that allow each color to be distinguishable from the other – reducing mix-ups, accidental purchases, and ultimately returns.
merchandising by color
In contrast – literally – to this school of thought are the window displays at Liu Jo. Spotted in Rome, this still life photographic arrangement in pale pink is a trend in both color and form. Possibly inspired by the work of Carl Kleiner and Evelina Bratell’s work on the  Ikea baking cookbook  Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best), Things Organized Neatly’s clever Tumblr feed, and Swedish installation photographer, Helga Steppan’s See Through series, the simplistic display is visually refreshing in comparison to the others near the Via del Corso.

We love the retailer’s take on combining lifestyle objects with one important statement piece. This standout presentation is an example of marketing, brand, and creative collaboration that is relevant to multiple trends in food, fashion, and consumer packaged goods.   

Binchotan Toothbrush
Binchotan Toothbrush
Forget the frivolous Maison Martin Margiela Ostrich feather pen fad and turn your attention to charcoal for an intelligent home novelty.
We've watched as Japanese bamboo charcoal at Boulettes Larder has gained popularity among the Gastronomes, and have long been enamored with the Chikuno Cube as an all-natural air freshener, but last month we were delighted to see other Binchotan products — like the famous "black toothbrush", known for radiating negative ions and providing a powerful deodorizing effect by removing the plaque and the cause of bad breath — gain mainstream appeal.
No longer an online exclusive, this cohesive heath and beauty Bichotan offering was spotted on a recent trendscaping safari at Inform in Vancouver, Canada. Using a QR technology as part of the product signage, the simple visual presentation was able to communicate the vast benefits of traditional and contemporary Japanese aesthetics to overseas markets.
We believe that the strength of merchandising is often in simplicity (and quality never goes out of style), and adding the QR code provides instantaneous customer service.
Totokaelo retail store
totokaelo retail
East meets West at Totokaelo's latest Seattle boutique in Capitol Hill.
The cult concept, created by Jill Wenger, captures a casual, calculated refinement with exceptional merchandising. The architectural space is the perfect canvas for an expanded product assortment, which now includes the sister concept ‘Totokaelo Art—Object’.
Totokaelo (pronounced TOH-toh-KYE-oh) peeked the interest of many LA boutique owners during out market visit last year and we're delighted that this new move is not only an expansion but an evolution.
Why Our 2013 Annual Trendscaping Report is Required Reading.
1. Trends matter.
Now more than ever, culture is fueling the engine of commerce. Consumer behavior, preferences, and expectations determine our culture. And it’s constantly changing. Keeping up with these cultural changes – or trends – gives you the power to advance your brand. To be in the right place, with the right message, at the right time. To leave the competition eating your dust.
2.  We’ve spent our time and money so you don’t have to.
We’ve done all the legwork, scoping out brands, products, and cultural phenomena that are inside and outside your category. Our annual report gives you a concise and stylish account of the latest consumer trends. What’s more, it tells you what they mean for your business. Doing your homework has never been so easy. Or affordable.
3.  With insight comes innovation.
It’s not enough to just spot a trend. Great ideas come from understanding what it means and where it’s headed. Think remote retail. Personalized window shopping. Or mini pastries. The more insights you have about your customers’ behavior, interests, and expectations, the easier it is to tailor your business or service to meet their needs.
4.  Turn a pitch into a home run.
Whether you’re a manager pitching a new idea to your boss, or a CEO trying to persuade the board, the job of selling never stops. We make it easier by providing additional research, facts, visual aids, and insider knowledge to strengthen your presentation. In other words, the extra muscle you need to knock your next pitch out of the park.
5.  It Pays to be Proactive.
The world is changing even as we speak. And that affects business. Exploring big-picture consumer themes and what they mean is crucial to staying one step ahead of your competition – and your customers. Because once you know where people are headed, you can be there to meet them.
Get out front and stay there.
Pre-order your 2013 Annual Trendscaping Report here.
Apple Active Electronic Media Packaging
apple merchandising
How do you elevate the categorization and organization of products? Simply make it easier for customers to spend money.
Over-the-top window displays may be decorative, beautiful, and extravagant — but it's often the product merchandising that helps to educate and sell products. Unfortunately, there are limited opportunities to reconfigure fixtures or revolutionize displays. Until now.
According to a new patent application discovered by Apple Insider entitled "Active Electronic Media Packaging", Apple may be working on an active packaging system that would supply power and data to devices, allowing them to display content and show off features to customers while on display in a store. The proposed invention aims to replace the typical labels and other advertising that is found on the outside of product packaging. Instead, Apple's method would let the product sell itself.
{Photo: AppleInsider}
"Although typical packaging for an electronic media device may be designed to adequately protect the device from shock or damage, the packaging is extremely limited in other respects," the filing reads. "For example, the ability to fully view or interact with the electronic media device while still inside the packaging is severely limited in most packaging designs. Although unobtrusive packaging designs have been developed, these designs typically do not allow electronic media devices to be interacted with while inside the packaging."
We love the idea of a wireless powered charging merchandising system that would allow products like the iPhone and iPad to charge while sealed in packaging.
It's the ultimate in customer service.
{source: Apple Insider}
People's Pops
People's Pops
We've long been fans of the DIY ethos of People's Pops. With flavors like Raspberries & Basil, Peach & Bourbon, and Cantaloupe & Tarragon — the concept championed seasonal creativity while remaining loyal to their brand.
Launched as a one-day experiment on a hunch in 2008, partners Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell, and Joel Horowitz mark their fourth summer in business with four stores, four flea/farmers market locations across New York City, and the national release of their book People's Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn's Coolest Pop Shop on June 5th.
Our first pop-in (pun intended) occurred at the Chelsea Market in September of 2010 as we rushed from Milk Studios with our pals from butter LONDON during New York Fashion Week. The combination of nectarine + jasmine was almost as clever as the counter constructed out of popsicle sticks.
Power to the pop peeps.
Starbucks SunValley Concept
When the Huffington Post shared photos of the new Starbucks 'Concept Shop' in Amsterdam, more than a couple elements in the design looked familiar.
We're not talking about the "U" shaped wine bar or food offerings at the three neighborhood named Seattle "concept shops" which popped up in 2009.
Oddly enough, the Amsterdam store looks much like the cafe in Ketchum, Idaho which opened in November 2011. Both locations feature sustainable design elements, like reclaimed wood, and are located within newly renovated historic buildings.
Sbux Ketchum
Starbucks Concept Store
Starbucks Store
Starbucks Ketchum
Perhaps the brand wanted to test the design back home before launching overseas.
Trends vs. Fads
{upscale burgers: fad or trend?}
A couple weeks back we were approached about the subject of trends versus fads. Some say that the difference between a fad and a trend is the number of industries it affects. A fad often appears in a single industry and rarely crosses over into others.
This definition works well for the fashion industry, but things become a bit gray when you adopt the same metrics for food, lifestyle, and new media. In a culture that vastly slices and dices industries into unique categories, it is becoming more difficult to define using the appropriate measurement. For example, you could segment the food industry into location based on the customer's experience: QSR, restaurants, fast food, etc. or alternately by channel: manufacturing, wholesale, retail, etc.
At In Your Head, we view a fad as a fleeting behavior, whereas a trend is considered to be a behavior that evolves into a relatively permanent change. We decipher themes, sentiments, and activities shaping the consumer landscape across multiple industries. Our long-term micro and mega trend tracking often identifies blips on the radar well before reaching mass adoption.
Fads are often important tools in understanding and identifying the root of a trend. In addition to influencing thinking, fads provide a real-time glimpse into adoption across a variety of demographics. Within the confines of our Annual Trendscaping Report for 2013, to be released in May of this year, we provide our readers with a more expansive view of full trend cycles, from fad to trend.
To learn more about upgrading and expanding your knowledge of global trends affecting consumers in different verticals, demographics, and age groups for 2013, click here.