Shop the post: Everyone’s a plantfluencer

Janneke Luursema The Planthunter

“The one thing you can’t underestimate is how fantastic it looks in a physical shop. In their purest form, nature and plants create wonderful retail theatre. You can buy a dress for the season, then stroll outside to see some wonderful plants. If you’re a lifestyle retailer, not just a pure fashion retailer, there’s an opportunity.”
Peter Ruis, president of Canadian lifestyle retailer Indigo and former MD of Anthropologie

The #plantfluencer trend has flourished in just a couple of years, making everyone fancy themselves as a bit of a Monty Don. This Drapers article highlights the opportunity for fashion and lifestyle retailers, with houseplants, garden furniture and associated accessories all there for the taking. Having seen the trend infiltrate stores like H&M and Muji pre-pandemic, the last year has understandably seen a hunger for horticulture. From Gucci’s cottagecore obsession and recent collab with veg grower Gerald Stratford for Highsnobiety, to the new retail concept, Garden by Homebase at Next, which will see Next open Homebase shop-in-shop garden centre concepts at six UK sites, there’s plenty of room for growth.

Loewe candles
Gucci Gerald Stratford collab

“This retail trend, let’s call it Garden Zoning, shows how far consumers have come when it comes to sprucing up their gardens during the pandemic,” says DRG retail editor – and garden design enthusiast – Alison Farrington. “Many have tuned in to gardening shows such as BBC2‘s My Perfect Garden for inspiration and to reimagine their outdoor space as a seating area or safe socialising zone in the comfort of their own homes. It’s interesting to see that Homebase is expanding its reach by partnering with Next. The likes of Petersham Nurseries and Anthropologie have led the way for blurred inside-outside living and now there’s clearly demand for wider ranges of outdoor rugs and exterior sofas alongside planters and kitchen herb garden paraphernalia. The addition of ‘outdoor space experts’ on the shop floor indicates a level of commitment to this trend that looks set to continue through 2021 and beyond as consumers are still choosing to stay at home post-pandemic and invest in their own ‘garden rooms’.”

Janneke Luursema - The Planthunter

Farrington advises novice gardeners to buy ‘successional plants’, “so you have continuous colour and blooms in your gardens throughout the spring and summer months. And there is much joy from planning a cut-flower bed, which is perhaps why dahlias are back in fashion! My new favourite is the Hilcrest Royal variety.” For small spaces, she recommends windowsills as a good place to start, especially for easy-to-grow herbs such as mint, thyme and parsley, “or even pots for patios, so that you can move them around a small space”. For those alarmed by the latest news on eco-unfriendly compost, just look for the peat-free variety. Or cultivate your own ‘Bulky Organic Matter’ from vegetable or garden waste if you have outdoor space.

Me? I’m very much a novice. We have a low maintenance bonsai (gifted – thanks Shiseido!) and a couple of cacti, although I’m looking forward to Mr DRG planting the chilli and padron pepper seeds I got him from the Royal Horticultural Society website*, which has lots of hand-holding instructions and advice.


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Janneke Luursema / The Planthunter; Loewe; Gucci; Janneke Luursema / The Planthunter
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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TRP Travel Retail Style Index: May 2021

Tiffany & Co Blackpink Rosé ambassador

Welcome to the latest travel retail column for DRG by Alison Farrington aka The Retail Planner (TRP).

This month’s highlights come from a purposeful social retail pop-up in Hainan, a luxury hometail makeover and the latest TikTok trend.

1/ SOCIAL RETAIL. Societal pressures are the focus for a new type of phygital pop-up courtesy of Japanese skincare brand SK-II that has debuted a retail-tainment destination in the Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Centre in Sanya, Hainan.

The pop-up is an immersive representation of the P&G-owned brand’s new SK-II Studio animated anthology series called VS. The film and retail campaign aims to highlight career pressures faced by women and viewed through the experiences of six athletes taking part in this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The VS series pop-up makes its global debut at the Chinese duty free hotspot. A key attraction is the contactless skin counselling technology, the Mini Magic Scan, that is powered by an AI skin analysis tool and allows visitors to “understand their skin strengths and potential” while they reveal their skin age and receive personalised skincare recommendations.

While customers line up to purchase their SK-II products they can interact with the installation to unlock exclusive WeChat mini programme content designed to engage visitors. This includes an AR experience to take part in a VS kaiju battle alongside the Olympic athletes included in the films.

TRP Takeaway: SK-II has tapped into a powerful pre-Olympics marketing dynamic that raises the issue of social acceptance of success. This is a clever phygital interpretation of pop-up retail and complements the brand’s new VS series to inspire every woman that they have the power to #CHANGEDESTINY.

A duo of K-pop and C-pop influencers have taken on global brand ambassador roles for Tiffany & Co as the jeweller invests in the burgeoning hard-luxury market in Asia.

Blackpink’s Rosé (full name Roseanne Park Chae-young) fronts a new ad campaign for the brand’s latest HardWear collection (above). In the new digital campaign, Rosé wears the collection’s chunky 18K gold gauge link necklaces and pavé diamonds. “I love how bold and chic you can look. I’m very interested in layering my necklaces these days,” she tells Vogue.

With more than 70 million followers on Weibo, Yi Yangqianxi, also known as Jackson Yee and as a member of boy band TF Boys is one of C-pop’s biggest stars. Yee has been promoted by Tiffany & Co from regional ambassador in China to a global ambassador role with the hope the Chinese star will cross over to Western markets.

TRP Takeaway: Tiffany & Co’s new parent company LVMH is investing in targeting Gen Z and Millennial digital audiences, especially through an Asia luxury lens.

One silver lining of the pandemic has been luxury retail renovations, while physical stores have been closed. Two of Value Retail’s best known outlet malls, Bicester Village (Oxford, UK) and Fidenza Village (Milan, Italy) have had makeovers to allow customers to make personal shopping appointments at the VIP Apartments and with concierge sales specialists via Zoom or WhatsApp video calls. Interior designer David Thomas redesigned the VIP Apartment spaces into themed rooms, each of which can be used for private events, online or offline. At Fidenza Village, the design brief was: “Imagine [Luchino] Visconti’s [1963 film] ‘The Leopard’ – the art and the art scene. This is the apartment of an eclectic woman who loves collecting art, she travels and brings her collections home and is an avid book reader.”

Value Retail says the result is that the location has maintained “a very strong pool of luxury consumers who would generally be traveling around the world but who were obliged to stay home.” I’m crossing my fingers and booking a flight to Milan.

TRP Takeaway: As VIP ‘clienteling’ gets a tech makeover, it’s clear luxury marketplaces need to play catch up. And with global travel looking more likely to resume in the second half of 2021, destination marketing will play a key role in luring high spending customers, who are used to shopping in a home environment.

Headscarves? Yes! For its latest GG Multicolour capsule collection drop, Gucci has jumped on the latest #PleaseDontGo TikTok trend for headscarf wearing (with pets) in cars. I love the humour and adaptability of Gucci’s new digital advertising remit and the luxury brand’s latest TikTok campaign feels more in tune with this community’s way of doing trends than previous efforts, that were rather Gucci-fied.

TRP Takeaway: Luxury brands are flexing their creativity especially for Gen Z digital trends.

PLUS, ICYMI…Vogue Business says the trend for beauty brands such as SK-II to create their own content marks a bigger shift for the ad industry and it points towards purpose marketing…Chinese are flocking to resort island Hainan where thanks to increased duty free allowances, sales are expected to double in 2021 for the second year in a row…Hainan is the location for a new DFS duty free retail complex in Haikou Mission Hills and will be completed in phases over the next two years, eventually spanning over 30,000 sq. m, including the largest beauty hall in DFS’ global store network.


This post is contributed by DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON, who is a freelance travel retail industry journalist. Read her previous posts on Disneyrollergirl here.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Alison Farrington
IMAGE: Tiffany & Co
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

TRP Travel Retail Style Index: January 2021

Helena Rubinstein gold leaf hand massage CDFG Sanya

Welcome to the latest travel retail column for DRG by Alison Farrington aka The Retail Planner (TRP).

As the first update of the New Year, we kick off with a brief look at the new laws for duty free here in the UK, as well as some positive retail news from China.

This month, there will undoubtedly be much Brexsplaining going on as travellers come to terms with the cancellation of tax-free shopping refunds for luxury fashion purchases in the UK. As of 1 January, the government has abolished the VAT Refund Scheme for non-EU travellers in the UK, meaning that shoppers from overseas can no longer claim their tax back on luxury purchases when they return home, unless the goods are shipped separately from the traveller (cost prohibitive). Meanwhile, the good news is that duty-free shopping is back for travel between the UK and EU (for alchohol and tobacco only), which means a Brexit bonanza for fans of the booze cruise. (more…)

Trend report: what to wear for AW20

Hermes AW20 trend report - photo by Jamie Stoker

What a weird year! It feels odd talking about new-season trends, all things considered, but there is going to be a new season and even if you’re not buying, there are other ways to be inspired by newness. Let’s say it’s also a way of looking forward, so a sort of exercise in cautious optimism. Here’s what’s in the air for AW20… (more…)