Everyone in the corporate gifts industry has arguably played and sold some type of sadu product since the dawn of the textile. Sadu is that traditional arabesque bedouin fabric that lines tent walls and covers tent furniture. It's a desert print that everyone and their grandmother likes to take credit for hustling at least once. We are not the first. This is true. But we are the first to carry the textile through three Dubai Gift and Premium exhibitions and each year transforming our products into more meaningful and intriguing gift solutions. I won't call it our signature quite yet. But this is the first year I saw heads turn. I've believed this since my years at university — nostalgia will always be in style.
As a case study, let's break down our Nomadi tech stationery products. There is a major principle of design I believe we deploy successfully: contrast.
Our original Nomadi design consists of smooth PU leather that contrasts the rough texture of sadu. Again, we contrast themes, pairing textiles alongside electronic products. And not only is the sadu traditional, but we're adding it to a product that already represents an arguably archaic business tool — paper stationery. Pen, paper with a powerbank that charges your phone? We've taken the concept of constant connectivity and told people to connect with their past.
Developing a niche is the future of the gift business and if you're too busy running around trading anything and everything, you're going to struggle — we have for nearly half a decade, competing against traders chasing the same products and stockists who have crumbled the market by offering rock-bottom prices just to stay afloat. For competitors studying this blog for an edge, I say minimize you're overheads but invest in a sophisticated designer. Minimize you're product offerings and focus on crafting solutions with opposing values, or capitalizing on themes that would by nature conflict each other.
Sesame seeds, almonds, pistachios, cardamom, sugar and ghee make up the ingredients to Yusuf Rewrey's delicious Pakistani snack item. However, the questions we all have for the creative behind the packaging?
"Whose corpse did you have to dig up for this photo shoot?"
Product Plug: Are you looking for leather diaries for the 2016 calendar year? Give us a call. Pakistani snacks not included.
Well, I'm slightly depressed. If it wasn't going to be me to open a tea shop in the Middle East after Starbucks conveniently chipped in $250 million to purchase Teavana, it was going to be some other cash cow seeker. I won't mope for long. In fact, I made the effort to visit the new Bahrain City Center store opening day. Hell, I made a purchase. Why? Because Teavana has got a formula for success that even Starbucks couldn't ignore. Their driving force? Complementary tea sampling and anchoring product knowledge.
Complementary Tea Tasting
Teavana is a culture rich apothecary of tea ware and loose leaf blends that begs you to be an informed shopper. If it isn't enough that Teavana employees are conspiring to educate you, there are plenty of samples to keep you ignorantly nodding in agreement - four stations in approximately 30 sq. m of dense real estate. This isn't an Apple store with enough breathing room between products and people you could pitch a tent. Whether or not all the information that is coming out of these sales associates is correct, you will be none-the-less constantly engaged. There is so much innovation in tea steeping alone, your mind will be blown.
Anchoring Product Knowledge
This is where they get you. Teavana's loose leaf blends are relatively expensive. You could easily spend 105 BHD (almost 300 USD) for a kilo of the Youthberry White Tea Blend (the white tin pictured above). Their teapots and accessories are not cheap either. And so you're torn. You've just experienced some great tea, one of which is the 'rarest in the world' and you refuse to budget for even 50 grams. You may be a bit skeptical about Monkey-Picked Oolong being the rarest tea in the world, but by assigning a product as 'the rarest' you are lead to believe that there is high value in Teavana tea. So you decide to just take a cup. Their ready-to-drink cups probably have the highest margins and yet you've just convinced yourself that you walked out winning.