Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The more things change...

This morning we were going through a stack of decorated kitchen calendar towels that we rescued from my parent’s house – apparently my mother had been saving them for years.  What was striking about these little gems was how often you could recognize the era by the design and color palettes – no chance of confusing a very colorful (and groovy…) 1972 look with a stylized retro from 1963. But as we looked more closely and laid them out side by side, the similarity becomes quite evident. The icons really don’t vary much – utensils, spices, coffee and tea, birds – these are what typically made kitchen towels… kitchen… back then, and these are what make up kitchen towels now.

The lesson here is that, in our business, while the style and palettes change over the years most of the products are still remarkably similar. Obviously this isn’t going to hold true for every category, particularly where there are technological advances, but if you think about it those are the exceptions. Boys like dinosaurs and rockets, girls like princesses, kitchen towels have veggies and fruit, curtain fabrics are stripes or floral – is it 1930, 1950, or 2011? How about all of the above?