‘Themed’ Interior Design can go horribly wrong…..

…  but it hasn’t in this case, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

The Potting Shed is Beverley’s newest bistro bar serving the very best in homemade food and offering a wide selection of beers, cocktails and wine. Yesterday we decided on a work-lunch and had our own garden party to check-out the interior design!

IMG_4591What a great experience it was. The sun was shining, it was warm and the Potting Shed was busy as people enjoyed the last week of the UK’s summer holiday period. The newly established bistro bar is a transformation of the landmark Hodgsons pub and is located close to the recently developed Flemingate Centre where many fashion stores, coffee shops, a hotel and cinema can be found. Here is a team snap (left) … a rose between two thorns (some may say).


I dug up a little information about the Potting Shed brand, launched in Bingley, Yorkshire last year. It’s a contemporary bar and restaurant concept with an exceptional ‘garden‘ theme. They have a big emphasis on food, including a wood-fired pizza oven and also host live music acts each weekend. The quirky little areas of the place are also available for private parties.IMG_4589

14115506_1771258006477685_642002851573770072_o  On arrival the creativity & ingenuity of the interior decor is obvious, all fitting in beautifully of course with the bistro’s theme. Garden tools including spades, forks, and shovels were all displayed as if they were precious heirlooms. Watering cans and buckets were used as lighting features and wooden logs covered walls to create an authentic and grounded ‘garden’ feel. It was surprising how well a bucket can reflect the light, not to mention a cheap way to update the lighting features in your own home! Blooming brilliant! (OK! We’ve all noticed the ‘dad jokes’ here, in abundance; Laura Greenwood!) IMG_4579


I particularly liked this reclaimed chandelier centre-piece. Items hanging included old beer jugs, metal watering cans, glass jars and small garden trowels and tools. Although it appears to be old junk hanging from the ceiling it actually portrays a very genuine and accurate design element that adds a focal point to the room. I am always rooting for more reclaimed and recycled products!


The bar area incorporated reclaimed wooden planks across the front surface of the bar and mix’n match patterned tiles on the floor which really caught our eye! The ‘mix’n match’ approach to developing customisable patterned tiles is something we have talked lots about in Trend Presentations and it is nice to see how they have been embraced to fit in with this theme.

IMG_4582We finally planted (please!) ourselves down on a table made from reclaimed wood and old metal piping with and worn-look leather stools. For our lunch we ordered a selection of ‘Shed bites’ including pulled pork nachos, garlic dough balls, battered chicken goujons, crispy crab cakes and a selection of cold meats and bread served on a rustic wooden board… we definitely decided to go big and not go gnome (Any more of this Laura and we’ll actually ‘tell your dad’). The food was delicious, it really filled a hole and helped the work go down!


14066366_1771257736477712_6100505241297751287_oThe tableware also had a very rustic quality to it with a wonderful surface texture and aesthetic, it was unusually shaped, simple yet stylish.

As we weedled our way upstairs we found a room full of natural greenery, with a giant tree in the middle and a wall filled with thriving foliage. You don’t need green fingers to fill your home with lush leaves.

We took a look outside to grass-p the concept more. The astro-turf used on the terrace is a stroke of genius, a very simple, but very effective idea that pulls together the indoors and outdoors design beautifully. It will be easy to maintain and won’t ruin your heels ladies. The terrace and very large beer garden have unusually good quality furniture to sit on and it’s unusually comfortable. Water you waiting for? Go check it out! (Doh!)

And for the winter months…


You can grab your own plot and eat outside in one of the brightly colored sheds; each one a sheltered, private area in which to have your own exclusive garden party. I was extremely re-leafed to see that they have outdoor heaters for colder times; enabling everyone to stay cosy until turf-ed out!

14124358_1771257769811042_8918966620010400923_oWe had a very garden-inspired lunch at The Potting Shed, there is no worming your way out of trying this place out for great food and drinks, we predict it will grow extremely popular! It is an ideal spot for a relaxed dining experience, suitable for all. The ‘themed interior/exterior’ has been done in a very adult way and not in the least cheesey, it created the right amount of interest to become a talking point for all the right reasons…. so lettuce dance like no-one is watching and turnip that beet loud!  

Have you designed a hospitality interior that enables a good customer experience? Then let us know. If oyu would like some guidance, inspiration to create one we’d be delighted to help.

Happy Dining People!

And for those of you who don’t know about the location of Scarlet Opus HQ… we are based in the Town of Beverley in East Yorkshire, England. Beverley is described as the ‘Jewel of East Yorkshire‘ and renowned for its exquisite 13th Century Minster. The town is home to a lively market, a thriving music scene, excellent flat racing and a medieval skyline that remains refreshingly unspoilt… For more information visit Yorkshire.com.

1271-Scotts - The Hall, Beverley 1

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Trendbook Offer: Visually Stunning 2015 Design Trends – Interiors

2015 Design Trendbook for Everything Interiors  

For a special price of just £60 you can get all the inspiration you’ll need to support your creativity this year. Purchase our 2015 Design Trends report.

This 75 page document includes 4 different design trends applicable to anything ‘interiors’ and outlines our background research including fashion and architecture, as well as a guide to material, shape, pattern, texture, and surface effects. Each trend includes a colour palette with Pantone Fashion + Home and Formula Guide Coated/Uncoated references. A perfect source of inspiration for product designers, marketing teams, interior designers, retailers for merchandising and window dressing – absolutely perfect. See the wealth of visually stunning inspiration below:

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Materials shapefashion colourpattern

BUY IT NOW – feel supported, inspired, renewed and have your own ideas confirmed

Got a question? phil@scarletopus.com call phil / Victoria or Laura +44 (0)1482 870360

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How to De-Risk New Product Development & Business Growth

Mention Trend Forecasting to most people and the majority are unsure what it’s about; and those that have heard of it, well they mostly associate it simply with pattern and colour.

But, to use it so, is to almost completely waste the true value a good consumer & interiors product Trend Forecaster can add to a company’s success. There are very few business tools available that, if used well, are guaranteed to improve business performance, no matter how you measure that. The more broadly the Trend research information is integrated into a company’s activities, the greater the performance improvement will be. A results and performance uplift might be seen in production as design costs reduce, PR success increases as content marketing is improved, product ranges can be smaller and the number of ‘slow-moving lines’ reduced; sales will increase as product & service offers better match the wants, needs & desires of your customers. The story telling and content meets the same degree of success in both B2C and B2B sectors. All of this ultimately leads to better profits.

Yes, our Trend Forecasting for the interiors market will do all of that!









The biggest, most valuable resource that Scarlet Opus Trend forecasting gives to a product development team, manufacturer, retailer, interior designer or marketing strategy is…. ‘TIME’. The pressure on all of the business teams in any company, is significantly reduced because our trend research extends the time in which the total business cycle has, to be completed. No need to ‘spot trends’ at an exhibition(s), hope you’re right & then rush to bring your version of a product/service to market before the trend diminishes; engage with Trend Forecasting which will provide you with the same inspiration 12 – 18 months ahead of that exhibition being visited. You’ll gain more as you’ll also gain trend/consumer back stories to build your content marketing; you’ll get specific material, pattern, texture, shape & colour guidance as well as being able to explain ‘why’ this will all match with future consumer desires.

Trend Forecasting for interiors will give you a detailed view of those consumer desires up to 2 years in advance of the point at which your product should be brought to market. 2 YEARS! As a general view this could be increased to 5 years.

Imagine knowing the detail of what your customers will desire in 2 years’ time and knowing with certainty.

Research shows that company employees work more efficiently when they are relaxed & confident. Designers are more creative, salespeople convert more sales & PR events run more smoothly. If the risk associated with New Product Development or Services development is significantly reduced; your staff can focus on creating the best PR, producing excellent content marketing, targeted marketing support materials and preparing, rehearsing and enacting sales presentations that will demonstrate to buyers how well your company understands what consumers want and will pay to get.








Dr. Robert Passikoff (Founder of Brand Keys) says of 2014:

Consumers Expect More: Over the past five years, consumer expectations have increased on average by 20%. But brands have kept up only by 5% annually, a big gap between what’s desired and what’s delivered. The ability to accurately measure real, unarticulated expectations will provide significant advantages to brands that can engage and delight.

This describes beautifully, the gap that consumer, business & design Trend Forecasting will fill for any company. Why then aren’t more companies engaging with Trend Forecasting? The answer might lie in these 2 thoughts:

  1. It requires taking, quite a’ leap of faith’ to engage with someone who tells you that they can ‘see your future in detail & with certainty’!
  2. It’s possible that Creatives see Trend Forecasting agencies as an external design source; instead of an external design resource.

Trend analysts, spotters, reporters, colour & trend consultants all play valuable roles; but only a Trend Forecaster can create so much time and:

  • Inspire design teams to create products in materials with textures, patterns & colours that the consumer will want to buy. It’s global social, political, cultural & natural events that influence how humans behave & want to surround themselves with.
  • Inform sales teams how to support product presentations with trend information that will help buyers to choose their products to meet consumer demand.
  • Give Marketing teams an understanding of what caused a trend to emerge & how the consumer will feel as a result. Excellent content marketing will follow and help to leverage consumer marketing by suppliers of complimentary products.
  • Identify which trends specifically suit a company and its product offer/sector; enabling a more focused product offer to be developed. A trend forecaster will identify which trend next year is best suited to ‘Bathroom’, or ‘Dining’?
  • It’s crucial to identify trends for interiors that have longevity giving manufacturing/sourcing teams the opportunity to optimise production planning.
  • Produce inspirational PR events especially for the trade press always hungry for future trend information. ‘Expert’ endorsement is gaining traction with consumers over ‘celebrity’ endorsement.
  • Design exhibition stands reflecting ‘future trend themes’ making them stand out and provide a unique ‘visitor experience’.
  • Design retail showrooms to deliver a shopping experience the consumer wants. Men & Women shop differently.
  • Assist buyers translate Trend research into design briefs for manufacturing partners; or buying guidance for retailers.

There is so much value that Trend Forecasting adds to a company’s activities in all areas that it needn’t actually, even include the obvious product development. A business with a ‘fixed’ product design can still be more successful marketing it’s products within the framework of consumer wants, needs and desires.








It’s realistic to engage a good Trend Forecaster with the expectation that sales revenues will increase by double digit percentages, with a similar reduction in relative costs.

Contact phil@scarletopus.com Tel +44 1482 870 360 www.scarletopus.com www.twitter.com/scarletopus

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How to Make a Good Presentation

It’s as if seminars, speeches and conferences are the ‘in way’ to attract new business today and that must be inducing a lot of stress in a lot of people.

Or has the celebrity culture made the proliferation of such opportunity a ready-made platform for fame?

Are there a mass of us in the wings, just waiting to be given the chance to stand at the podium, on the stage, or just ‘at the front’ with a ready-made, captive audience at whom we can now speak about ‘something’?

Some years ago, as I was just starting my time with the Mars group, it terrified me to learn that each month I’d be expected to make a presentation to the area management team about my own team’s results and forecast.

There were only 10/13 people in the room, I knew all of them really well, they had to do it too, they felt nervous as well. The only one of us that didn’t, was the ‘smug one’ who for that month was top of the sales league. It wasn’t that he/she had acquired excellent public speaking & presentation skills along with the sales result – just that they could at this time get away with murder, wearing their protective coat of ‘achievement’!

In the years that have followed I’ve been given lots of advice about ‘How to Present/Speak Publicly’, attended perhaps 15 courses on the subject (each one run by a world expert of course), and see the same advice/training all over the web even now.

What surprises me then, is the general standard of presentations and public speakers that I now go to see and listen to. Who am I to talk you ask? Well, I am not putting myself forward as the world’s best in this area, but I can still read, and do, all of the advice, notes, training books, and web content at my disposal. It’s easy to then evaluate the offerings against all of this.

Have you experienced any of these presentation/public speaking gaffes:



The presenter stands in front of the screen on which is displayed information I should see



  • The text on the slides is so detailed I can’t read it.
  • The colours used make it tough to read, they clash, are weak, don’t match the context.
  • I don’t believe it – he/she is reading the slide to me!
  • “Well, 10 minutes in and I haven’t a clue what it’s about.”
  • Should I take notes or will there be hand outs?
  • When should I ask my question?
  • Crikey, 30 mins gone, how long is it going on for? I wish he/she’d said, I’ve got to go.
  • This presenter didn’t have a clear idea of what they wanted me to take away from this.
  • Please. Please don’t hop around like that, stay still…just for a bit.

Too many people it seems to me, are placing themselves in front of audiences as the expert in their field without having given much thought to what expertise they have in the actual subject of making a presentation. It might just be me but I then can’t help but focus on what is not good about the presentation itself rather than focusing on learning something of value from a person who most likely really knows their stuff.

What a waste for us both!

Now, before you switch off thinking that I will now preach the ‘Dreamweaver’s Guide to the Perfect Presentation’, don’t, because I’m not. There are some really good tips and training documents on the subject available for free via Google. And as usual, there are already lots of people out there who can’t actually do it, but will sell you some training for you to be good at it.

What I will move onto is to express some more ‘views of an audience member’ as I have masses of experience as one. But before I do, let me say that if you want any tips on how to prepare, deliver, and then improve your skills in this area, for goodness sake send Victoria or Shelley an email requesting as such (victoria@scarletopus.com / shelley@scarletopus.com). They have delivered dozens of seminars around the world (literally), never have a spare seat in the house, and always get excellent feedback. Of course, they did have the opportunity to learn from an excellent trainer!

Now, consider this when you are in the position of delivering a presentation or speech next time…firstly, all the points I mentioned above, they are very annoying habits and will detract from your event. Now from the stalls I say this:

“Are we in the right room?  I haven’t heard a single word about how to effectively sell to women … have you?”


  • Did you need to wear that? It’s all I can concentrate on.
  • If all you have to say is word for word what’s on the slide, please be quiet, I’m reading!
  • Is this presentation delivering what it promised, or am I in the wrong room?
  • Why is the presenter looking at the screen instead of us, doesn’t he/she know what’s coming up either!?
  • That must be industry jargon, I’ve no idea what it meant; am I the only one?
  • LOL I bet they wish they’d checked all the equipment before now!

Public speaking can be such a powerful way in which to engage with prospective clients, or entertain existing clients; they are a great way in which to establish credentials as an industry expert – the ‘go to’ industry expert; they can significantly increase your profile, confidence, and popularity.

Public speaking can also make you the last person that people go to listen to in less time than your speech takes to make.

If you go to the trouble of seeing & hearing your presentation / speech as your audience will, then you stand a great chance of it, and you, being a success.

…and, if you have any time & coffee left, here is a double ‘Dreamweaver Bonus’ for you. A brilliant video of how to make a great presentation, and excellent advice on how to be creative; starring John Cleese.

This brilliant example was brought to my attention by my US buddy ‘Whittemore’! Also a tower of knowledge for anyone. Follow her on Twitter @CBWhittemore & check out her website www.simplemarketingnow.com

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How to Retain & Acquire Customers in a Small Business


Trends, consumers, business, sales, marketing, interiors

Get a Big Cat she said!

No matter what business you are in, Customers are key to your success; keeping your existing customers satisfied, and winning new customers for the long-term is not hard.  However, it does demand from you consistency of a high degree of effort to make sure that you understand how they live, what the pressures on them are, and what problems these pressures may bring.  If you develop a good understanding of this then you have an even better chance of knowing what solutions you provide for one, or more, of the problems they have.

Whilst I would dearly love to be able to give you a detailed plan of action here, that’s not possible without knowledge of your specifics.  However, we can provide the basis of a thought process and some information from our trend research that will set you off on the right path.

Stating the blindingly obvious, but making a point that many seem to forget: Stop thinking like an Interior Designer, a procurement expert, a salesperson, a Managing Director … stop thinking like a business person.  When we talk about ‘the consumer’, ‘the customer’ – who is that?  That’s right, it’s you and me!  There isn’t another group of humans doing the buying whilst we are the ones in business – think like YOU when you are a consumer/customer.  If it isn’t good enough, clear enough, or value enough for you then it won’t be for your customers, no matter how much cost it saves you/additional benefits it gives your business.

Last year we worked with Le Creuset on a review of their collections for the Spring/Summer 2012 season, as well as taking a look ahead at their developments for Autumn/Winter 2012/13.  Established in 1925, Le Creuset have been making world-class cookware for almost 100 years, innovation remains at the forefront of their success.  They are a company that understands colour and the ways in which it can “transform an environment, create a style, set a mood, and alter perceptions”.  Recognised for their superior range of enamelled cast iron cookware, they have a wonderful range of fantastic shades available and below you can see how you can work the season’s luxury glamour trend in the kitchen.

Think brushed metallics and subtle shimmer; work with malachite green to create a liquid emerald effect, teal and dark sapphire, exquisite galaxy purples and a pure amethyst, with a deep, intense burgundy.

The policies of austerity implemented by Governments across the world have forced consumers to re-evaluate what they need, how much they need, and how they spend the money available to them.  Our research has for the past couple of years identified a consumer trend to buy less ‘stuff’, de-clutter their lives, and to invest in better quality, longer lasting pieces that actually enhance their lives in some way.  For your business to achieve an order today, it is much more likely that your ‘solution’ is solving a specific problem rather than fulfilling a gratuitous desire.

I can’t put this better myself and so I won’t try:

Customers, especially female customers, buy solutions, not products or services.  This is particularly true in complex categories and where the investment is significant — such as Home furnishings and white goods.  Solutions require thinking about the world our customers live in and stepping away from our day-to-day worries and product concerns and into their world.”

C. B Whittemore, http://simplemarketingnow.com

Here are some thoughts to open your mind to spending time quietly (yet seriously) considering this subject objectively, in detail, and using your customer’s eyes.

  • Expanding business with your existing customers is easier and less costly than opening business with new customers.
  • An introduction to new customers, from existing customers, is the most cost-effective way of finding new ones.
  • New customers found in this way always results in new business eventually.
  • Taking ‘new products’ to ‘new customers’ tops the league table in degree of difficulty and in cost per sale.
  • ‘Offering a wide range of products, or services, will ensure that you secure most orders’ – our trend research over the past 3 years indicates that this is a myth of the past.  Today’s customers just want to be taken to the best value for money solution to solve their problem.  Showing them fewer, more pertinent solutions will achieve higher conversion rates of enquiries to orders.

Lakeland are another of our valued clients and a company we’ve been working with for many seasons now.  They have a very clear understanding of who their customer is and work hard to develop the right product for them.  Early last year we created a bespoke report detailing the Spring/Summer 2012 styles that will emerge as focus shifts to Britain’s key events this year i.e. the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Great Exhibition, and the Olympics.  We’re thrilled to see their latest range now available, in celebration of the Jubilee, including fabulously on-trend crown motifs in an elegant palette of deep blue and a rich royal red, and a very patriotic street party collection including napkins, cake stands, and cupcake wrappers. 

What are some of the ‘living’ trends that our research has given evidence for that might impact on your customer retention and acquisition actions?

  • Cost is driving consumers to use less energy (gasoline, electricity, gas, water etc.) and this is leading/will lead to our living in smaller spaces.
  • Across the world there is a faster, more consistent migration of population to urban areas increasing the pressure on space and resulting in less need for individual transport.
  • Communication tools/methods have increased the use of public transport systems allowing people increased time to do what they want and be more available to each other.
  • This communication revolution has by default, increased our desire for ‘convenience’ not just in products, but in life.  For the purposes of this exercise you might read ‘How easy is it to…’ in lieu of ‘convenience’ e.g. How easy is it to find your business?  How easy is it to do business with your company?
  • When you consider value for money – do you include convenience in your thinking?
  • Blatant and permanent ‘Sales’ no longer provide the attraction they once did.  Your customers want to know much more about what they are buying than ever before and price no longer covers the sins of a product/service/business.
  • Consumers want to know more about what they purchase than ever before and back stories to you, your business, and where the products come from are very desirable.
  • Product or service personalisation (not necessarily bespoke), can also be evidenced in consumer trends as a desire.

So back to the beginning, do you offer your customers solutions to problems?

The wonderful technicalities and engineering intricacies of your offer are of no relevance unless you can describe them in a way that everyone can understand them and there is, in the customer’s view, a tangible benefit, of significance, to that customer.

For example: it could be said that there is nothing more beautiful than a Ferrari, nothing more luxurious than a Rolls Royce, nothing faster than a Bugatti, or better engineered than a BMW.  But all that aside, each of them must travel at the legal speed limit and each will only go from A to B – as does a Renault Clio.  So the sellers of these products must think hard about what issues/problems/needs they solve for their customers that the alternatives don’t.

In 2011 we presented our trends to the team at InterfaceFLOR who have brilliantly captured the attention of their customers by creating a F A B U L O U S collection of short films that truly epitomise the dark and twisted fairytale aesthetic.

So what can you do to keep existing customers and win new ones?

Be easy to find.  Provide solutions to satisfy real problems in our lives.  Be easy to deal with.  Offer value for money.  Offer less but offer pertinent solutions.  Provide the product/service back story.  Be Kind, open, honest, and transparent.  Above all, ENGAGE with your customers at every opportunity in a genuine and encompassing way.  Bring your customers into your business and open yourself up to them.

That isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive list of the right steps to take – just a start to get your mind working and your meetings buzzing!

As always, I’d be absolutely delighted to hear about your experiences in this activity, your opinions about this posting, any ideas you have that might be better than, or add value to, mine.  Most of all, I would love to be able to help further so feel free to seek more information, clarification, or simply ask a question about a customer issue you could do with another view on.  Leave your comments by hitting the comment button at the top of this posting or email me at phil@scarletopus.com

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