Innovation Flourishes in Las Vegas

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Innovation Flourishes in Las Vegas

By John Stanley The 2007 CANGC Garden Expo from my point of view was one of the best ever. Research in the UK indicates that visitors are attending trade shows to look for new ways of merchandising and new products. Gone are the days when they go with an order book and socialize. This year delegates would not have been disappointed in their search for the new. Congratulations to the team at CANGC for coming up with the idea of inviting delegates to a pre-opening walk around the trade show, looking at new ideas. To my knowledge this is the first time that this has been done in this particular industry. It worked; we had a full tour on the first day of the show. My job was to point out what I thought constituted as a new product or innovation. What caught my eye For me the best innovation was the Musical Harp. It has a limited market, but is an excellent niche product. Ross Barrable is the acoustic sculptor of this product and the “Klanon Wind Harp” has a global market. Check it out on www.soundscapesinternational.com. I can see this product fitting into public gardens and the affluent Baby Boomer gardens around the world. The trend is to create garden rooms in garden centers rather than rows of plants. There are certain times of the year when a garden center needs to be a supermarket and during other times of the year it should be designed like a furniture store. The concepts being put together and shown on the Monrovia Nursery booth indicate what can be done in a garden center. This is the one plant supplier who is showing the way. Kianga Inc is a small company from Illinois (www.ups-a-daisy.com) and I thought their Ups-A-Daisy Planter Insert was a great idea. This innovative product fits in with the needs of today’s patio consumer. It is one of those obvious ideas that you look at and wonder; why has it taken so long to be invented? A plate that simply fits in to container to reduce the amount of growing media needed to fill the container. The result is a lighter, easier to handle container. The Innovation Center This was the third year of the Innovation Center and again a number of overseas companies used it as an opportunity to launch new products. South Africa was represented by Garden In A Box. (http://www.hortcouture.co.za/) This was Warren Lange’s first visit to the USA and proved to be a huge success. Garden In a Box is literally that. Warren discovered that not everyone wanted his face to face garden design service. So he created Garden In an Box. The consumer purchases a box based on what style of garden that they want (Mediterranean, Nature, English Cottage etc) The box contains a plan and a basic starter kit. The plants required are readily available at your local garden center. Going by Warren’s success at the show you will be seeing a lot more of this product. Create a View came from Australia. Both Dean and Shez Cantile arrived from Australia with this great product. (www.createaviewoutside.com) I love this product as it adds a new dimension to plant retailing as well as a new, unique product that can be sold in the outdoor plant area. Create a View is outdoor art that can be installed in the patio area. 2007 was a great year at Garden Expo. From a personal point of view, the workshop sessions in the Innovation Center were full with standing room at the rear. This is a time when we are all looking for new ideas and CANGC came up with the goods. See you at the 2008 Garden Expo in Las Vegas, there is one guarantee, there will be new ideas and innovation to catch up with. John Stanley is an internationally recognised conference speaker and retail consultant with over 25 years experience in 18 countries. He has authored several successful marketing and retail books including the best seller Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know. John’s retail experience covers hands-on retailing in supermarkets, hardware stores, garden centres, farmers markets and drug stores. For more information John Stanley and his services visit his website www.johnstanley.cc