Designing Smarter Textiles

Recently I was asked about the integration of electronics into carpets and textiles and what my ideas are to bring this inevitable merger together.

That got me thinking… Is it inevitable?

“Should we be designing smart textiles or should we be designing textiles smarter?”

Yes the Internet of things sees us all being ever more connected, phones are now wearable, your shoes can now talk to your smartphone. There will certainly be a continuation of miniaturisation, automation and personalisation that will make our digital lives seamless. But does it necessarily follow that everything will become smart?

Perhaps the true value of soft furnishings is comfort and style and a release from all things technological?

Anthropology cannot be separated from your future trend mapping. We have to plan textiles that will enrich people’s lives. Textiles need to respond to basic human needs before they can change the TV channel, and lets not forget that good health is a human need. Do we really want to plan a society that is full of lazy, gadget-dependent couch potatoes?

Textiles need to be pure, recyclable, ethically produced and beautiful. Once we master that we can soften the digital world by wrapping it in our woolly luxury.

I’m all for better homes and workplaces and better technology. Safety is a brilliant place to innovate new textiles that will monitor people and their habitats. Ultimately textiles are about comfort; from bearskins in our caves to sheepskin rugs by our curved screen TV’s.

Yes there is a trend to digitise life, but its one trend that responds to a sub-set of human needs. There are many trends that ignore digitisation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t develop smarter fabrics, I’m just saying we should always ask why.

The favourite chair in my house is in a room with no TV.  The furnishings in this space are about escape, switching off, comfort and colour.  Its a space for real human interaction.

Perhaps the smart way to design textiles is to keep them dumb?

 

Desso phillips carpet

Desso use transparent carpet which allows LED’s to shine through.

 

New Laneve Web Space

Happy Friday,

I have just put up a new front page to our UK company website.  Trying to go with the whole “less is more” minimalist approach.  See what you think. Just click on the image..

Laneve website

new look Laneve website

Give Me Reasons!

Give me a reason or just **** off.

I’ve noticed a surge in spam and general electronic clutter.  It is annoying me!   Rather than making a song and dance I thought I’d just blog.  It’s not just spam, too many people are generating meaningless content.

When we are the creator of anything we take on responsibility to create something that matters.  If it has no reason that will benefit the reader it should simply not exist.

Are you creating content to entertain, to inform, to rally for a cause, or are you just creating noise to get seen and to increase your fans and followers?

Don’t tweet unless you have a profound statement.  Only recommend followers that create brilliant content, and tell your followers why.   This will get you followers that follow you for your insights and high-quality connections.

Don’t ever send me an email to try and sell me something, especially not digital marketing services.  If you knew about marketing you would phone me (yourself, not your Asian call centre).

You probably get the message..  Junk gets ignored and puts you in the trash can.

Lets all strive to pull not push.   Create something wonderful and put it out there, followers and customers will come.   Don’t create beige content and spam people who don’t care.  It does you more damage than you realise.

This goes for real world stuff too.  Lets create lovely woolly things that people will cherish.  Lets create stuff that is worth re-tweeting.

Please leave your spam in the field provided below.

sheep spam protest

Please don’t create clutter.

Guest Post – The Feldman Perspective

I’d like to introduce you to Brooke Feldman.  Brooke looks after digital marketing for Nourison who make brilliant rugs from New Zealand wool.   Brooke and I have been working together on some new ideas that we can share more details on soon.  In the meantime I thought it would be nice to get some fresh insights and views from a talented young American woman who is learning to love wool…

Here is what Brooke has to share…

Brooke Feldman

Brooke Feldman has something to say..

When the word rug or carpet comes in mind, what does it make you think of? For me, I go back to my grandma’s old house. She had this amazing white carpet that was soft to the touch and very plush. I loved to lay on it with my feet dangling in the air while I watched TV. Those memories in that little house come into my head now and then. As a digital marketer for Nourison, I’m thinking of my audience constantly and what an impact of a specific product or design we carry has that creates memories.

Nourison Industries is a leading multi-category resource in today’s floor covering markets. We specialize in area rugs, broadloom, home accents and have a whole hospitality division. We create everything from the everyday home design, to luxurious patterns seen in some exotic destinations in the world. It’s incredible the amount of collections we have and to see what our designers come up with every day.

I find myself walking around our showrooms running my fingers through different rugs. Why? Feeling and seeing our rugs gives me a sense of each customer and what design might fit a chic New Yorker, or a the adventurous sailor in Cape Cod. How each of these “finishing touches” is important to decorating: the icing on the cake to any room.

We think as a company about sustainability not just for the environment, but how a product can reflect a personal style and last for many years to come. That’s why we choose wool. First and foremost, over 95% of our floor coverings (over 64 individual collections) are made from wool and wool blends. As a carpet fiber, wool is non-allergenic, produces low emissions, and actually has air-purifying properties. Wool is natural, biodegradable, and renewable resource that is produced using environmentally friendly, energy efficient and safe methods.

The other factor we consider as a company is the positive impact of using wool, and how it helps us give back. Nourison’s wool processing provides sustenance for thousands of people in hundreds of villages throughout the world. Where sheep herding and cotton farming are a way of life, the animals are treated in these villages with care and respect. The natural materials are harvested and process with pride. Also, the best part about using wools from Wools from New Zealand is that they are universally acknowledged as the purest, whitest wools on the planet. Makes me want to have a pet lamb of my own that sits by me at my desk…either that or take a trip to New Zealand.

For us at Nourison, using wool has a double benefit. We care about the needs of our customers; what they need to make their home trendy, as well as provide a product that will never fail in quality. Likewise, using a natural fiber is a way of giving back to the environment. With a conscious eye on the sustainability of a collection, we continue to produce rugs that will never fail each of our customers. We’re going green whenever possible, how about you?

You can follow Nourison on Twitter and Brooke on Twitter…

Nourison’s website is here..

nourison logo

Click for amazing rugs.

kiwi sheep

Kiwi wool in Akaroa New Zealand

Digital Media and Kiwi Wool

New Zealand wool is renowned for its pure qualities and there is no doubt it is favoured by the world’s leading manufacturers.  Once people try our wool they love it, but we cannot leave it all to a shop floor sales person to do our job for us.  Part of our challenge is to sell people on our brand of wool before they begin their shopping experience or even touch the product.

We know that millions of interior designers and consumers are researching brands and products on-line and using the digital media channels to share great stories.

Sales representatives present catalogues on iPads, Interior designers use online pin-boards like Pinterest to learn about their customer’s preferences and influential designers tweet their fans with the latest discoveries.

There is a conversation going on in the digital world that if you are not part of then you are not doing business with the modern world.

By using various forms of digital media we are part of the conversation, but more than this we can establish leadership in sustainability, innovation and colour and design by using various methods of digital media to grab the attention of influential players in the digital realm.

This Blog on innovation and marketing is read by over 1200 industry people every month.  We know that this tool is reaching the right people as they tell us they have been switched onto our brand after reading woolblog.com.

We have produced iBooks for partners that tell all the advantages of branded wool in one easy and fun to use format.   Non-partner companies look on with envy when we explain that the iBook is only available to paying customers.

Our partner companies are telling the story of New Zealand wool on their own sites, producing videos to place on YouTube and working with our team to create inspirational and relevant communication tools with Wools of New Zealand leading the way and creating a culture of digital innovation within our network of partners.

Having a digital presence is now critical but you have to use the right tools.  The methods and the language you use with consumers are very different to how you talk to your trade partners.   Some tools are great for brand awareness, creating back links to lift your Google profile, or for sharing your expertise.  One thing is certain, you have to be doing something and it has to be meaningful to the people you are trying to engage with.

The WNZ Laneve iBook

There is too much noise!

There is too much noise out there.  By noise I mean more boring, average mediocre stuff.  If it has already been said, it has already been heard.

Marketing buzz words can turn people off but for want of a better one “Media Volatility” is the problem we face in trying to establish a reputation online.  There is just so much noise that it is hard to get heard for more than a few seconds.

The ease of setting up blogs, Facebook profiles and other digital media channels is so easy and so cheap that literally everyone is doing it.  This means it is easy to get your fifteen minutes of fame, but really really hard to get famous.

The only way to keep attention is to offer something that people connect with and want to share.

We need to understand how people think.  We need to offer an experience that either satisfies a basic human need or that creates an entirely new market.

People love a good story. People like honesty, integrity and they love to feel they are learning something new.

People hate being marketed to, but they love to discover new things and when they find something they love they do spread the word.

So we have to be not just good at what we do, but we have to be better than everybody else,  but we also have to be consistent.  Writing this blog has taught me that it’s easy to get a thousand hits, but it’s not easy to get a thousand followers and it’s the followers that are the people you really want to connect with.  Those are the people that care about what you have to say.

What am I trying to say?   In the age of noise, focus on the content.  Make it meaningful, be consistent and the followers will come..

Make a great product that people can connect with, keep up the communication with your customers, focus on the ones that care, and they will buy from you.

Don’t waste time creating noise for people aren’t listening and keep in mind that a Purple Sheep stands out from the flock.

The purple sheep stands out from the flock

Sheep are Cool

The Purple Sheep

Sheep are remarkable fluffy little creatures that can turn grass into wool!

A slight deviation from my normal content, but I thought I’d show a little sheep animation I made just for fun..

One day I’ll make a full production about purple sheep and sustainable wool textiles.

If you are curious as to why the sheep are purple you can read Purple Sheep and USP’s