Life at TrendBible: Anna Ward, Trend Consultancy

Our Life at TrendBible series spotlights our team behind the scenes in their day to day. 

We speak to Anna Ward, from our Trend Consultancy team, about her life outside of work, the things that inspire her and the trends she’s currently helping brands with.

About me and why I got into trend forecasting

I live in Brighton, South Coast of the UK, with my two boys and my husband. We are serial renovators and are slowly renovating our terraced house. It’s nothing like the interior bloggers’ feeds, right now, but my obsession with colour and materials and my husband’s fascination with architectural heritage is a steady mix. Let’s just say it keeps us busy!

I studied Textile Design at Edinburgh College of Art, it was an incredible four years of immersion into material, colour, pattern and texture. It’s a subject which gives you a great grounding of trends and the components of design. I went on to work for a big fashion and sportswear company, specialising in print and graphics, but quickly found my niche in creative direction, working with licensed brands and helping licensees to bring brands to life in various markets. Understanding local and global trends was an integral part of my role and ensuring a brand had a global identity which resonated with local markets was my responsibility. Understanding trends through a global lens was a big learning curve.

My typical day as a Trend Consultant

In our Trend Consultancy team, we work directly with brands to answer specific briefs and challenges. It keeps our days really mixed, one week we might be fully immersed in looking at Gen Z and how they influence household spending, and the next we’re looking at what responsible production will look like in 2025.

We work with brands from all industries, from furniture companies to home décor brands, toy manufacturers to gifts and greetings retailers.  The key is to deep dive into the business, uncover the challenge, and set about delivering insights that will help grow understanding, whether it’s consumer mindset insights, macro themes or design trends. Trend consulting is all about helping brands to build a clear vision of the future and their position within it.

The TrendBible team is one of the most grounded and talented teams I’ve ever worked with. They truly love what they do and are so willing to learn and share ideas. We hold multiple trend panels for different areas of the business each season, it’s a 4-hour meeting of minds to discuss what’s shifting in the home environment and how are people responding to Global Megatrends and why? How will it impact consumer behaviour and how will it shape life at home in the years to come.  It’s one of my favourite parts of the job!

Things that inspire me

I recently visited Charleston House in East Sussex for the first time and was blown away. It’s a must-visit if you’re working in or just interested in interiors. It’s a beautiful old farmhouse which was previously home to a collective of artists from the Bloomsbury Group – the main residents being Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The walls are covered in murals and it houses an incredible collection of hanging art by surrealist, socialist and modern artists from the last 100 years.

It will come as no surprise, I love Instagram! It’s just a brilliant place to get lost for hours looking at inspiring imagery, searching out new innovations, community movements and the curated feeds of talented people all over the world. As with any social media though, I have to allow myself time away from it to strike the balance of real life vs. controlled, beautiful imagery. It’s the perfect instant search tool for work, but I need to be mindful of when it’s mentally overwhelming.

What brands are asking me about right now

“How do I know if I’m too early or late with a trend”? And this is the tricky part. We monitor trends using various methodologies we’ve tried and tested over years of predicting, tracking and validating our research. But applying the trend correctly and delivering it to the consumer at the right time is vital. It might be that your consumer isn’t an early or even mainstream adopter and so delivering the trend later, once they have familiarity with the style and understand its relevance, is the right time for your business.

In the next 12-18 months, the cost of living and the environment will be the biggest megatrends affecting consumer choice, want and need. Sadly, the cost-of-living crisis will have detrimental effects on the environment; priorities will shift and values will wain as the consumer weighs up responsible choices over the need for the basics of food and warmth. The brands that will survive and advance during this time are the ones that provide choice, helping the consumer to be responsible and cost-savvy, educate and engage with innovative ideas and remain authentic and transparent in their own challenges and goals. This is what our Trend Consultancy team supports brands to do, in a bespoke way, providing short, mid and longer-term solutions to implement change.

For a closer look behind the scenes at Anna’s typical day at TrendBible, visit her reel over on our Instagram page. You can also find out more about our Trend Consultancy Services and Insight Solutions here.

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