July 10, 2020

How has lockdown shaped upcoming trends?

As the epicentre of our lockdown, our homes have naturally felt the force of these changes more quickly than other areas of lives and it’s already clear to see that what we need and want for these spaces has shifted.


home working


From our perspective there are three big factors that will shape upcoming interior trends:

1. Working from home

Firstly, working from home is here to stay. In the short term, many of us are still working remotely due to Covid-related restrictions but looking to the future, it’s likely that many companies and employees will choose to implement a more flexible type of working.

It goes without saying that home offices are trending and will be for some time, but drill down into this a little bit further and we can pull out what this actually means for our homes.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a dedicated space that can be used as a home office so our existing living spaces are going to need to become multifunctional. This means furniture that can bridge the gap between living and working, providing practical solutions that look good too. For example, there’s a gap in the market for stylish office chairs that will fit seamlessly into a home environment, but still offer ergonomic support.

In the longer term we’re likely to see people moving further away from cities in search of more space and this will come with a whole new set of considerations for brands and retailers too.




2. Online channels are leading the way

The second big thing that’s influencing upcoming trends is the fact that we’re spending even more time online and this is where we’re gathering most of our inspiration about furniture and styling.

A quick glance at a recent Google trends report reads like an Instagram feed, with line drawings, house plants, mosaic tiles and dried flowers among the most searched for interior trends between March and June this year.

Trends are being formed by influencers and audiences are buying into them with more confidence than ever before.




3. Is it sustainable?

Last, but by no means least, the lockdown has forced us to think about sustainability in a number of different ways. Not only in terms of the environmental impact of our purchases, but in terms of our local communities and national economy too.

We’ve reconnected with the businesses on our doorsteps but we’ve also seen how quickly they can fail. As a result, the power that we have as consumers is evident and this will undoubtedly shape where we spend our money.

We are now all the more likely to seek out brands in which we can trust, which have a history of ‘doing the right thing’ and that are transparent about their practices and the provenance of the materials and labour that goes into their products. In other words, there are economic, social and ethical dimensions to sustainability, which is a big leap forward from where we were only six months ago when the word ‘sustainability’ was easy to say and hard to think about. Today, that conversation and thought process has accelerated to something like warp-speed.

Get in touch with us on 0191 375 9150 to find out how we can work with you.

May 13, 2020

The Power of Pinterest

Why brands need to get up to speed with this undervalued social media platform 

With almost 300 million active users worldwide, Pinterest usage is at an all-time high and any brand with an online presence should be paying attention to this.  

With consumers stuck at home, many are whiling away the hours scrolling through inspirational and aesthetically pleasing content on their phones, meaning Pinterest has really come into its own. 

Figures from IPA Bellwether show that the coronavirus pandemic has led to UK marketing budgets experiencing their biggest reduction since the 2009 crash. But it’s important that brands don’t shy away from marketing, especially since evidence points to the fact that consumers are still willing to spend. A survey by global ecommerce solutions provider, PFS found that 65% of consumers had purchased more products since the lockdown began. 

The trick is to use budgets wisely by focusing on areas where there is the greatest chance of engagement.   

If more people than ever before are turning to Pinterest, brands should be adjusting their strategy to mirror this movewhere relevant and possible.  

Pinterest vs Instagram  

Alongside the meteoric growth of Instagram, the global reach of Facebook and the rise of millennial favourites such as Snapchat and Tiktok, Pinterest often gets forgotten, but it has a very valuable role to play. 

Consumers frequently turn to Pinterest early in their purchase journey, and they’re often looking for something specific. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest is essentially a search tool, which gives the platform huge potential.  

Pinterest has been slow to utilise this potential – both in terms of sales functionality and analytics, but momentum is starting to build and the number of users now engaging with shopping on Pinterest has grown 44% YOY.

Last month Pinterest added a new ‘Shop’ tabwhich allows users to filter boards and search results to show options that are not only available to buy, but in stock too. If a user is ready to complete a purchase, Pinterest just made this journey a whole lot easier.  

Build for the future 

Even if you’re a brand that’s not offering delivery or in-store purchases right now, there’s still a strong argument for building your profile on this platform, ready for when the lockdown starts to ease. This is especially the case if you’re selling furniture, kitchens or bathrooms - big ticket items that require your customers to be inspired and guided on their purchase journey. 

Whilst at home consumers will be planning longer-term updates and larger renovations and you can bet that they’ll turn to Pinterest for inspiration. You want your brand’s content to be on those boards and to ensure that each pin is linking straight to your website, so when everything is back up and running the user’s journey to your door is as frictionless as possible.  


We’re experts in connecting your brand to new customersGet in touch with us on 0203 751 0802 to find out how we can help you.  

April 1, 2020

Are subscription boxes the lifeline retail needs right now?

Whatever the coming weeks and months have in store for us, it’s clear that the retail world is never going to be the same again. The fashion and beauty world is a clear example of how retailers are experiencing a huge change in consumer behaviour; Burberry is already reporting that in-store sales have fallen by 50%, and Next have warned of a significant sales drop this quarter, with boss Lord Wolfson saying “people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home.”

There could, however, be a silver lining for retail businesses.

The subscription ecommerce market has boomed in recent years and is forecast to be valued at £1 billion by 2021. Everything from meal kits to razors, shampoo to alcohol can now be delivered straight to your door, and its our prediction that these companies are likely to see sales skyrocket as households stay indoors.

The UK subscription market is dwarfed by our cousins in the US, but with over a quarter of UK consumers currently signed up to a subscription service, including over half of millennials, it’s clear that there’s a huge growth opportunity.

As the threat of coronavirus spreads and major shopping districts empty out, there’s a lesson in the subscription boom for bricks and mortar retailers. Already some big-name brands have got in on the action, with international beauty giant Sephora launching their own subscription box in the US.

Our advice to retailers is this: get creative. Whether it’s turning your sit-in bistro into a takeaway (the Government has already made it easier for pubs and restaurants to do this), turning your personal training offering into a virtual class, or creating a subscription box to deliver direct to your customers, we’re all going to have to think differently about how we do business.

Look at the furniture industry as an example of innovation. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to buy big-ticket items like a sofa or bed online, but as retailers have stepped up their game and transformed their online offering, customers are more and more comfortable with the idea of decking out their homes at the click of a button. As a result, the furniture ecommerce market has boomed, with major retailers and smaller brands more effective than ever in marketing directly to consumers.

In this age of uncertainty, no-one can say for sure how our shopping habits will change. There are, however, opportunities to be had for the retailers willing to innovate. Customers still want to look good, feel good and eat well – perhaps even more so in this age of uncertainty. If your brand can offer an easy and convenient way for them to do so in the comfort of their own home, you could attract a larger and more loyal following than ever before.


Cool Blue is a full-service agency that pays special attention to the interiors sector. We make waves in the home and lifestyle world, whether by helping brands find new relevancy or supercharging their sales, our strategic expertise makes brands like yours achieve their goals.

Toffee Factory
Lower Steenberg’s Yard
Newcastle upon Tyne
T. 0191 375 9150