Hello Kitty Concept Hits The Right Demographic
What is Hello Kitty, why is our target consumer obsessed with it and why is the brand all of a sudden making an appearance in our industry?
February 3, 2012
You name it, Hello Kitty’s got it.
The brand’s got T-shirts and candles and watches and shoes. There are Hello Kitty accessories for your car, toys for your kids and greeting cards for birthdays and other occasions.
So why not plants for Hello Kitty?
That’s a question Top 100 Grower Delray Plants must have asked itself these last few months. Delray, which showcased tropicals in Hello Kitty gift bags and displays at last month’s Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition, is expected to handle Hello Kitty plants here in the United States.
Last week, we posted a photo of a kalanchoe in a Hello Kitty gift bag on Greenhouse Grower’s Facebook page, asking our fans what they thought of the concept. We received a few responses that were mixed, including one from horticultural consultant Tara Herrera.
“It makes me want to barf,” Herrera says, “but it will sell. I know plenty of 35 to 50-year-old women who still buy Hello Kitty everything.”
Meet One Of Those Consumers
Vikki Gamier is one woman who fits perfectly into that demographic. Gamier, 42, is the human resources administrator here at Meister Media Worldwide. Gamier paid a visit earlier this week to my desk, where a few colleagues and I were talking about what Hello Kitty is and who its market is. I was skeptical about the success of a plant program because I wasn’t familiar with Hello Kitty’s audience. But once Gamier caught a glimpse of the Hello Kitty plant literature I brought back from IPM Essen, she entered the full-on “Oh my God, I want that” mode.
“If something has a Hello Kitty logo on it, it gets my attention,” she says. “And it gets the attention of people who know me. People who know me know I love Hello Kitty, and they know I would probably want it.”
When I paid Gamier a visit in her office later in the day, I got a clearer understanding of how passionate Hello Kitty fans are. Four Hello Kitty pens, two stationary pads and a bobblehead are on Gamier’s desk alone – and she has plenty of other Hello Kitty merchandise at home.
“I’ve always liked Hello Kitty,” Gamier says. “She’s fun, she’s cute. She’s a collectible. If you’re prone to collecting things or you like brands, you could equate it to a kid who wants a Diego toy (based on the former Nickelodeon kids show, “Go, Diego, Go!”). Or a kid who wants a Power Ranger.”
Gamier and I then discussed the role Hello Kitty could play in the garden center.
“I think Hello Kitty would be a natural fit for a garden center to include her,” she says. “They already include Vera Bradley. You could look at Hello Kitty and Vera Bradley kind of similarly because of the different things Vera Bradley is involved in.”
Gamier isn’t an avid gardener by any means, but she says Hello Kitty would make her more of one. The Hello Kitty plant concept even got her thinking bigger picture for the garden center.
“Hello Kitty in the garden center could also include garden flags or little garden figurines,” Gamier says. “If I could get a cement Hello Kitty in my garden – that would be really cool. Same goes for garden gloves, garden tools and things like that.”
But why stop at Hello Kitty when there are consumers like Gamier eager to buy plants that simply slap a logo onto packaging? Gamier suggested SpongeBob SquarePants grow kits for kids. I’d suggest someone get in touch with the Paul Frank people to see if there’s an opportunity to reach its fans with plants.
Hello Kitty may seem silly to you – it does to me – but growers like Delray are on to something by connecting their product to a brand that already has a strong connection with one of our industry’s core demographics. Let’s see how Hello Kitty for plants evolves and get ready to pounce on opportunities like this one.