Cultivate’15: Keynote Nancy Fire Says Use Passion, Trends And Branding To Stay Relevant

Cultivate’15: Keynote Nancy Fire Says Use Passion, Trends And Branding To Stay Relevant

In the second keynote presentation at Cultivate’15, Nancy Fire, founder and creative director of Design Works International, discussed how the horticulture industry can capitalize on the latest design and lifestyle trends.

Fire works with companies to help bring their designs to the next level, and she has expertise with textiles and surface design, market analysis and corporate rebranding. She was appointed as design director for HGTV HOME in 2011. Fire says customers today are interested in companies that show passion for what they do. That, combined with following the general direction of trends and maintaining a brand, are what will keep horticulture businesses relevant to their customers.


A trend isn’t just a passing fad, Fire says, but rather, it indicates that something is developing or changing in a certain direction. Plants are important to consumers today, and fit into current trends, both inside and outside the home, Fire says.

“I don’t think you guys realize that you are trendsetters,” Fire said to the audience.

Some consumer trends she outlined in her presentation included:

  1. Value consciousness. Consumers want the most bang for their buck, and they tend to do their research before making a purchase.
  2. People power. Spreading information through social media or word of mouth.
  3. More multi-cultural consumers.
  4. Rise in social responsibility. Consumers show more compassion for the environment, and they appreciate locally sourced products.
  5. Mobile cocooning. Consumers are increasingly reliant on their mobile devices.

Fire also highlighted the importance of branding. Having a particular identity or image is regarded as an asset, she says. Also, businesses should pay attention to millennials, the generation with the greatest purchasing power, Fire says.

“It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when it comes to millennials,” Fire says.

Color Trends Are Important To Horticulture

Fire focused on various color trend categories, such as artisan blues, tonal greens and terracotta, as well as trendy motifs, like watercolor florals and botanical life, graphic prints, DIY or artisan pieces and mixing of metals and wood in decor. Many of the trends could be incorporated easily into products the horticulture industry offers, Fire says.

“You are trendsetting, but you are not giving yourself the credit for it,” Fire says. “They (consumers) are looking to you.”

Fire emphasized that imperfect, natural, or handmade décor is particularly popular. At the same time, there is also a desire for bold colors and a more daring modern, urban or eclectic style.

“You have beautiful products – you can be all things to all people,” Fire says. “I just want your level of thinking to be a little bit different.”

Fire urged the audience to give themselves more credit for what they do, and use what they have to appeal to customers’ diverse tastes, saying that, “people are aware of the beauty of plants.”