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The Seer: Notice Trends That Help Your Business (Part 1)

Refresh your perceptions and develop your keen market insight in 2020

SAN FRANCISCO — This year is momentous, in part due to the end of one decade and the beginning of a new one.

Preparing for this significant new era can give you a handle on the near future and make your company a leader that overcomes the ever-increasing challenges that face business in general and the fabricare industry specifically.

As we know from Monday Morning Quarterback  discussions over coffee, hindsight is much clearer than foresight. So, let’s do what the Las Vegas bookies do to set their odds in the betting world: Do the homework!

Gather all available information and synthesize current and historical data in conjunction with future indicators to gain the best insight and knowledge possible.

Examine the relevant issues from all available angles to reveal the most significant factors that will impact your business and the appropriate related strategies and tactics to apply through your management.

Then prepare a formalized  winning strategy to apply to this year and beyond. What past, present and predicted trends influence the way you do business today and how your model must change in the future to keep your organization moving forward at the head of the pack?

Consider past and current projections and trends in:

1.  The Economy;

2.  Retail Consumer Sector;

3.  Commercial Sector;

4 . Fabricare Trends;

5 . Your Status.

Caution: Relying on the past alone is unwise and can be dangerous. The same is true for future predictions. Even agreement by experts is not a sure bet. Note the example of recent Federal Funds rate predictions and actual numbers: Despite the 2018 consensus of economists predicting interest rate hikes through 2019, the actual comparison of Sept. 2018 to July 2019 was flat at 2.25%.


Justification for more research and information gathering on various trends from several sources is that no single source of information is sufficient to rely on, and your business is affected by many influences.

Some of those components are reliably predictable but most are not. The more you can factor into your preparation, the closer to 20/20 your vision can be.


The economy is multi-faceted and differs dramatically by geographic location from the micro-market around your specific locations (that hopefully have a population inclined to use your services) to the global economy that affects general consumer spending and your pricing on equipment and supplies.

Local town, county, state and national economic factors also vary dramatically and affect your achievable results.

Examples that are beyond your control, but need to be factored into your plans are: Changing neighborhoods, unemployment rates, quality of education, relocating corporations, displacement of employees, housing affordability, access to capital, commercial and retail rents, population density, traffic patterns and interruptions.


Changing lifestyles and shopping habits of consumers can work in your favor or against your business.

A very positive influence is consumers’ desire for more time to do non fabricare-related activities, whether work, play, socialize or just getting some much-needed sleep.

The more you do for time-starved customers and prospects, the more your sales and profit will grow. Remind them of all the services you provide so they don’t just slot you into the “wardrobe cleaning” role.

The declutter trend lead by Marie Condo is a contributing factor to owning fewer things in general and particularly clothing and accessories. The disappearance of shoppers from stores is at least in part due to this influential trend.

There may be a small positive upside to the resulting organization of the remaining wardrobe in that it becomes more apparent when wardrobe items need care.

The anti-Amazon attack from traditional retailers may provide more opportunities for your business as consumer-attracting events are scheduled to repopulate empty shopping malls. Brainstorm what you can contribute to the activities to interact with customers and prospects.

Retail rents are also being impacted by the online purchase, wardrobe rentals, and curated shopping trends, such as StichFix.com, TrunkClub.com and their proliferating competition.

These companies and their curators can be huge customers for you if you can provide the service they need within the schedule and locations required.

Use the retail store vacancies in your market to negotiate the best rents possible in the locations where you want to have physical stores and/or plants. Don’t wait for your lease expiration to renegotiate.

Rent The Runway, which operates three of the largest drycleaning plants in the world, proclaims that: “The renting revolution is here.” It says it provides: “Fashion freedom; total wardrobe flexibility; smarter closet; and a smaller clothing footprint.

“Clothes end up in the back of closets or landfills. Power the sharing economy and rent instead.”

They are a force in both the sustainability movement and the sharing economy trend.

Thredup, a thriving consignment resale company, is also leading the sustainability trend and joining with a range of partners from Amazon to Macy’s and JC Penney where physical Thredup pop-up stores are being installed.


Would you have predicted that Macy’s would support selling used clothing? Leap on this trend to do the cleaning for resale consignment customers and shops both online and in store.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].