For the past several years I have seen the emergence of a new trend called ‘Lifestyling’. Lifestyling encompasses many elements on gracious living, extravagant and memorable entertaining, architecture, home design, and tips on where to live comfortably in spaces large and small, with less effort or clutter than you can imagine. In fact, this trend has effectively blurred the lines of traditional titles and professions. New ideas and new inspiration have created new sales to the tune of over 70 million dollars for one large company.
But haven’t good ideas for living always been around? The answer is yes. Certainly there have been people in the past that shared tips and ideas through books and magazine articles on how to entertain, or make a special recipe; they were mostly focused on one area. Lifestyling gurus help you capture all the pieces and put them together graciously and quickly. Collectively, they promote ideas on living, entertaining, decorating, gardening, fashion and design. The focus of some of the ideas is glamorous while others are much more practical. In fact, some of the ideas are not really “new” at all, just regenerated information with a twist. Today, Lifestyling books contain the complete picture. Add to that the convenience aspect. We can obtain many of these ideas in articles, books, websites, TV and video. Product endorsements and specialized lines are also available to top Lifestylists. Can you see why the opportunities are endless?
Who are the Lifestylists?
Unless you’ve been whisked away to an island without TV, Internet access or a newspaper, you can’t escape the ideas and publicity generated by Ms. Martha Stewart. Hands down, Martha is the most well known Lifestylist out there. Whatever your take on her style, or where her career is currently headed, she has created a multi-million dollar industry all to herself.
You may also be familiar with other Lifestylists like Susie Coelho, Carolyne Roehm, Sheila Bridges, Katie Brown and Colin Cowie to name a few. These Lifestylists were former fashion models and business owners, interior or furniture designers, caterers or event planners. Whatever their background, the ideas and information contribute in large ways to this new industry. In an era when fast food and fast pace reign supreme, and etiquette and formal parties have fallen off, they have brought the idea of homemaking and fabulous entertaining back into style.
Standing out within a proven trend
All of the ideas are not perfect for everyone. In a world where we are embracing our diversity and individual contributions, there is no doubt that the current crop of Lifestylists can stand a few more ideas. We are all becoming conditioned to receiving large amounts of information at a time. Think about how a consumer might question the value of a cookbook with just recipes over a book that explains how to shop, prepare, serve, decorate and entertain all in one book. Which do you think might capture more interest? Are your services just as interesting?
Are you capitalizing on this trend?
We are all guilty of focusing on our core competencies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But once you’ve become efficient or obtained expert status in one area, it’s time to expand your offerings. If you want to expand your offerings by turning what you do into a lifestyle brand – think big and think differently. Thinking of yourself as a complete brand is worthwhile to you, your clients, and your current revenue.
Look at ways you can naturally and effortlessly expand what you do. For example, I hired a caterer recently to provide food for a shower I was throwing. It would have made my life much easier if he had offered to provide complete event-planning services as well. It is a natural expansion. Even If he doesn’t know a thing about planning those events or did not have the staff to do so he can easily team up with event planners that do.
Riding the trend requires a different way of thinking. Caterers are not just providing food; they become consultants in entertaining. Decorators don’t just decorate; they style a room around a style of life.
Can you do it too?
Of course you can! Begin where you are with what you have.
- Take note of the new trend and think about what compliments your current services;
- Think about how to make your client’s life easier by providing more ideas, value and assistance in executing those ideas. If you don’t know how to do something different, seek out the information and learn it, or
- Team up with other professionals that add something complimentary to your core service;
- Reinvent your title to match your new service offerings;
- Educate your client with the information you have, but have not used and;
- Strive to provide something unique in your market.