Glee retail lab creative director Romeo Sommers, talks a little bit about his background and gives us further insight into what we can expect at the retail lab this year.

Tell us a bit about your background in your career? My career has been incredibly varied, including everything from being a concept designer, marketeer and stylist, as well as working in TV, floristry and horticulture, as an importer, buyer, collector, and product developer. business


to the trends and merchandising concepts. Since that show we’ve seen some of the

more ‘out

there’ concept come to life in real retail settings, including yoga in garden centres!

I trained in and

specialised in horticultural marketing, which offered me the first step on the career ladder as an international buyer and trend predictor for a seasonal décor brand, before joining a leading Dutch garden centre chain as category buyer and trend watcher, and in time I became the “face” of the brand.

What is the most exciting project you have worked on? Year one of the Retail Lab at Glee will always be a highlight for me. It was the first time something like the Retail Lab had been seen within the UK market so I knew it would be approached with a mixture of

intrigue and apprehension.

However, the response from those that sponsored the area, or visited during the show, far exceeded expectations. It was good to see people challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zones in regard

How has the Retail Lab developed at Glee since you launched it, and what are you hoping to achieve from this year’s show?

Since its launch in 2017, we have learnt that the UK market is reasonably cautious, therefore we have to ensure we don’t go too extreme with the trends that we highlight. This certainly doesn’t mean that UK retailers are not open to new ideas – far from it – but we do need to ensure that the trends and concepts we present can be easily implemented in store, which is why we have tried to create a rich catalogue of direct and tangible ‘takeaway’ content.

Can you give us an idea as to what we can expect in terms of trends for this year/next? For the 2019 show, two sub- themes have been identified that will help shape the content, both of which offer ideas and solutions that meet those trends that are impacting consumer buying habits.

Retail Lab @ Glee 2019 concept

The first theme, “Do it yourself (and have fun)” has been created to help retailers to be inspired by the retail environment and stage a variety of creative and fun in-store concepts that engage customers and encourage them to purchase outside their normal buying areas. The second theme shaping the Retail Lab content in 2019 is ‘Saving the World – Nurturing, Nature and Animals’, and is designed to answer questions such as ‘how can retailers connect with their consumers?’ by showcasing the benefits of bringing nature into consumers’ homes and lives. It’s a strongly held belief of mine that garden centres that connect emotionally with customers on issues they really care about will win customers for life.

How do you think retailers/ suppliers can benefit from visiting the Retail Lab? With consumers leading the way we shop, it is ever more important to create a retail environment that delivers instant gratification, answers questions, evokes new ideas, and inspires at every step. This is where the Retail Lab comes in – it’s the perfect tool for thinking differently about the retail environment. The area is designed

20 DIY WEEK 23 AUGUST 2019

to provide fresh thinking for both owners/operators and their merchandising teams. Tackling key consumer trends, which are shaping shopping habits and future demand, the Retail Lab will be fit to bursting with ideas on how to dress the retail space, and how to think outside the box and develop new merchandising concepts that will see garden centre customers coming back time and time again.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? When I was offered my first TV job, I was hesitant to accept. However, the producer of the programme told me they had selected me due to the fire in my eyes. The passion that I displayed for the subject matter is what appealed, and I realised that doing projects you were passionate about was the most important thing. From that moment on, I have only ever worked on projects that excite me, and where I can see I can make a difference. It’s a liberating feeling, and also means I never feel like I’m working. So, for anyone embarking on a new job opportunity – make sure you feel the fire in your eyes, and you’ll know it’s the right choice for you.

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