Let’s talk #DeskGoals: Your customers are accessorizing their workspaces and transforming them into personal paradises as we speak. From paper products like agendas and notepads to more decorative pieces like plants and lamps, office swag is officially an important lifestyle merchandise opportunity. Find out which items are leading the way.
All your desk’s a stage, and all the office accessories merely players.
Decorating your workspace and taking it from “meh” to “yeah!” is a popular phenomenon. You’ll surely notice it next time you’re scrolling Instagram or strolling the corridors of a coworking space.
Here’s the Scoop: functional and novelty-like office supplies are a mega trend.
The less traditional and predictable, the better. So bring on the far-from-basic erasers and journals, we’ve got work to do.
As discussed in a previous article, The Paper Trail: Paper’s Epic Comeback, “back-to-analog” paper products like stationery, notebooks, and adult coloring books are still going strong as lifestyle trends, and their resurgence might have something to do with social media’s influence.
Between Instagram and Pinterest, there are scores of #desksituations on display — yes, it’s a thing. The same way we enjoy seeing fashion bloggers’ “outfits of the day” on their social media feeds, there’s something appealing about peeping others’ workflow and space.
For starters, it’s a great way for creatives to add a personal/aspirational touch to their office and share it with followers. After all, there’s something voyeuristic about seeing an influencer’s workspace — especially if they have a huge following. At the end of the day, colorful and wacky desk accessories make for fun social media material. Who needs wanderlust? Experiencing the workspace of someone you admire fulfills this need!
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Why the #Deskie is the New #Selfie
We spoke with Katharyne Shelton—Amazon FBA expert, eCommerce consultant, speaker, and founder of online masterclasses such as “Bundles,” “Treasure Hunting” and “Blue Sky”—to help explain the paper and desk accessories phenomenon:
“Office swag has been part of our DNA since Trapper Keepers and Scratch-n-Sniff stickers! It never left, it’s just been hibernating a while. I think the new revival that has woken nifty stationery from its slumbers is down to two big Ps: Personalization and Play.”
And social media allows for the most public playground when it comes to accessorizing and displaying your workspace.
Another reason for the proliferation of office decor? It can boost creativity.
“The best part is that offices are finally dropping the ‘stuffy’ so at last our inner child can come out to play,” says Shelton. “Office toys are no longer about desk golf and zen gardens…Playing boosts creativity and removes mental blocks, so smart bosses embrace all the cute and colorful!”
It’s also about personalization, especially in an era where entrepreneurs and small business owners are claiming their desks at coworking spaces. The proliferation of the shared workspace phenomenon contributes to many different trends; among them, desk decor.
We’re pretty convinced that accessorizing one’s desk feeds the need to personalize, claim one’s territory in a shared environment, and let one’s colors shine. Attention shop or site owners: the best part of this here-to-stay trend is that it’s year-round, not just seasonal.
“We need a way to mark our corners of the world in a quick, portable way,” says Shelton. “Even something as simple as a cute scented paperclip on your file folder can rocket it from boredom to bling (but with a scent like vanilla latte to bump it to grown-up status!).”
Home Offices Are Offices Too
Home offices are also getting the office accessory and decor treatment; perhaps it’s a way of transforming one’s home office into a creative zone that’s separate and standalone from the rest of the house.
We also spoke with Maria Glad Korgaard, Market Specialist at Danish-based furniture and decor retailer, Flying Tiger, about the office decor trend and making one’s desk a personal space: “Within the last few years we have definitely seen an increase in the office decor trend, with customers also wanting to decorate their office space with cool products.”
“Within the last few years we have definitely seen an increase in the office decor trend, with customers also wanting to decorate their office space with cool products,” Maria Glad Korgaard, Flying Tiger.
And all the countries they are located in have adapted to its quirky office designs, including the United States. Learn more about the traditional—and less-traditional—office accessories that are making waves. It’s time to get out of the box!
Moleskine has long been the sophisticated grandfather of notebooks. Perhaps it’s because artists and thinkers like Hemingway and Picasso scribbled their thoughts in these legendary notebooks, or maybe it’s their vintage-looking, signature simplicity. Either way, Moleskine has paved the way for agendas and notebooks of all kinds—from the tame to the totally wild.
While creative types still swear by the classic leather black Moleskine, even this traditional brand has gotten more playful by releasing funkier designs, featuring old-school cassette designs, LEGOs, and The Simpsons as part of its limited editions. Turns out, there’s a Moleskine for every kind of pop culture fan!
Speaking of retro inspiration, notebooks like the Pink Punk Composition Notebook is the kind of nostalgic item kids of the ‘80s will gravitate towards.
Whatever the brand, some of the most popular notebooks include illustrations, popular millennial sayings like “Good Vibes Only” and “Donut Worry Be Happy” (emblazoned on a donut pattern), as well as colorful floral prints. Some brands even produce their own notebooks as a private label product.
Tools & Office Accessories
Eclectic and gimmicky accessories for the win. Again, since it’s about personalizing one’s space, desk decor can be different things to different people. All it takes are some ironic novelty erasers and funky paper clips to brand a workstation.
“I think people have realized that they spend a lot of their awake time in front of their desks. And office supplies don’t have to be boring! A pencil sharpener can also be a funny gadget and a pen that features a cute design can actually put a smile on your face. An eraser doesn’t have to be rectangular and white, it can brighten up your desk in so many different colors and shapes.” Maria Glad Korgaard, Flying Tiger.
That said, there’s a wonderful world of wacky office accessories. So even when adulting on the job, a touch of the unpredictable can be just the update one needs to offer inspiration and childlike creativity. The Monday blues or a slump in motivation can often call for some new office decor to give it a jolt.
From eraser gnomes (because why should only gardens get the gnome treatment?) to “nosy” pencil sharpeners, novelty-inspired desk accessories like these found at Flying Tiger can turn any desk into a playground.
Hot right now: Flying Tiger’s wide range of Valentine’s perfect heart-shaped office decor, from tape dispensers and scissors to pens and push pins.
And the “desert vibes” cactus trend influencing home decor is also present in office decor, with cactus motif erasers and pin boards (how appropriate are cactus-themed pin boards, after all?).
Back to (Mini-)Nature: Bring #OutdoorsIndoors
In what can be considered an update to the desk-appropriate zen rock gardens, miniature plants and terrariums are breathing new life into conventional workspaces.
We spoke with Werner Gruenberg, Vice President of Feel-Green, who offered his insight as to why this is an important trend:
“Desktop plants don’t only make for great decor pieces, but they also bring some nature to your home and office. Caring for a live plant has a positive effect on people’s minds and help turn CO2 into valuable oxygen at your home or office. After the plant’s lifespan has been reached, Feel Green’s eco-cubes and eco-cans can even be used as decorative eco-friendly pencil holders.”
This earthier trend can be spotted at stores like Whole Foods and at farmers’ markets. And while mini succulents and cacti are #trending, there’s also an opportunity to use artisanal-looking mini vases to display these plants. But Feel Green’s products offer 2-for-1 value, with the holder already built-in and ready to be repurposed.
Between mini terrariums and even globes, desk decor is clearly taking on an earthy approach.
Digital Meets Analog
Trend alert: According to Shelton, analog-meets-digital notebooks are making their mark too.
“On the more elegant end of the bling spectrum, we’re all going crazy for the ‘BuJo’ or Bullet Journal,” she adds. “Billed as an ‘analog system for a digital age’, this sophisticated yet minimal system throws away the washi tape-bomb of 2016 planners and uses plain dot grids and simple markings to keep track of EVERYTHING in life. Moleskine’s new “Smart Writing Set” follows suit, with a dot grid journal and pen that magically copies everything you write to your phone. It allows you to ‘Easily create digital text and images and share them right away with your smartphone or tablet…’”
Shelton says it best: “With technology like this, our future desks are clearly going to look and BE phenomenal!”
Another workspace trend enjoying some time in the spotlight? Novelty desk lights. People are clearly having fun with their office lighting choices, an antidote to traditional, overhead corporate lighting.
From Vegas- and Miami Vice-inspired neon flamingos to the LED “My Cinema Lightbox” — which can easily be personalized to suit your every mood — these lighting options are more fashion over function.
And we think they’re brilliant.
(Tip: these lights serve as fun props for social media posts and even as visual merchandising tools, especially since you can always update the message in the lightbox.)
Marketing Your Items
As mentioned, we list some more in-depth marketing and merchandising tips in our previous piece, The Paper Trail.
But in the meantime, Korgaard from Flying Tiger offers this insight when it comes to social media:
“Show details. A cool angle of your fun office decor always looks great.”
So whether you post a pic of your office-related products on your store Instagram or Pinterest (these types of items are considered eye candy for both these platforms), make sure the details are clear and steal the show. And try to have fun with Instagram Stories too!
Pro Tip: Office decor items make for high-margin lifestyle items that you can easily merchandise along with unrelated products, so mix it up. They will help increase your units per transaction and serve as great impulse items and stocking stuffers. For more tips on Crossover Buying and adding office decor products to your merchandising mix, check out our article on the topic here.
More Is More
Productivity experts like Marie Kondo of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up might encourage you to streamline your desk, but streamlining need not be so serious. When it comes to elevating a workspace, fun and unpredictable are the key to giving a workspace a personal spin and boosting creativity.
Keep this rationale in mind when searching for the ideal office decor items for your shop or site!