Weird is cool

A week ago I wrote a post titled, "Think local to grow". In that post we discussed a survey that was commissioned by Proven Winners and Ball Horticultural, that said, "11 million fewer households participated in gardening from 2005 to 2010. The average amount spent by household also decreased from $532 to $355." I wrote, "this of course worries the large concerns like PW or Ball Horticultural. They depend on a broad market to sell their goods and are not good at niche selling, which is where the action is in the trade. So you have to look at these surveys with a certain amount of skepticism and an abundance of local knowledge." In other words there are two horticultural industries developing. The mass market large players like Home Depot, Lowe's, Proven Winners, Ball, Scotts, Bayer, Monsanto, etc. and "the rest of us". "The rest of us", like the big players are having a tough go of it these day's. The members of the "rest of us" that are making a go of it and making a difference seem so "weird". Weird is cool.  From my earlier post I wrote, "We have been saying for years that the way forward for the smaller garden center was to “make the trends”, rather than follow them. Again, and again its businesses that create trends that set the course." And generally those places are also a bit weird. These day's weird is good. Why? We weirdos know it, and also because Seth Godin just put out a new book titled, " We are all weird". Seth celebrates weirdness and shows us a way forward that embraces our weirdness.

Here is a quotes from the book. "The epic battle of our generation is between the status quo of mass and the never-ceasing tide of weird. It’s difficult to not pick sides. Either you’ll want to spend your time and effort betting on mass and the status quo—and trying to earn your spot in this crowded mob—or you’ll abandon that quest and realize that there are better opportunities and more growth if you market to and lead the weird.

Two decisions you’ll need to make within the hour:

1. Do you want to create for and market to and embrace the fast-increasing population that isn’t normal? In other words, which side are you on—fighting for the status quo or rooting for weird? and

2. Are you confident enough to encourage people to do what’s right and useful and joyful, as opposed to what the system has always told them they have to do? Should we make our own choices and let others make theirs?"

We have talked about this for years, but Seth has a way of cutting right to the chase. If you're a garden center or nursery you have a choice. Follow the mass merchants, carry what they carry, and fret about how much more business they will extract from your customer base, or embrace your inner weirdness, remember "small is cool", "fight commoditization", and  "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish."