Teaware Trends to Watch, Part 1

Whether we are buyers or sellers, the turn of the calendar to November puts holiday shopping firmly on our minds. Retailers are in the position of constantly trying to predict customer desires and to prepare for (or create) new trends. What are the items that tea business owners will be looking to put on their shelves this holiday season?

Kettles will continue to be popular, particularly electric models with temperature control. As more consumers become aware of the need to steep different teas at different temperatures, it is critical that we supply them with easy ways to meet this need. Glass and stainless steel continue to be popular choices and temperature presets can assist newer tea drinkers. Other features that customers will be looking for are cordless kettles, a stay-warm feature, and automatic shut-off to prevent scorching or boiling dry.

photo(19)On the teaware side there are two concurrent trends emerging. On one side, tea drinkers are leaning toward the basics – teapots and cups in white, glass, and earthy greens and browns. On the other side, teaware can be seen as a fun accessory, adding a bright pop of color in an otherwise conservative decor. Be on the look out for splashes of red, blue and yellow. Convenience is also a key factor. Infuser mugs have become both more practical and well-designed. They offer users an option that takes up little space in the cupboard, but allows for proper steeping of tea, a convenient way to dispense of leaves, and an appropriate vessel for drinking. O Magazine selected Tea forte’s KATI cup version as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2011. Forlife Designs offers other attractive cups in a range of shapes.

Tea accessories will always have a popular following, especially because they can be more kitschy and fun, and don’t need to fit squarely in with existing collections. Infusers with a comedic twist seem to be getting more play. The Shark Tea Infuser and Mr. Tea have been getting a lot of attention. But what about the tea diver, the manatea, and the ducky? Humor isn’t the only attraction though. The stunning work of artists like those at Tea Tangent who make award-winning unique and beautiful cherry wood tea accessories. Tea traveler mugs, the jars with screw top infusers and caps, are popular for commuters and people who enjoy tea on the go.

We’ve only just begun. We haven’t started talking about the tea and its related off-shoots like cosmetics and apparel. More to come…