Have you ever wondered how the décor that you pick out in a store and put in your home ends up on the shelves? Who gets to decide what colors they should be, and why? How did someone decide these two textures look great together on one product? We think about that thing all the time, so we wanted to talk a little bit about our product development process and give you a behind the scenes peek. From trend research, to sourcing, to getting our newest citronella products to your doorstep, there’s actually quite a lot that goes into the process!
The starting point for developing any new products is to look at what our customers (that’s you!) want and need. We know that the way your outdoor space looks and feels is just as important to you as keeping mosquitoes away so that you can actually enjoy being outdoors. Most of our team lives in Minnesota, so we truly know what it means to cherish every minute of warm weather and sunshine, and we want you to be able to do the same! Having a relaxing, outdoor space you feel comfortable in is so important to your mental health and overall wellbeing, especially during this time while we’re all staying home and social distancing to help contain COVID-19 spread.
The first step to making sure we know what our customers are looking for is doing our market research. We really value the customer feedback we receive - we want to know what you like, what you don’t like, and if there’s any products, styles, price points that you think are missing from our current line. Last year, we relaunched our website so customers could order directly from us, and started connecting with our customers through our social media channels. It’s opened up an amazing avenue for you all to reach out to us with questions, concerns, product ideas or just to say “Hey!” If you ever any feedback for us, we want to hear it! We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we love it when customers tag us in photos of Patio Essentials products they’ve purchased, or just to see a comment for you on one of our posts! If you’ve purchased one of our products on our website or through a retailer, one of the best ways to give us feedback is to leave a review on our website. Not all of the items we sell through retailers are available on our website though, so you can always send us an email with your thoughts too!
Once we have an idea of what types of products our customers want to see, we also like to call upon the trend experts. Each year, our product development team attends several sourcing and trade shows in order to stay on top the latest designs and trends. The shows we’re attending have hundreds of vendors from all over the world, so we get to check out all the latest design and color trends, as well as new innovations all in one place. We soak in a ton of information from the inspirational seminars they offer which give us insider info on the upcoming color, lifestyle and global trends. We walk the aisles to see what new products the vendors have that we like for potential candle vessels, torch styles and AquaFlame decorative vessels. After the shows, once we’ve selected products we want to move forward with, there’s a lot of follow up communication that takes place between our product development team and suppliers to ensure the product is developed according to our standards, and at the best price. It’s a lot of work (and a lot of traveling) but we love doing it because we truly care about bringing you your citronella products in style!
After attending the sourcing shows, we’ll take a second look at our current product line to review what’s working and see where we can improve. We like to refresh our line with each new season, whether that’s launching a few completely brand-new products or simply refreshing the colors of some of our best sellers according to the new color trends of the season. We’re staying on top of it so that you can bring those trendy pieces to your patio!
The last step of our product development process is testing. Not only do we want to ensure that each item looks great, we also want it to burn properly and as effectively as possible for a non-chemical pesticide! We partner with a couple different professional product testing laboratories that specialize in measuring mosquito repellency! To learn more about the efficacy testing process, check out our blog post where we share the efficacy report on our AquaFlame fountain with our AquaFlame citronella essential oil.
We hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes look into our product development process and remember that one of the key resources when developing products for future lines is YOU! Your feedback helps us to improve so that we can ensure we are meeting your needs and providing the best products that allow you to create “Your Yard, Your Way.” Drop us a note if there’s anything particular you’d like to see for next season - you never know, your idea may be added to our new line!