Spotting retail trends

I just listened to Monocle 24, The Entrepreneurs episode #45 (forward 32:40-42:14). Short interview with Arnault Castel. He’s the man behind kapok, a brand gaining traction in Hong Kong. I think they just launched in Malaysia as well in the Gardens.

Why is this interview interesting? Quite simply because Castel ended up in Hong Kong by accident (from France), worked in banking (a French bank doing stuff overseas – he didn’t want to do military service after his business studies), built up Lomography Asia, continued his expansion to bringing in Moleskine/Rhodia/etc, and now does kapok. Key points to note? He did Lomo’s in 2001, Moleskine in 2004, and so on. He’s a retail trend spotter.

He’s also a bootstrapper: all his ventures started out of his home office.

The importance of frequent travel is probably brought up a lot in this interview too. Helps with the spotting.

He talks about building community & community marketing for Lomography.

Further reading.