Waters, Robyn

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Waters, Robyn

PERSONAL:

Born in MN. Education: B.A.; degree from Mankato State University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—MN. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Target Corporation, Minneapolis, MN, vice president of design, trend, and product development, 1992-2002; founder, RW Trend LLC (consulting firm), 2002.

WRITINGS:

The Trendmaster's Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, illustrated by Lindsay Van De Weghe, Portfolio (New York, NY), 2005.

The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape, Portfolio (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Robyn Waters drew on her experience as vice president of design, trend, and product development at Target Corporation to write The Trendmaster's Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next. This guide, organized in A-Z format, aims to help retailers identify successful new products in time to market them most effectively. As she explained in an interview published on the Creative Group Web site: "Most tracking is really just common sense." Trends, she added, "are really just signposts and indicators pointing the way to what's important in the lives, hearts and minds of consumers." Learning to identify these trends, then, requires attentiveness and openness. Speaking about her approach with BusinessWeek contributor Reena Jana, Waters explained that facts and figures alone do not provide the information necessary to identify trends. "The information that's most important," she emphasized, "is the soft stuff, the information that can't be measured because it has to do with heart and soul and how something feels." She recommends that managers cultivate their creative awareness by regularly opening themselves up to new experiences.

Waters's second book, The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape, focuses on the paradoxical nature of contemporary trends, such as the simultaneous growth in popularity of SUVs and very small cars. A writer for Publishers Weekly found the book lacking in new insights, but appreciated its "cheery" tone. Newsweek critic John David Sparks noted that the type of paradoxes that the book identifies have become a fact in the globalized marketplace.

Waters told CA: "I've always been a voracious reader and find much wisdom and inspiration in books. When I left the corporate world, I wanted to create a platform to share my philosophy on trend … one that was my authentic voice, and not the opinions of others or a corporate mandate. Many people urged me to write a book. That's where the name ‘Trendmaster’ came from. An associate told me: ‘You have to write a book on trend … after all, you are the Trendmaster.’

"My favorite business book is Orbitting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. That book influenced me in a big way. I've given it to many friends and coworkers over the years. Tom Peters and Seth Godin also both greatly influenced my style.

"I write like I speak or present. I believe that you can best get your message across through simple authentic language, and a little wit thrown in for good measure.

"The most surprising thing I've learned as a writer is how hard it is to be a writer, and how easy it was to write a book.

"[Of my books] The Trendmaster's Guide is my favorite. I found my voice writing it, and people listened!

"I hope my writing will inspire others to think differently."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Entrepreneur, June 1, 2005, Mark Henricks, review of The Trendmaster's Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, p. 28.

Newsweek, October 16, 2006, John David Sparks, review The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape.

New York Times, January 7, 2007, Phil Patton, "Gills, Grilles and Streaks."

Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of The Hummer and the Mini, p. 69.

ONLINE

BusinessWeek Online,http://www.businessweek.com/ (November 26, 2006), Reena Jana, interview with Robyn Waters.

Creative Group,http://www.creativegroup.com/ (April 13, 2007), "Design with Heart: From Target to Tarzhay."

Guardian Online,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (April 13, 2007), review of The Hummer and the Mini.

RW Trend,http://www.rwtrend.com (April 13, 2007).