How Big Brands and Younger Generations Are Embracing Boomers

by decwells
How Big Brands and Younger Generations Are Embracing Boomers


Coastal Grandma style is popular, Pottery Barn and Lowe’s are accessible, and Jane Fonda is the face of H&M’s new ‘movement’ clothing line

It was only three years ago that young millennials and Gen Z coined the phrase “OK, Boomer” as a way to dismiss and label their elders as old-fashioned. Moreover, advertisers and product designers have long ignored the needs of older customers.

Flash forward to 2022 when younger generations and major retail brands began to view the 50+ crowd as fashionable and desirable. That may have something to do with older adults representing an $8.3 trillion economy, according to AARP.

The ‘coastal granny’ aesthetic includes a sea of ​​white and blue in comfortable, natural elements for home decor. | Credit: Polina Tankilevitch

Pottery Barn, a specialty retailer of casual, comfortable and stylish home furnishings, announced this summer its Accessible Home line of 150 home furnishings, finishes and decor designed for inclusivity to help those with physical limitations.

“More and more people are starting to get into place … it has now become our brand’s mission to incorporate accessibility into everything we do.”

“After visiting one of our stores, I found out that the bathroom does not have Pottery Barn furniture as it is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. I felt that this was a big miss because we always looking for ways to better serve our customers and enable everyone to participate in our brand,” said Pottery Barn President Marta Benson.

The new Accessible Home line includes swivel mirrors (useful whether standing or sitting, such as in a wheelchair), beautiful yet strong functional grab bars that add style and safety to aging bathrooms, stylish task lighting options for failing vision and more .

Accessibility with style

The most popular furniture items were leather power recliners with easy-to-read buttons on the remote control for various recline positions that also have a lift assist to help get in and out of the chair. It also has easy-to-reach side pockets for reading glasses, medications, smartphones and other items that need to be handy but tucked away to help with clutter.

Other favorites are the L-shaped desk and apothecary sink that now accommodates wheelchair height, with the sink also offering reduced depth to ensure you can easily reach the faucet.

“More and more people are starting to get into place… It’s now become our brand mission to incorporate accessibility into everything we do,” Benson added.

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, half of all homes are headed by someone over 50 who wants to live at home longer. By 2037, households with someone over 80 will double to more than 14 million. While most older adults want to age in place—the term used for those who want to stay in their homes—many live in “Peter Pan” homes, meaning homes built for people who will never age. In fact, according to the National Association of Homebuilders, nearly half of the homes in the US were built before 1980, and 38% before 1970. Only 1% of 100 million homes in America use any type of universal design to make the home ageless. supportive and approachable.

Incorporate universal design

A Markble-coated ADA-compliant sink.  Next Lane, adaptive furniture disabled adults
An ADA compliant sink from Pottery Barn | Credit: Pottery Barn

That’s one reason Lowe’s, one of the largest home improvement companies in North America with 2,200 retail stores, launched its Livable Home Services last fall. The new initiative trains shop assistants on universal design products and connects customers to information and experts for installations and modifications.

In terms of universal design, these experts are specially trained in ADA compliance for modifications such as no-step or no-access showers, grounding grab bars in bathtubs, adding handrails on both sides for steps and stairs or changing to ramps , etc. While entryways, kitchens and bedrooms can all be changed to accommodate aging, the biggest safety risks are in the bathroom where 80% of all falls at home occur.

A 2016 survey of homeowners showed 50% of 75-year-olds make home modifications, and among those ages 55-70, 3 in 5 said they do home upgrades after caring for an elderly loved one. During the pandemic, these numbers increased as more people worked from home, cared for elderly parents at home, and realized that our home environments may need upgrades and changes for health and safety.

According to Louis Tenenbaum, founder of Homes Renewed Coalition, there are three main reasons older homeowners don’t proactively make universal design changes.

“A lack of understanding of what home modifications to buy; the ability to find an experienced and reliable installer; and having the confidence of a fair price for the right stuff done well. If we can improve these areas address, the adoption and market will grow,” says Tenenbaum.

One of the reasons Pottery Barn is so popular is that it has captured that coastal living vibe that translates well into a variety of home design styles, such as the popular farmhouse chic (also known as lake house and barndo aka “barn gone condo”- style). The coastal living aesthetic includes a sea of ​​white and blue in comfortable, natural elements for home decor.

The coastal living aesthetic includes a sea of ​​white and blue in comfortable, natural elements for home decor.

But it’s also a fashion trend where the stylish dress code consists of cool linen, 50 shades of beige and brown along with a spectrum of blue denim, luxurious cashmere sweaters and scarves, espadrilles and canvas or woven beach hats that say, “breezy “. , calm and classically sensual.”

Originally popularized by filmmaker Nancy Meyers, who was in her 50s when she made movies like “Something’s Gotta Give” (2003) and “It’s Complicated” (2009) with then-fifty-something actresses Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep, Meyers not only has elevated fashion and created enviable home designs with coastal chic, the popularity of which she attributes to the “cozy” feel of her films, but she has also increased the desirability of women over 50.

Nearly 20 years later, this chic beach vibe has struck a chord with Lex Nicoletta, a 20-something influencer who coined the phrase, “Coastal Grandma” in her top-trending TikTok videos. Her adoration for Keaton, Streep and Meyers along with her love for 74-year-old “Barefoot Contessa” cooking goddess Ina Garten has made Nicoletta a media sensation and the attention of retail brands and millennial celebrities, such as thirty-year-old actress Anne Hathaway, who posted tribute to the Coastal Ouma look and lifestyle on social media.

Jane Fonda wants to move you (again)

Even Jane Fonda, the now 84-year-old actress-activist-fitness-entrepreneur who told us to “feel the fire” when she ushered in the ’80s aerobics craze, has both Coastal Grandma and a stylish reinvention of her fit and hug. wonderful philosophy. She recently starred in Coastal Grandma parody video on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and announced her collaboration with value-driven clothing retailer, H&M, a popular brand with Gen Z and millennial fashionistas. Fonda and H&M’s new line is called H&M Move and is not positioned as sportswear, but “movewear” for all ages.

Jane Fonda stretches in a dance room.  Next Lane, adaptive furniture disabled adults
Jane Fonda for H&M Move | Credit: H&M

In a video to introduce the brand, Fonda says: “We should always try to move and grow. Being part of this ‘movement for movement’ makes a lot of sense to me because it’s important, doesn’t no matter who you are or where you are. , how old or young you are, that you move.”

In just 7-8 years, the oldest millennials will turn 50. Today, only 5-10% of marketing budgets in the US target an age 50+ audience, but this same audience accounts for more than half of all consumer spending. The age point of marketers is that they want to have a long-term relationship with their customers and do not desire older people who they see as short-term users.

But despite recent reports that life expectancy has declined slightly, life expectancy is increasing with people potentially living 30-40 years past the age of 50 and having plenty of spending power in those later years that brands can’t ignore.

Cara Sumpton, a millennial generation fashion designer for brands like lululemon, Aritzia and currently lead designer for the adaptive clothing line for older adults, Joe & Bella, sums it up best: “I think fashion will become ageless as we live longer.”

Photo by Sherri Snelling



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