What is a traditional family anyway?
Life has changed since the 1950’s when families were composed of Mom, Dad, 2.2 Kids & Dog (or Cats if you were edgy). Back then, this was considered to be a traditional family. But we’re heading toward the 2020’s and the face of families has changed. Modern families are evolving. But not all designers and retailers have caught up.
modern family (and I don’t mean the tv show)
We all know that these days, families come in all shapes, sizes, genders, colours and compositions. But step into many retail outlets (especially when you are looking for a baby gift) and you could be forgiven for thinking that Family=Mom + Dad + Child (or 2). Part of the problem is that designers and publishers are not observing the changes in modern families and products do not actually represent the way that people are living in the 21st Century.
If you are a retailer; if you sell baby gifts or gifts for families, here are 5 reasons you need to think about non-traditional families:
1. first comes love, then comes marriage…
Marriage equality is here (Amen)! 19 countries in the world have legalised gay marriage and others have pending legislation. This does not include countries with civil partnerships. And what comes after love and marriage? Families!
Many baby products, especially keepsakes, focus on
a) Pregnancy and b) Mom/Mum & Dad.
These may or may not be relevant to modern families who
a) Adopt/go through surrogacy and b) Have two Moms/Mums or two Dads or one Mum and one Dad.
Baby-books are a great example of baby-gifts/products that are hanging out in the 20th Century! Except for this one…
2. That pesky biological clock…
People, especially in western countries, are waiting longer to start families and sometimes biology doesn’t like that. For this reason and so many others, many people open their homes and welcome children through adoption. The family composition can be slightly different and certainly in the UK where many adoptions include sibling groups or older children, families don’t see themselves represented in the ‘keepsake market’. Or they are forced to shell out exorbitant amounts of money to go down a fully personalised route-to-remembering. Either way, it is so easy for designers to accommodate different stories by just adjusting their language a little bit.
3. the world is a smaller place…
We are all meeting people from different countries/cultures/belief-systems and some of us are falling in love etc (see Point 1…). Depending on where and how we live, these faces are not always represented in keepsakes/mementos/remembrances. Sometimes we have to shoe-horn our story into someone else’s book (I speak from experience!). Design flexibility and leaving pre-conceived notions at the door can certainly go a long way in ensuring that a product appeals to a much wider audience. And surely this is good news all the way around!
4. some families aren’t binary…
Following on from Point 1 (gay marriage) and Point 3 (smaller world), when the world gets smaller and we start meeting new people, we’re not all the same colour. Advertising is getting better at realising this so people are starting to see their stories represented a bit more accurately, but what about product development for families. Is this something that designers and publishers are taking into consideration? It certainly is worth more than a token glance at race representation when putting together new product ideas.
5. love makes a family
At the end of the day, families are made up of people who love each other. End of story. In UK Yankee’s world, families are made up of a rag-tag bunch of people who somehow all came together in a tangled bond of love, laughter and crumbs. So let’s remember this when designing family and lifestyle products. People don’t like to be pigeon-holed. Because we’re not pigeons!
work with us
If you are looking to enhance your family and lifestyle product line with products that fit the modern family, check out UK Yankee Press’s The Baby Files: A Book Celebrating My First Year and our Love Makes a Family Art-print. Plus, we have other Modern Family-Friendly products in development right at this very moment.