In their efforts to pinpoint definable market segments at which
to aim their specific advertising pitches, experts have identified
a group known as in-betweens, or tweens. They are young adolescents
too old to be toddlers and too young to be teenagers. What makes
them important is that they have distinct preferences in apparel,
entertainment and lifestyle choices. Yes, eight-year-olds can be
And make no mistake; they are a targeted audience. Researchers Harris Interactive surveyed executives working in the youth sector and found that children from the age of seven are old enough to be considered a targeted consumer for youth market advertising. At the average age of 9.1 years young people can view advertising critically. By the age of 11.7, on average, kids are deemed old enough to make intelligent choices as consumers.
Believe it or not, tweens can be a growth opportunity for interior decorating professionals. Creating stimulating interiors for these young consumers can make their parents happy and plant the seeds for future business from the next generation of shoppers. The trick seems to be in creating stylish and well designed spaces for mom and dad—who still control the purse strings after all—while keeping it lively and fun for the kids making the choices. This month’s Design Perspective by Karla Nielson (see page 32) and Portfolio (see page 36) aim just a bit over their heads, but will give you ideas and advice on how to proceed.
Jonathan Wilken, meanwhile, has successfully identified another tween market (see page 28). Starting back in 1997, Wilken’s Olde Towne Window Works created the Uptown Line of home fashions. He describes these as a high-end line of ready-made window treatments, bedding and accessories. They are a step up from standard ready-made—featuring a wide selection of high-quality fabrics, trims and embellishments not found in that market—and superb fabrication. It is a niche in the decorating business that Wilken says represents a growing market segment.
As evidence that he’s right, consider that Olde Towne Window Works started with three fabric choices and one retail account, and today offers about 180 fabrics, serves more than 250 customers in 40 states and has grown beyond the $1.2 million mark in sales.
The tweens might just become the center of attention.