North Carolina’s final tax-free weekend – the summer school-shopping holiday comparable in the retail world to Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls – is upon us.
Included in this weekend’s tax-free deal are clothes, sports equipment, computers and perhaps most importantly, school supplies. And it looks like students will need some new stuff to keep up with the latest back-to-school supply trends.
What’s hot? Today’s Me Generation is all about standing out, not blending in, so the more outrageous and cutting-edge the accoutrements, the better. Word around the locker is that neon colors and personalization are all the rage.
Staples public relations manager Mark Cautela confirms: “Kids are looking to be very personalized, to have their own identity.”
One of Staples’ biggest new products, he says, is a customizable composition notebook. On the company’s website, kids can pick a design and add pictures and banners to the front to make the items their own, one-of-a-kind accessory. Folders can also be customized.
Cautela also notes that bright colors are very big, along with quilted zipper binders and anything that glows or lights up. Bold, bright graphics on every surface imaginable are in vogue. Folders, notebooks, pencil pouches and backpacks feature every color on the spectrum.
The classics – backpacks and lunch boxes – receive the most attention. Josh Jensen, a sales associate at Omega Sports, said bright colors are huge right now.
Geometric or texturized designs adorn many school supplies – including lunch boxes – as do images of celebrities (One Direction, anyone?) and cartoon characters. Moms and kids alike seem to prefer the soft, insulated lunch bags to clunky boxes.
An especially popular product from last year that is expected to make a comeback is the “locker chandelier,” a motion-sensor light fixture that hangs from the top of a locker.
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