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Interview with Cate Trotter

Retail expert and speaker Cate Trotter was named the 26th most influential professional in retail. Cate speaks about the future of retail and business and is also Head of Trends at Insider Trends. Read her interview with A-Speakers and learn more about her and her speaking career.

What got you interested in retail and retail trends? 

My background is in design, marketing and branding so trends have been a vital part of my work for a long time. Retail became my focus after I founded my previous company Insider London, which was London’s first alternative walking tour company. Through that business, I became very familiar with London and I couldn’t help but notice what was happening in retail and how I saw things changing. I saw there were a lot of gaps between customer habits and expectations and what retail was offering. I’ve now been running Insider Trends for more than 10 years and I’m still as in love with retail trends as I was when I started.


How did you begin your speaking career?

I really started speaking as an extension to our retail safaris. Those sessions often start or end with a mini-presentation to get the client thinking about the trends that they’re about to see, or have just seen, and how they apply to their business. These help provide a framework and some context for the day. From here I started being approached for other speaking opportunities, and presentations are now one of my core focuses.


Describe yourself in 3 words – why these words?

Curious. Down-to-earth. Invested.

I think these are all key qualities to my work. Being curious is a vital part of trend forecasting – you have to be out there poking your nose in things, asking questions, researching, talking to people doing exciting new things, making connections. At the same time, I pride myself on being accessible in my presentations. We don’t hide behind big words or industry jargon. We talk about trends and the future of retail in a way that demystifies them, that is easy for anyone to follow and understand, and doesn’t make the audience feel intimidated. I’m very invested in my work and the work of my clients. Helping retailers to navigate the future of retail is very important to me, but I also think that I’m invested in asking how can the industry change? How can retail be different? Why should things stay the same?


How are your keynote presentations unique?

An Insider Trends presentation is ‘fat-free’ which means every part is value-packed. Our clients learn more in an hour-long presentation with us than they do in other sessions twice as long because we make our content and insights the focus, not us. We take potentially complex subjects and boil them down into a handful of powerful and memorable takeaways that people can actually take action on. It’s not just about theory, but actual practical implementations and examples. Every presentation is also bespoke to the client so there’s no filler – everything is tailored to be valuable to them.


What are your biggest goals in your life/career currently?

I want to keep on improving and growing the Insider Trends business. In the last year, I’ve spoken to bigger and bigger crowds all over the world and I’d love that to continue. There are definitely new places that I still want to visit and I’m already lining up some interesting opportunities along those lines. I’d also love to keep helping and inspiring retailers to see the future as one of opportunity, rather than something to fear.


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

I enjoy connecting with people and speaking is a great way of doing that. It’s great sharing my thoughts and insights via my blog posts and articles, but there’s another level of human connection in communicating those via a presentation. Public speaking is also very motivational and I always learn a lot from the people I meet after a presentation. I find myself being more inspired in my day-to-day work through my speaking, and of course, it makes me better at talking to people on retail safaris and workshops as well.

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