Today, I would like to discuss a subject near and dear to my refusing-to-mature heart: teens. As the sibling of a teen, I have to admit they have me a bit perplexed. I consider myself in touch with teen culture, mainly because I have a weakness for Disney and, as much as I fight it, I am coming down with Bieber fever. Yet, there is one thing I do not understand: The Jersey Shore.
I realize the popularity of this show is not based solely on teens, but ages 12 to 18 have embraced Snooki and DJ Pauly D with graphic-tee-sporting arms wide open. When considering my disdain for the poofs and fist pumps on that show, I realized why I dislike it so much: Had that show come out when I was 15, I would have been obsessed.
I have come a long way since my days were filled with Paul Frank pajamas, JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) posters and 'N Sync sing-a-longs. In retrospect, I really judge my teenage self for thinking T-shirt slogans like "Made in the '80s" were clever, but isn't that what being a teenager is about? Who looks back to their life at 13 and thinks, "I was so cool." What you are probably thinking is, "Cutting my own bangs was a bold choice." Teens are in a constant battle between being unique and pleasing others and they need your help to navigate the uncertainty of middle and high school.
Tweens and teens are all about what is great this second. What is cool today (Bieber, Glee) might be passe tomorrow (Demi Lovato, Hannah Montana). The 12 to 18 age bracket is driven by pop culture, rebellious tendencies and a clear, though often denied, dependency on the opinions of their friends. Their style is a mix of copies of celebrity style (Bieber's hoodies and skinny jeans, The Situation's graphic tees) and imprinted apparel supporting their favorite athletes and pop stars.
The best way to figure out teens and tweens: research. Peruse celebrity gossip sites to catch up on their favorite stars, troll your local Apple store to see their favorite gadgets and create a Facebook account to check in on the teens and tweens in your life. Also, check out Promo Marketing's Children's and Juniors' Apparel section for great ideas on tween products.
Once you know all of the lyrics to Baby and have the desire to fist pump, you'll know you've clenched the teen market.