Display Tips: taking visual merchandising clues from products

For many gift retailers, the summer equals trade show season. Buyers are off to market centers to place wholesale orders. In addition to viewing new product introductions, taking advantage of show specials and educational opportunities, the savviest retailers spend some time “at market” gathering display inspiration and noting ideas for visual merchandising to create once the new merchandise arrives in-store. In planning showroom and booth displays, professional merchandisers and designers look to the products for simple display techniques that will catch the eye of potential buyers. Here’s a simple “before and after” table display I designed for Transpac Imports inside AmericasMart.

Assignment: Create a dynamic display for the introduction of Transpac’s Talking Totems.

Talking Totems at Transpac Imports showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta

Talking Totems at Transpac Imports showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta

These colorful, meaningful message totems were to be displayed in the everyday section of the showroom, but they also were being introduced in holiday and Halloween versions in different areas of the showroom.

Challenge: Create eye-catching table displays that were cohesive enough for three locations in the showroom, but stood alone as feature displays.

Answer: Look for common colors or patterns throughout the everyday, holiday and Halloween versions of the products. The answer was clearly a black and white stripe.

Visual merchandising, Talking Totems "before" shot at Transpac Imports showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta

Talking Totems “before” shot at Transpac Imports showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta

When I arrived, the talking totem table was in place, ready for the transformation. My supplies included round table cloths and some custom risers. Here’s the “after” shot of the every day line of talking totems:

Talking Totems "After" shot at Transpac Imports showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta

Talking Totems “After” shot at Transpac Imports showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta

The bold, black and white stripes were perfect for the every day line, as well as the holiday and Halloween selections. I added red and black risers for varying heights within the display and I placed some gold risers in the holiday display. I used a woven, silk rope curtain tie-back to gather and secure the tablecloth around the pedestal tables. Honestly, steaming/ironing the tablecloths was the most time consuming part of this project.

I feel like the black and white choice was ideal to spotlight this fun product introduction and a great example of letting the product styling “speak to” the visual merchandising decisions. Buyers: Take notes and take pictures of the products you order, looking closely for clues to display ideas and the vendor showrooms are an amazing source for inspirations.

If you want to see some fun display ideas – and great products – visit the Transpac showrooms this summer at the shows. I enjoyed creating some of the visuals in their Atlanta showroom in Building 1, 19th floor #19-D12.

I hope to see you at the summer gift & home shows. Watch the Retail Details blog Facebook page for information about the panels and seminars I will be presenting at the shows. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, too.

Stay display inspired!


Summer Sails: boat themes for visual merchandising

Textiles display boat visual merchandising store display Dean & Co. UK

Textiles boat display – Dean & Co. – UK

Boats go with Summer like flowers go with Spring, popping up in store windows and in-store displays to capture the feelings of time spent at the lake or by the sea.

Simple shapes and traditional nautical color schemes make it easy to represent the theme:

Visual merchandising retail details blog store display Summer Sale

Summer Sale window by visual merchandising students

Or go BIG with a life-size hull if space allows…

Visual merchandising retail details blog store display Homestead Gardens Davidson MD CatStudio

CatStudio display at Homestead Gardens in Davidson, MD.

You might recognize the CatStudio boat display (above) as I included the Homestead Gardens image in a feature about Retail’s Softer Side for Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine last year, click here to read more.

The iconic shape of boats show up in visual merchandising applications as shelves, as seen below at Simplicity Decor in Kirkland, WA:

Visual merchandising retail details blog store display Simplicity Decor - Kirkland WA

Simplicity Decor – Kirkland WA

I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Simplicity Decor, A. Suraphong Liengboonlertchai when he attended one of my seminars at a gift show and I hope to visit his shops when I make it to WA one of these days. I need to plan a #retailroadtrip to the Northwest.

More shelves:

Boat shelves visual merchandising in the Demdaco Showroom at Las Vegas Market

Boat shelves in the Demdaco Showroom at Las Vegas Market.
Image credit: Becky Tyre

I enjoyed these wall shelves in the Demdaco showroom at Las Vegas Market last year and the floor boat was a fun display, too!

Boat display Demdaco Retail Details blog visual merchandising

Sand-filled boat display in the Demdaco showroom – Las Vegas Market
Image credit: Becky Tyre

And another favorite is this hull bow mounted as an end cap display in the P. Graham Dunn retail store in Dalton, OH:

Visual merchandising retail details blog store display P. Graham Dunn retail store Dalton, OH.

P. Graham Dunn retail store – Dalton, OH.
Image credit: Becky Tyre

If you ever get the chance to visit the P. Graham Dunn facility in Dalton, it is a real treat! The retail store is lovely and it is located in one of Ohio’s picturesque Amish communities. I was honored to present some seminars at their dealer’s conference in March and enjoyed meeting the retailers, touring the wholesale production facility and having dinner at one of their Amish employee’s home was a highlight of my year!

I’ll close with a small boat prop I spotted last week at a charming home decor and gift store, Cottage and Loft in Fort Myers, FL:

Boat visual merchandising bed display at Cottage & Loft - Ft. Myers, FL.

Mini-boat floats on a bed display at Cottage & Loft – Ft. Myers, FL.
Image credit: Becky Tyre

Stay display inspired!

Retail Details blog, Becky TyreBecky

Anatomy of a trade show booth

I had the pleasure of interviewing Alejandra Remijio about her work on the Danica Studio trade show booth at NY NOW. You may know Alejandra as a designer of one of a kind and limited edition table linens, but she is also a talented retail visual concept designer in New York and beyond.

Danica NYNOW booth

Danica Studio booth at NY NOW

Q (Becky): How closely do you follow a plan-o-gram in booth setup?

A (Alejandra): To execute the set up, I used a booth layout schematic for the fixtures and photos to place the merchandise. This particular layout was patterned after the booth in Atlanta at AmericasMart. It’s very important to keep the look of your brand consistent, so your customers can recognize you at these big trade shows.

Danica NYNOW booth before

Danica NYNOW booth: a blank slate!

Q: General tips from a VM expert?

A: No matter what kind of job I’m hired to do, I always bring my own tools – scissors, tape, twine, glue etc. Know your clients brand vision and always remember the ultimate goal is to sell merchandise. Also, tell a story with the product and have fun!

Danica NYNOW booth

Q: What are the main benefits and features of the perimeter racks?

A: The racks are a great way to display a lot of merchandise in a small area. With these fixtures, the upper as well as lower part of the space is being utilized. Also, the shelves have various heights which allow you to stack product, feature larger items and incorporate different vessels to showcase the merchandise. These custom racks have rungs at the top where hooks and various other creative merchandising techniques can be used.

Danica NYNOW booth

Danica Studio custom racks

Q: How does the merchandising plan for a table differ from racks?

Danica NYNOW booth

A: Merchandising a front table is always a lot of fun! It’s an opportunity to attract first time customers, as well as feature new and best selling products. Having catalogues and other marketing materials available on a front table encourages the customer to take one, with the hope that they will follow up at a later date.

THANKS Alejandra! View her table linens at Copper Colored Gal Designs or email her alejandra@coppercoloredgal.com for visual merchandising inquiries.

Becky’s notes from the booth visit:

Notes: Alternating vertical and horizontal stacks is an eye-catching visual merchandising technique.

Danica Studio NYNOW booth at Javits Center

Danica Studio NYNOW booth at Javits Center

The signage in the booth is clear and consistent and located on each wall.

Danica Studio NYNOW- Javits Center

Danica Studio NYNOW- Javits Center

Feature items with a common theme in one grouping to encourage sales of an entire collection. Create a “display story”.

Stay display inspired!

In other news – The next retail road trip will be to the Nashville, TN, so if you know of any unique, clever indie shops we should visit, let us know! Also, the full print article about the remodel of the Naples Soap Company Key West retail store is available to view online at the Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine website, click here to read it. ~Becky

NY NOW trends and noteworthy displays

The cool weather was perfect for a sunny visit to New York City to attend the winter NY NOW show, where retailers go to find new products to sell in their stores. With categories that include textiles, handmade, general gift, jewelry (and more!), picture thousands of exhibitors featuring anything you might imagine that could be sold as a gift or in home decor, stationery and jewelry stores.Javits nynow 2016The show, held twice-yearly at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, never disappoints and the vendors, artists, designers and manufacturers brought their “A” games to the booth designs, as always. I’ll share a few of my favorites in this post.



Sigikid USA booth at NY NOW, Winter 2016

Weathered wood set a “rough, but cozy” tone, perfect for the Beasts Town area in the Sigikid USA booth.

The Little Korboose booth had several wood elements in varying finishes. The mix created an effective setting for the modern, minimalist-style textiles.

Little Korboose booth at NY NOW

Little Korboose booth at NY NOW

Tempaper booth NY NOW

Temporary wallpaper from TEMPAPER at NY NOW

Temporary wallpaper has become a visual merchandising staple and can be a booth designers’ best friend! Removable papers are ideal for display backdrops and seasonal store decor changes, too. TEMPAPER has some fun options. I am recommending the brick, pictured below, to a retail client this week.

Tempaper Brick

TEMPAPER display at NY NOW

The Danica Studio booth featured the llama trend with wallpaper that complemented the products on display. I love how clear and well-placed their signage was, as well.

Danica Studio booth Ny Now

Danica Studio booth at NY NOW


I had to step in and touch the cloth-covered walls in the Christopher Pourny booth!

Christopher Pourny NY NOW

Christopher Pourny booth at NY NOW


Shiraleah NY NOW

Shiraleah at NY NOW

Shiraleah emphasized the pineapple trend and the gold foil trend on an endcap display for the booth.

Zodax also spotlighted the gold trend in a big way by mixing holiday with every day products and included the emerging penguin trend in the mix on shelves along one aisle.

Zodax NY NOW

Zodax at NY NOW


String art sat front and center in the Primitives by Kathy booth on a clever table display that met the challenge of featuring products normally displayed on a wall.

Primitives by Kathy NY NOW

Primitives by Kathy booth at NY NOW


Laurel Denise NY NOW

Bracelets displayed on birch branches from Laurel Denise at NY NOW

One of my favorite display trends is the use of birch as a visual merchandising element. I’m planning an entire blog post dedicated to this trend, but here’s a fun example from the Laurel Denise display at the show. Stay tuned for more on this visual merchandising trend. I’m building quite an image folder. Send me your birch display images and I’ll consider including them in the blog post, coming soon.

Unexpected Elements:

Aram at NY NOW

Michael Aram’s plate dress at NY NOW

Perhaps the most photographed feature display at the show, the plate dress in the Michael Aram booth was quite a show-stopper! Love the creativity.

Aram at NY NOW

Closer view of the Aram plate dress at NY NOW


Affixed to the wall with pipe clamps, a copper coil makes an eye-catching scarf display in the Avvolto booth of Lands Downunder.

Avvolto NY NOW

Avvolto copper coil display in the Lands Downunder booth at NY NOW

The Big Picture:

Several booths were “pretty as a picture”, decorated and merchandised in ways that were visually pleasing as a whole unit. Retailers can clearly envision the products as they might be merchandised in-store. Here are a few of our favorites:

Sarah Richardson Design NY NOW

Sarah Richardson Design booth at NY NOW

A lovely combination of color balance and use of layered displays, resulted in an inviting booth space for the home textiles from Sarah Richardson Design. Superb, simple display techniques are exhibited here!

Sophie Allport NY NOW

Sophie Allport Limited booth at NY NOW

Collections by theme are key to mixing china, textiles, stationery, pet, garden and kids products in a single, cohesive booth. This technique was beautifully exhibited in the Sophie Allport Limited booth.

Note the use of lifestyle graphics, too:

Sophie Allport Limited NY NOW

Sophie Allport Limited booth at NY NOW

…and the booth designers found a way to maximize space by merchandising all the way into the corners. Bravo!

Sellers of small items like jewelry, benefit from visual merchandising that draws potential customers in for a closer look. The Black Black Moon booth succeeded.

Black Black Moon booth NY NOW

Black Black Moon booth at NY NOW

The sign indicating Handmade in North Carolina appeals to buyers looking for Made-In-USA products and the buyers in search of handmade merchandise.

Black Black Moon NY NOW

Black Black Moon booth at NY NOW

The American Made message was clear at the Hester and Cook booth, too:

Hester & Cook NY NOW

Hester & Cook booth at NY NOW

And the LOCAL trend did not go unnoticed at the Rock Scissor Paper booth featuring “destination” and location-based items.

Rock Scissor Paper NY NOW

Rock Scissor Paper booth at NY NOW

Fresh or faux, flowers add color, soft contrast and texture to tabletop displays, as pictured below at the Match booth.

Match booth NY NOW

Match booth at NY NOW

Flowers in displays may also be used to indicate a “season” as shown here in the Vietri booth, below. This is also a lovely example of layering and stacking a floor-to-ceiling display:

Vietri booth NY NOW

Vietri booth at NY NOW

At times, a simple flower swap could turn a spring display into a fall or holiday theme. Imagine this Sarah Richardson Jewelry display vignette with different florals, without changing the display pieces:

Sarah Richardson Jewelry NY NOW

Sarah Richardson Jewelry at NY NOW


Flowers can create an eye-catching “pop”, as shown here in the HomArt booth…

Homart booth NY NOW

Homart booth at NY NOW

… or a less-intrusive placement that adds texture or contrast, rather than a color punch. Shown below, in the Plat du Jour booth.

Plat du Jour booth NY NOW

Plat du Jour booth at NY NOW

We also enjoy an interactive booth…

Yellow Leaf Hammocks at NY NOW

Yellow Leaf Hammocks booth at NY NOW

We loved the sign and the sentiment at the fun, Yellow Leaf Hammocks booth, so we enticed our Retail Details photographer with a coconut drink to get him in front of the camera for a change.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks NY NOW

Yellow Leaf Hammocks booth at NY NOW

Providing photo opps or selfie areas in a trade show booth can significantly boost social media coverage and buzz. Use a custom hashtag for each event or show so you can track, follow and repost for additional online exposure.


We are always inspired by the entrepreneurs we meet in the booths at the trade shows. Kudos to Joelle, the founder of Butterie for a simple, effective booth design worthy of anchoring our blog covering the NY NOW winter show. Butterie booth at NY NOW

Let’s break it down… Butterie booth at NY NOW

The booth is simple and informational, clearly conveying the message behind the product and exhibiting the use. Joelle told us that she wanted the booth to feel like a cozy kitchen.

Butterie booth at NY NOW

Butterie booth at NY NOW

Two windows with “sill shelves” on a bright butter-yellow wall, flanked the informational sign and upon closer look, I was impressed to see… 212Butterie_nynow_fabric

… the custom Butterie fabric used as curtains. Love this attention to detail!! 212Butterie_nynow_brochure

The booth had brochures clearly listing the product features surrounded by displays of the product in-use.

Butterie booth NY NOW

Butterie booth at NY NOW

The second wall of the corner booth featured a triptych custom piece of art that immediately drew us into the booth for a closer peek at this artistic approach to merchandising and branding. Bravo, Butterie!

Butterie booth at NY NOW

Butterie booth at NY NOW

Before closing, I’d like to thank the NY NOW team for inviting me to, once again, be a part of the educational programming during the show. Retail Details NY NOW

Retail Details NY NOW

Retail Trends Seminar at NY NOW

We had a full house and lots of great questions. I loved meeting you all!

Trends seminar NY NOW Becky Tyre Retail Details

Becky Tyre of Retail Details blog presents the Retail Trends seminar at NY NOW

Until next time… Stay Display Inspired!

You can see more of our pictures from the winter gift shows by following Retail Details blog on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Please leave me a comment below, if you enjoy the summary from the show, tell me about your favorite display idea or just to say hi!