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:

Visual merchandising, 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!

~Becky

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!

Visual merchandising retail details blog store display las vegas market demdaco

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

Retail Roadtrip Atlanta, GA part one

The last few months have found us in Atlanta, GA several times for business and for pleasure. Of course, when your job involves store visits and showroom visual merchandising, business IS pleasure! What a nice surprise to find so many new shopping destinations in the city.

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The Merchant at Krog Street Market

First stop: Krog Street Market. Located along the BeltLine trail, the mixed use space is designed to be as authentic as the 1920’s warehouse it’s built into. It’s called a food hall, but is home to some very interesting retail offerings, as well.

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The Merchant at Krog Street Market

A supplier of industrial chic wares, general gifts, stationery, and home furnishings, The Merchant carries brands like Rifle Paper and Fishs Eddy. One of the first displays I noticed was this intriguing set of ladder shelves:

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In for a closer look, the rope accents are perfect to complement the beautiful wood of the thin shelves. The orange is just the right shade to catch customers’ attention.

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The Merchant at Krog Street Market

The main building retains some of the industrial, warehouse feel, but with added modern touches in the food and retail spaces.

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Krog Street Market food hall, Christmas 2015

Mosaic patterns in the wood add warmth to the communal eating area (pictured above). Some of the retail areas appear to be pop-up shops and others have more permanent fixtures, like the lovely space of Mama Soap Co:

Krog_popup_Mama_Soap_ATL

Krog Street Market is the second location for The Merchant. We visited The Merchant at Howell Mill on a different day. The expectations were high, having seen the newer location, but we were not disappointed in the least!

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The Merchant at Howell Mill, Atlanta GA

This location also has a giant hanging canoe and I was in awe of all the beautiful vintage props in both of their stores. Here’s a closer look at the ornament display:

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I could write an entire blog post about the vintage pieces in this store and maybe I will after gift show season! The cubbies in this area were so perfectly charming and one of my favorite areas of the store:

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Did you notice that the tree has no ornaments or items for sale? That would normally be a visual merchandising no-no to give up such prime selling space, but the designers utilized display space so well throughout the stores, that I got over it. I found myself really digging the white lights trees, having seen the impact at both of their stores.

Before leaving the West Side area, I noticed a Shop Local store window. (Cue the sound of screeching brakes!)

Crafted_Local_Window_ATL

Crafted Westside

Inside Crafted Westside, vignettes filled the large space. Some were individual artists and others were cross merchandised with complementary product lines. All merchandise seemed to be artist-created, few duplicates and with a nice variety of products and price ranges, this is anything but a craft show moved indoors!

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Crafted Westside

Most of the fixtures reflected the handmade vibe and such a cute sandwich sign out front, too:

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Next stop: Ponce City Market, so stay tuned for a history lesson and some superb visual merchandising inspiration soon!

Meanwhile, if you are attending AmericasMart this week for the gift and home show, I’d love to meet you. I am moderating a panel of super-star retailers on Saturday, January 16 at 2PM. Details on the website under the events tab.

Not going to Atlanta this time? I’ll be in NYC at the end of the month, presenting a seminar about retail trends at NY NOW. 

Follow Retail Details blog on social media to see display images from the trade shows. Links to my social media sites are in the blog sidebar.

Hope to see you soon. Stay display inspired!

~Becky

NY Now Trade Show Booths part three

Many vendors, sales representatives, artists and manufacturers attend trade shows to gain exposure for their products. Booth costs vary by location within the show, square footage of the booth space and the amenities provided. Some designers build entire storefronts and others simply set up a table within a white-curtained booth. Creativity is key to an effective booth, regardless of the trade show set-up budget. Smart retailers take note of display ideas and techniques used at the shows and find ways to incorporate display trends in-store once the show season is over. I walked the aisles of NY Now at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and gathered pictures of some effective booth designs and trends in visual merchandising. Enjoy and stay display inspired!aug2015craftholicnynow1I’m always on the lookout for unique ways to display plush animals and dolls. A display dilemma that many retailers face, it is one of the most requested topics during the years I have been writing this blog. The playful simplicity of the Craftholic booth is eye-catching and the circles and stripes actually reflect the patterns on the plush toys.aug2015craftholicnynow2Creating a similar “stripe” wall in a retail setting would not be difficult. Not only does it work well to display multiple sizes of plush animals, it could be used to display clothing, throws, tables linens and would be especially fun for a pillow display.

 

Plush company, sigikid-usa “pulled” the focal point of their booth display all the way from California…

aug2015sigikidusanynowThe owners of sigikid-usa, along with their 5 year old son, left California at the beginning of summer and pulled the branded teardrop trailer all the way to NY for the show, stopping at retailers along the way. I was fortunate to follow their story on behalf of Playthings/Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine and you can click here to read the article about the journey.

 

Before leaving the plush theme, I must mention one of my favorite display ideas spotted at the show. The display cubbies in the Elegant Baby booth were filled with floating products, playfully suspended by thin rope in various configurations. Sometimes the best ideas are so simple, yet create superb results!aug2015elegantbabynynow
Booths may come with a small sign showing the booth number or it may be placed on the floor, but in most cases, vendors are required to provide their own signs. I use the word in plural, as it is important to show brand identity from several angles since you want to catch the eye of attendees coming from either direction.aug2015spitfiregirlnynow The brand name at the Spitfire Girl booth is a great example as it is easy to read and is included in a spot that includes products and a theme that represents the line perfectly.

 

Tinsel Trading had an easy-to-read sign at the NY Now show and an interesting display theme that was practical and functional!aug2015tinseltradingnynow3
aug2015tinseltradingnynow1Most of the booth displays were created from corrugated cardboard.
aug2015tinseltradingnynow2Lightweight, yet surprisingly sturdy, cardboard is easy to work with and provides great texture in visual merchandising, too!
aug2015tinseltradingnynow5

 

Some booth builders and display designers arrive a few days in advance of a show and head straight to thrift stores and Ikea to purchase tables and fixtures and props for trade show booths. Other vendors ship in elaborate booths designed by a corporate team. There is much to be learned from all of these efforts. A key component of an effective booth ambiance is the vibe of the area and how it relates to the product being sold.
Note how the hutch in the Drumming Beetle booth, represents the country feel of the soft fruits and vegetables on display in the baskets. Sometimes you need a large piece to display smaller items.aug2015drummingbeetlenynow

 

Desks become useful display tables, especially when they have several shelves. Sometimes they even have a drawer for brochures and business cards. Also of note in this Kobo Candles booth was the use of relevant props and clear branding. This corner was so inviting.aug2015kobonynow

 

Another of my favorite displays was this tabletop house-shaped installation at the Ore Originals booth.aug2015oreoriginalsnynow

 

At trade shows, just like in a retail setting, you cannot count on overhead lighting to show products at their best.aug2015OlivinaNyNowbooth
The Olivina booth is a lovely example of product lighting done right. The lights are adjustable and extend far enough from the wall to illuminate an entire bank of shelves.aug2015olivinanynow2

 

Before concluding this wrap-up of the booth displays at the Summer NY Now show, I’d like to remind readers to watch for display inspirations in the lobbies of trade shows, too. Many shows have special areas that spotlight new products and featured sections like eco-friendly or fair trade products or products that win awards like Best New Product.
Vendors can opt for space in the lobby to give a preview of new products and lure you to visit their booths inside the show. Easy Tiger used the space to place their signature card vending machine.aug2015easytigernynow2A sucker for renovated vending machines, the lure worked and I visited their booth to see what fun, new products they have, shown here:aug2015easytigernynowI have enjoyed watching Easy Tiger grow over the years and I hope to visit their home office in Kansas City, MO, someday. I hear it is located in an converted chemistry lab which sounds like it is right up my alley! Perhaps I can add it to the next retail roadtrip itinerary.

I hope you are inspired by the posts of some of my favorite displays from the NY Now show. It was a busy summer with seminars, writing assignments and speaking engagements at various gift shows. The highlight of the summer was a retail roadtrip that included dozens of stores in CT, NY and MA. Stay tuned for lots of display ideas found along the way. I invite you to follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too. Those links are in the sidebar of this blog post.

Stay display inspired!