50 Shades of Green……

Retailers appreciate the importance of store environment in enhancing the customer experience within their store.  The outdoor landscape can be an extension of the shop interiors, providing a positive shopping and memorable experience. So with the introduction of plants into a store, this helps softens the merchandise and engages the customer with a sense of calmness.

Retail environments can harness nature’s inherent powers to put people at ease by decorating their space with lush greenery. There is no doubt that colours affect a customer’s mood and green reflects nature, relaxation, health and freedom. We all feel connected with nature and using plants and foliage in our stores brings the outdoors indoors.

Retailers are always looking for any opportunity they can to rival the competition. So by creating a shopping experience that consumers enjoy is paramount to the long-term success of the business. Ensure your retail space is inviting and a place that shoppers feel comfortable. This helps builds loyalty and increases the likelihood of return visits.

So from the stunning “living wall’ at West Elm to the clever use of plants around the store at Anthropologie, to the beautifully created Petersham’s in Covent Garden, to the fabulous exterior of Jo Malone in Sloane Street, London, here is a selection of photographs that create inspiration and help with the story telling of your merchandise.

VM is not always about Fashion!

I started my Visual Merchandising career at Harrods as a Junior and quickly progressed to VM Manager.  The department was then known as Display as oppose to Visual Merchandising. Within the department you were known by your expertise, so you were either a “Fashion” or a “Pots & Pans” person! So basically Fashion or non-fashion.

During my long and established  career, I have worked with many product mediums from Fashion, Food, Interiors, Gifts, Homewares, Beauty, Stationery through to Luxury Brands and Accessories. It is always a delight to work with non-fashion items as you have to use your creative talent to merchandise tables and shelving fixtures. Not forgetting to be artistic when creating a strong focal point which will make the customers stop and say “WOW!

So for those Fashion stylists who think dealing with plates and crockery is boring, here is a selection of photographs that hopefully inspire you to branch out and work with other product mediums. Have fun and be creative!

From the regimented layout of Bloomingdales and Fortnum & Mason through to the mish-mash of Anthropologie, Merci in Paris and the most famous China & Crockery shop in New York, Fishs Eddy.


The use of ladders in window displays.

From the previous blogs, I have published articles about the use of Circles, Bicycles and Chairs. This time, it is the turn of ladders. Even the simplest of props such as a pair of ladders can create theatre in your windows and make the customer look and stare. It creating something quirky, different and eye catching. Give your customer something to remember your window as they walk past. Sadly in retail, VM budgets are getting tighter and we have to make the budget stretch further so this is smart way to bring life into your windows. The use of ladders is fun, quirky and very inexpensive. As you can see from the photographs, ladders have such a variety of uses from displays homewares, low to high end fashion even through to jewellery.  These ladders can be seen at the most icon department stores, fashion houses through to your independent gift shops.


Jet Set Go Travel Windows

As we fast approach the holiday season, many retailers will be focusing on a travel concept for their windows.

Through the power of imagination, your travel concept can whisk your customer away to far flung and exotic destinations. Thats after they have shopped in your store!

With clever use of Signage, Graphics, World Globes and even Ice Cream, this can be fun concept to put together and install. A travel theme can work for so many different types of merchandise from Fashion, to Jewellery to Stationery through to the obvious Suitcases and Travel Bags.

Here is a selection of ideas of push your imagination.

The use of Chairs in Visual Merchandising.

Your windows need to ‘pack and punch’ and make the customer stop and look. As Visual Merchandisers, we all know that this is paramount. In today’s society people’s attention span is shrinking. They are busy walking by your store either chatting to a friend, or too busy on their smart phone to even notice your window display.

So from the past couple of blogs, which used circles and bicycles in visual merchandising, give some thought into the use of chairs. When VM budgets are tight, then once again, this is a ideal solution. Be bold and exciting with the colours and shapes of the chairs. Not only are they a great prop, use them as a hanging prop or dress your merchandise off them. If you are a furniture retailer, then why not hang all the chairs in the window to make an art installation.

Why not continue the theme of chairs within your store by mounting them onto the wall? Use them as garment rails, ideal to show off fashion, but do remember Health & Safety and ensuring that these chairs are fixed correctly to the walls.

Here is a selection of photos, which I hope will give you inspiration.

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The use of bicycles in Visual Merchandising.

Following from last week’s blog about the use of circles in Visual Merchandising, this week’s blog has a slight twist. Still using circles, but this time with the use of bicycles and their wheels. As mentioned last week, circles will always attract the eye, particularly in a square or rectangle shaped window. Circles are a pleasing on the eye and can be used as a “line of sight” to the focal point.

“The essence of props” is the key player in the windows because you can use them to create drama, excitement and retail theatre. Here we see bicycles in a variety of windows from fashion to home and even promoting Christmas decorations at a trade fair.

The props for window schemes do not necessary have to reflect the Brand or promote the Brand. Creating window displays is all about theatre and giving the customer something to remember your store. 

Your window displays can be as valuable for attracting customers as an advert in your local paper or a post on your social media. If you’re located on a busy street or in a pedestrian mall, your windows provide you with an amazing opportunity to attract customers, sell your brand, send a message, entertain, inspire and ultimately sell your product or service.

So if your VM budget is tight, then this inexpensive prop is an ideal solution to creating a window. Here is a selection of ideas using bicycles.

My favourite was the window scheme last year at Fendi with the smart red bicycles. Looked stunning. I wonder where all those red bicycles are now?


The use of Circles in Visual Merchandising.

Your retail window display is one of the most powerful weapons and is the cheapest forms of advertising within your business.

Nowadays the space that has been allocated for window displays is either square or more often rectangle in shape. So why not create a window concept that incorporates either a single circle or a grouping of circles to create interest?

The use of circles will always attract the eye, particularly in a square or rectangle window display and is a great form of “Line of Sight” to the main merchandise. If you have the opportunity in your design, then create attention from the passing customer by installing a turntable/motor so that the circles rotates.

Depending on the design of your window, the main piece(s) of merchandise should be shown within the circle.

Circles can be used for a variety of merchandise from fashion, to perfume to homewares, to jewellery. Don’t forget that circles do not necessary have to be confined to a window display. They can be used in a Pop-Up Fixture on the shop floor or in a Mall to create interest.

The Impact of Colour Blocking.

Colour blocking has been a daring and transformative trend since Piet Mondrian’s early 1900s debut of neoplasticism. In its evolution through the 1960s mod style and Andy Warhol’s classic Pop Art, colour blocking has become most widely known as an artistic tool that utilizes bold and bright colours in many of the store windows.

Today, colour blocking of products in the stores is one of the simplest ways to add visual impact and one of the basics in Visual Merchandising. From shirts, towels, fruit and tins of paint, products can be displayed in a eye-catching and practical way. Here’s a selection of photographs that certainly make an impact with the use of bright bold colours.


Is it time to push your Visual Merchandising Career?

Is it time to push your Visual Merchandising Career? Then join The British Display Society.

Established in 1947 the British Display Society was created to encourage and promote the highest standards of Visual Merchandising, Design & Display. This embraced many different applications – Retail Windows, Point-of-Sale Display, Exhibition & Museum work. Across the years the Society has constantly maintained its professional standing and adapted to changing times within both education and the retail world it seeks to service and enhance.

Former BDS students work throughout the U.K. and indeed throughout the world are now VM Managers, College Lecturers and Consultants, and in my case I am Head of Visual Merchandising.

Members are backed by the Society’s ‘Pathway to Professional Recognition’ through which affixes are awarded to members whose work and achievements. I am proud to say that I am a Fellow Of The British Display Society and have the affix “FBDS” after my name. I am also Director of The British Display Society.

Here’s a selection of photographs. These include the BDS team, to archive photos, to our students work through to current work.

So take a look at our website (www.britishdisplaysociety.co.uk) and see learn more about our courses and membership.