Posts Tagged ‘Display’

Display & Merchandising Ideas From Our Atlanta Showroom – January 2016

February 16, 2016

Now that winter market season is over, it’s time to get ready for spring and summer! As all the products you ordered begin arriving at your store, you might be wondering how on earth you’ll be able to merchandise it all. While it may seem overwhelming to think about, merchandising is so important and not always as complicated as you think.

If you don’t where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This post is filled with tips on how to create attractive displays that are full of personality and give shoppers ideas on how to use products in their own home or garden. Let’s get started!

 

Art Planters

This display of Art Planters and MatMates is one of my favorites and it’s not too complicated to set up. The giant flowers are made from colored garden hoses; that’s what makes this display stand out – it’s clever! I can’t tell you how many people stopped in their tracks when they saw this display. It’s creative, colorful, and eye-catching.

Tip: Flowers aren’t the only shapes you can make – try spelling out a word like “grow” or “plant” with colorful hoses.

Art Planters

HOW TO: You may want to start by drawing your design on the wall so you have a reference when you’re hanging up the hoses. The flowers are hung using hose clamps which were painted with a color close to that of the hose. For the center of the flower, use anything circular and colorful that you might have on hand – get creative! As for the fencing, don’t get hung up on finding the perfect white picket panels – try using chalk to draw fencing onto a dark wall.

This a great example of a well-balanced display with product at all levels – from the floor all the way up to the ceiling. If you don’t want to install any shelves, experiment with hanging Planters from the ceiling or affixing them to the wall. Then make sure you have some up off the floor where they won’t get missed, like we have on our two benches. Pop a few plants into some of your Art Planters, set the coordinating MatMates nearby, and your display is complete!

 

Kaleidoscope

Our new Kaleidoscope outdoor kinetic art makes a show-stopping display. With bright colors and subtle movement to create interest, this is one item shoppers won’t be able to pass up!

Kaleidoscope

HOW TO: Putting together a Kaleidoscope display is so easy. Just choose a wall in your store and plan out where you’ll want each kinetic sculpture, then screw the brackets into the wall. The bracket system makes it easy to swap out sculptures and change things up. Just point a few fans on the Kaleidoscope sculptures and your display will come to life!

Tip: The best way to display Kaleidoscope is on a dark backdrop to help the product pop, and with enough critical mass to show the breadth of the line.

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Merriment

This display of our new Merriment fairy garden line, designed by Mary Engelbreit, was one of the most talked about displays in our showroom. It caught the attention of many passersby and was the star of tons of photos. It wasn’t a piece of cake to put together, but it was so worth it. When you’re merchandising products that are this small, you have to go big with the display.

Merriment Tree-B

HOW TO: Our tree is made from an old round table and a sonotube concrete column form that is covered in artificial bark with accents of real moss to cover the seams. First, cut the sonotube in half and use one piece to cover the table base and secure the other piece on top of the table using L-brackets. Attach the bark and moss using industrial strength hot glue or another type of strong adhesive. After gluing the bark and moss onto the sonotube, wrap it tightly in wire while the glue dries. Once it’s dry, remove the wire and everything should remain in place.

Tip: If the table you’re using has legs that stretch out, make them into tree roots by covering each individually with moss and bark!

To add limbs to your tree, build a frame inside your sonotube with two-by-fours or other pieces of wood so you have a place to secure the limbs. Form the limbs using chicken wire and then cover them in the same moss and artificial bark used for the tree trunk.

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Use the tabletop as your mini garden planting space and create a magical world around your tree. If you’d rather not plant one big garden, you could plant a bunch of container gardens. Just set them on your tabletop and use moss to cover any parts of the table that peek through. Trim the table edge with some pretty fabric, more bark, or moss. Finish it off by hanging wood slices from the tree limbs and set up a little scene on each one. You may want to hot glue the products to the wood slices so they don’t fall down or go missing.

Merriment-D

There are a few different ways to create the top of your tree. In one of our showrooms, we used the top of a large artificial tree, but in our other showrooms we made treetops out of grapevine wreaths, fake leaves, and artificial foliage to create the illusion of a treetop. Have fun with it and get creative!

Merchandising can be a little daunting, but once you have an idea to work from it’s easy to let the creativity flow and see what works in your store. Before you know it, you’ll have a beautifully put together display that shoppers won’t be able to stop staring at. I hope these tips and ideas will be helpful as you get your shop ready for spring.

Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about our displays or want to share ideas of your own!

Retailers can login and shop our lines now at http://www.studio-m.com

Display Resources
Many people asked where we bought some of the resources for our displays, so I have included the info below!

Bulk Styrofoam (great for filling Art Planters and tons of other uses!)
Dallas Design Supply
http://www.dallasdesignsupply.com
2000 N Stemmons Fwy
Dallas, TX 75207
214-757-7715

Artificial Bark 
Autograph Foliages
http://www.autographfoliages.com
3631 Perkins Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
Office: 1-800-659-6151
Dallas Market Showroom: 214-752-7574

Mood Moss
Moss-4-U
http://www.moss4u.com
1492 Keyway Rd
Engelwood, FL 34223
941-662-5695

Atlanta Market January 2015 Displays

March 2, 2015

One of my favorite parts about market is getting to see all of the amazing displays. It’s so much fun to come up with creative ways to show our products. Hopefully we were able to give those who saw our showroom a few helpful merchandising ideas. For all of those who didn’t see our displays – this post is for you!

We Didn’t Reinvent the Wheel, We Just Painted It.

Frolic is our brand new collection designed by artist Lynn Morris. We are thrilled with the way this display turned out, and so were all of our showroom visitors! It got quite a bit of attention, and many people wondered how they could recreate this display in their own store. So, I included some tips below from our merchandising experts!

Frolic Display

The thing about this display that really turned heads was the creative, unexpected use of tires. The bold colors and festive polka dots were definitely a hit. If you want to create a tire display in your own store, ask around at local garage or tire center – often they have old tires they’re trying to get rid of, so you can offer to take some off their hands. Most likely they’ll be happy to give you the tires for free – otherwise the garage has to pay a fee to dispose of them.

Do It Yourself…

First, coat the tires with Kilz primer/sealer/stainblocker spray – you can find it at your local hardware store. This will prevent the road oil from leaching out of the tires, giving you more clean, even base to work with. After the Kilz dries, choose some colors and paint your tires. You can use spray paint or a can & brush – either way will work. Once your paint dries you can add polka dots, stripes, zig-zags… get creative! Fill the tires with a thick base of craft styrofoam so that you have something to poke your yard stakes into. For a finished look, you’ll want to hot-glue moss to the foam to cover it up. Add in some plants (live or fake) and voila!

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You could also make a fun display by hanging your painted tires on a wall. We created a peace-themed display and then planted mini gardens inside the tires we hung. It was a great way to make a big statement and call attention to our smaller items.

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Seeing Double

One of the most fun ways to create a display is to base it off of a particular product. We chose one of our best-selling designs (Geraniums by the Dozen) and brought it to life in our showroom. It was such a great attention grabber for shoppers – it’s fun and unexpected to see a flat piece of artwork become a 3-dimensional display.

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Wood, White, & Blue

Our homemade American flag was definitely a hit. Some old wooden fencing, paint, and wooden stars made this the perfect centerpiece for our patriotic-themed display. Americana/patriotic displays are a must for summer. It’s so easy to pull these items together, and the celebratory red, white, and blue make it a display shoppers can’t pass up!

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An Absorbing Display

Art Coasters are one of the most fun things to play with for displays. They’re versatile, colorful, and sometimes witty! We built a bar and lined its edges with coasters so that visitors could get a sense of all the different themes we have to offer. By breaking some of the coasters out of their packaging, we were able to create an eye-catching display that showed off the product well and really drew people in.

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Pots You Can’t Pass Up

Our Art Pots are brand new this year, and we couldn’t be more excited about them! This display was perfect for showing off each of the 41 different designs we have. The tiers were great for creating an interesting display that drew the eye all the way from floor to ceiling.

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We merchandised some of the pots with plants, but wanted to show that they can also be used as containers or little gift baskets for occasions like Mother’s Day, housewarming, a “get well” gift, a present for a teacher, etc. These Art Pots are the perfect price point for a unique and thoughtful gift-to-go!

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The standing round display and the hanging display that we built for our showroom in The Gardens were perfect for shopping these pots. Customers could easily walk all the way around and see every pot at a glance, and the natural wood didn’t compete with the bright colors of the Art Pots. If you want to create these displays in your own store, get some old lumber or pallet wood, trim it into the shape you’d like, and put the boards together using screws, nails, or wood glue. We ran a pipe up the middle of the round display and used pipefittings to keep each shelf in place. The hanging display was suspended from the ceiling with rope.

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A Few Not-So-Mini Gardens

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to show a few pictures of the Gypsy Garden displays. Our display & merchandising team did an absolutely amazing job with these gardens. The life-size slide (below) definitely caught a lot of attention. It was bright, colorful, and, most importantly, it was unique. Displays that have this kind of “wow” factor can generate a lot of traffic for your store, so always be thinking of ways you can implement unique merchandising ideas!

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For our coastal-themed mini garden items, we used color to make an attractive, cohesive display. We incorporated a lot of bright oranges and blues by bringing in some of our Art Planters, Art Pots, and Art Poles, and by painting the bases of the display.

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Another popular display was our farm garden – complete with a wheelbarrow, seed packets, and hay bales. These Gypsy Garden items in particular speak to both the farm-to-table and buy local movements, which have been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years, so we really wanted to highlight this theme. Pulling in related products like the Buy Local Yard DeSign and Earth to Table Art Pole Garden by Stephanie Burgess really helped to complete the story.

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If you’re looking for a great way to display our Gypsy Garden products in your store, check out our new Gypsy Caravan display. It’s a simple way to make a big statement, and with everything all in one place, it’s really easy for customers to shop. The gift bags offer an easy way for shoppers to create a special gift-to-go for a birthday, get well wish, mother’s day, or “just because.” The display also comes with the 15″ Bloom Burst Art Planter, which is perfect for showing an example of a planted mini garden. Putting the items into a real mini garden will help tell the story of mini gardening to customers who may be unfamiliar with the concept.

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That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed getting a peek at our showroom and that you are inspired to create unique displays in your own store! For more pictures of creative displays, Like us on Facebook and check out our photo albums in the “Photos” tab!

Retail Merchandising & Display Tips – Atlanta Market July 2014

July 23, 2014

If you didn’t make it to our showroom at AmericasMart in Atlanta this July, we’ve got all the highlights for you right here. Our visual merchandising team did a fantastic job once again. The showroom looked phenomenal and shoppers were stopping in their tracks to ooh and aah over the eye-catching displays. Our team let me in on some of their secrets for creating these masterpieces, and I can’t wait to share them with you! So, without further ado…

To jump to Gypsy Garden displays, click here.
To jump to Art Pole displays, click here.
To jump to Art Coaster displays, click here.


Gypsy Garden – Mossed Couch

Gypsy Garden Moss Couch

Yep! That’s real, live moss. Spritzed with water each night to keep it looking fresh. This couch-turned-mini-garden was definitely a showstopper. A not-so-mini miniature garden planted on a couch covered in moss is certainly not something you see everyday. When you’re putting together your own displays, keep an eye out for one-of-a-kind pieces like this couch. Items like this create interest and draw shoppers in to see what you have to offer.

This couch didn’t always have the appeal that it had in our showroom. Let’s just say it had been through a lot when we found it… but our merchandising team saw its potential and was able to use it to create something beautiful. With a fresh coat of paint, lots of moss and hot glue, and a little planting help from our friends at Batson’s, this couch took on a whole new life. You know what they say… one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Gypsy Garden Moss Couch 2

The mini garden appears to be planted directly in the couch, but to give ourselves a little more flexibility and extend the life of our garden, we planted in plastic under-the-bed storage containers. This way, we can easily move the containers and use them in another display if necessary. You could use any size container to do something like this – when you’re finished planting, just hot-glue some moss onto the edges, and voilà!

 

Gypsy Garden – Snowmen

Gypsy Garden Snowman

The Gypsy Garden snowmen displays were another huge hit. Mini garden items are small and could be easily missed by shoppers. This is a great way to make a big statement and really draw some attention to these tiny pieces.

Gypsy Garden Snowman 2

To recreate this display start by finding a few bubble bowl vases in different sizes (you could also use fish bowls). Create mini gardens in the largest two vases – lay some floral foam on the bottom (so you have something to stick your pick items in), cover it with fake snow, add in some moss, tiny evergreen trees, and mini garden items. You may want to use fake plants for these gardens to avoid the condensation that would occur if you had to water any real plants. The smallest vase can be filled with virtually anything white that you have laying around. We used white packing peanuts, but you could also use cotton balls, marshmallows, etc.

Gypsy Garden Snowman 3

Next step – accessorize! Get out your hot glue gun and give that snowman a classic, cheerful face and some other accessories like a hat or scarf. We used charcoal for his eyes, flat black vase gems for his mouth and (we steered clear of any potential rotting noses here…) a rubber costume carrot nose to complete the look.

Last, but certainly not least, build your product display around the snowman. To create a festive look, paint a few differently-sized terra cotta pots red, green, white, gold, etc. We finished by laying down some polyester pillow stuffing to create a snowy landscape on the display table. This holiday display will make your product pop right off the shelf and inspire your customers to get creative with their own mini gardens!

 

Gypsy Garden – Lemonade Stand

Gypsy Garden Lemonade Stand

Our lemonade stand display was perhaps the most refreshing one in our showrooms :) Its bright yellow color made it hard to miss and the theme was carried out very well – from the lemons strung under the sign to the mini garden planted in a beverage dispenser. Our visual merchandising team really nailed this one. I loved the idea of building a life-size version of one of our mini Gypsy Garden items and turning it into a display. So creative!

Gypsy Garden Lemonade Stand 2

We used plywood and printed vinyl to build this lemonade stand, but you could recreate this look in your store using something as simple as cardboard and paint. (Plywood is more sturdy and might last longer, but cardboard would do for a short term display.) Using a table you already have, cut pieces of cardboard to fit around it like a lemonade stand and paint on the stripes. You could build the “Lemonade” sign out of cardboard too, just make sure you reinforce it well enough so that it stands up straight.

String some fake lemons under the sign with a piece of twine, paint a few terra cotta pots with bright, whimsical colors, and your lemonade stand display will be complete! If you want to create a display with a different theme, choose another Gypsy Garden piece to base your structure on. Get creative and do what works best for your store!

 


Art Poles – Painted Peace Collection

Art Poles Painted Peace

Art Poles and Peace Poles make a bold statement when they stand alone, but create a much larger impact when there are many shown together. Their brightly colored artwork and varying heights make for a beautiful display that cannot be ignored by shoppers. By pulling together your entire offering of a certain product type, it makes it a lot easier for customers to see what their options are, and an easier shopping experience is definitely a plus.

 

Art Poles – Dog & Cat Memorial Poles

Pet Memorial Art Poles

Another one of my favorite Art Pole displays was the one featuring our new Dog and Cat Memorial Art Poles. These poles are the perfect gift for someone who has lost a beloved pet. To pay homage to the dogs and cats we have lost, we got a variety of simple, wooden frames from the local craft store and placed them over pictures of our pets that have passed on. This gave our display a special, sentimental quality that supported the message of the Memorial Art Poles.

 

Art Poles – Birding Display

Birdhouses and Birdhouse Art Poles

Another great way to approach a display is to base it on a theme or hobby – like birding! Our team did a great job with this display, bringing in elements like the metal tree branch and bird, a bird-watching guide book, tree stumps, and birdseed. These subtle props don’t take any attention away from the Birdhouses and Birdhouse Art Poles, and they help to make the products feel like they’re in an outdoor setting. I love the way the “Love to Garden” MatMate is framed in weathered wood. It got a lot more attention hung on the wall than it would’ve if it were laying on the ground, and it’s a great way to cross-merchandise coordinating products.

 


Art Coasters – Bar

Art Coasters Bar

Pull up a stool and let me pour you a drink! This bar-themed display looks like a good time just waiting to happen. Our visual merchandising team did a lot of crafting to make this display look its best, and they showed that there are more ways to use our Art Coasters than just as condensation catchers :) The letters that spell out “ART COASTERS” are made of… you guessed it, Art Coasters! They draw attention to the product, quickly communicate what’s on display, and showcase many of the different bar-themed coaster decks that we offer. This theme also communicates to shoppers that these coasters are the perfect party item – whether you’re hosting the soiree, or you’re attending and are in need of a hostess gift.

Keep in mind that you could tailor this idea to fit any themed display, and use the coasters to create a word that communicates it best. With over 120 decks in a variety of themes like floral, coastal, sports, holiday, etc. you’ll find just what you need to create the perfect display.

 

Art Coasters – Holiday

Art Coasters Holiday

Art Coasters are ultra-giftable. With such a wide variety of themes, there really is something for everyone. Shoppers will start looking through the display and see one deck after another that makes them think of friends and family members. It’s the kind of gift item that doesn’t necessarily need an occasion – it’s a “just because” present. So why not communicate this with customers via your display? Our display happens to be holiday themed, but yours doesn’t have to be. Just  drop a coaster deck into one of our white or black holders and tie a piece of ribbon around it. Customers will see the bows and instantly think, “gift idea!” without you or one of your employees having to suggest it to them.

Hopefully these photos gave you some inspiration to create beautiful, unique displays in your own store! Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out our Facebook page for more display ideas and pictures from our showrooms. Let us know in the comments which displays were your favorites!

Retail Display and Merchandising Tips

April 7, 2014

Our Fall/Winter 2014 catalog is now shipping! This book is chock-full of easy, affordable merchandising ideas that will intrigue and interest your customers. Read on to see some photos from this catalog that will help you get display-inspired, but get creative and cater these ideas to fit your store. As a specialty retailer, you have something to offer customers that they can’t find anywhere else, so show it off in a way that no one else does!

 

Don’t be intimidated by creating a display – it can be a lot of fun if you have everything you need and a plan to make it happen. Before you jump into setting up a display, take time to think about props you have that you may want to use and/or materials you may need to buy. If you’re organized, set up will be quick and easy! Some essentials we used were: twine/rope, raffia, dowel rods, clothespins, seasonal decor items, and lots of plants.

A display doesn’t have to take hours to put together to be effective. Keep it simple and it will be easier for customers to shop – like this BreezeArt garden flag display we put together using an old ladder, rope, dowel rods, and twine. This is a great way to show off a variety of designs, and you can easily freshen up the display by switching out the flags!

Flags over ladder

Items Pictured: 31043, 31013, 31073, 31029, 31016, 31056, 31037, 31031

Another easy way to set up a display is to show how different products that you carry coordinate. Telling the whole story makes it easy for shoppers to see how the items fit together in a collection and will likely increase sales. We really made a statement with this collection by Susan Winget – and we even added some DrinkBlots art coasters to the display! [We used straight pins to secure coasters around a styrofoam circle to make this DrinkBlots wreath… it was so easy!]

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Items Pictured: 91010, 01010, 31010, 11010, 71010, and DB11375

Make shopping a breeze for your customers by providing a variety of “gift-to-go” options. In the display pictured below, we pulled related products together to create an ultra-giftable item. For example, we rolled up our “Kitchen Rules” MatMate and tied it together with a wooden spoon and measuring cups – a perfect housewarming present or gift for someone who loves to cook! We used our “Love to Garden” MatMate to create a gift for a gardener, complete with a hand trowel, gloves, and seed packet. Our “Wine” MatMate makes for a perfect hostess gift when paired with a corkscrew and a bottle of wine. Whichever MatMate you choose to roll up as a gift-to-go, make sure you show it flat as well, so shoppers can see the entire design.

Gift 2 Go

Items Pictured: 12085D, 12061D, 12088D, 15016D, 11064D, 12073D

A great way to get your customers’ attention is to show off products in an unexpected way. We used MatMates and BreezeArt flags to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind table setting. This was so much fun to play with! Since we were shooting at a nursery/greenhouse (Bowood Farms), we created a rustic-themed setting with a garden twist. We wanted to reflect the store’s personality and use items they sell instead of setting the table with traditional dishes, placemats, etc. Clay saucers stood in as dinner and salad plates, MatMates became placemats, and air plants made the perfect garnish. We accented the table with natural items like pinecones, succulents, and tree slices. To give the display some height, we rolled up MatMates to place on the windows that hung above the table.  This unconventional display is sure to interest customers and is a fun way for them to shop for items that would otherwise be hanging on a rack!

Give Thanks Table

Items Pictured: 11068D, 11033, 11005, 31026, 90400, 31059M

Give Thanks Tight V1

Items Pictured: 31026, 90400, 31059M, 11033

Window displays are the perfect place to show off the unique products you offer in your store. The one we put together was so simple – we  just hung two long pieces of rope behind the window and clipped on our “Fall Follies” monogram flags with clothespins! To complete the display, we flew our “Maize” standard flag and filled the bench in front of the store window with other products offered inside, like garden tools, MatMates, and succulents.

Give Thanks Window

Items Pictured: 91020, 91003, 31059, 11068D, 11033, 11005

With our Halloween window display, we chose one standard flag as the centerpiece and hung smaller garden flags to complement it. To make a ghost, we blew up a white balloon and covered it with a white drop cloth, cinching the fabric at the base of the balloon to create the “neck.” This could also easily be done with a white sheet or any other white fabric you might have laying around. To finish, we added some color to the base of the window display with faux leaves and pumpkins.

Hall Window With Ghost

Items Pictured: 31005, 31046, 31044, 91055, 31045, 31036, 31027

Last, but certainly not least, we created an Open House display. If you do not usually have an Open House at your store, you may want to consider it! Hosting an event like this is a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with existing customers and create relationships with newcomers, not to mention it’s a great way to boost sales! Invite customers to enjoy a day (or night!) of fun games, yummy treats, live music… do whatever works best for your store. Get connected with shoppers by setting out a guestbook where they can signup to receive emails and promotions from you. Be sure to offer special discounts and deals to those who attend! For this display we set up a hot chocolate, cupcake, and candy bar complete with a winter themed mini garden in a large glass container. Our “Letters From Santa” monogram flags added a nice touch of color to the front of the table and were a great way to tie in the coordinating MatMate on the tabletop. This welcoming setup is a fun way to show off products while customers snack on delicious sweets!

Open House

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Open House Tight

Items Pictured: 31038, 90400, 11058

I hope these photos and merchandising tips were a source of inspiration and will help you set up creative displays of your own! Thanks for reading!

Have any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Which one of our displays did you like the best? Let us know in the comments!

4 Tips for Creating More Attractive Retail Displays

August 15, 2013

Chalk Sign

Need a little in-store display inspiration?

Discover 4 tips that will keep your displays fresh, eye-catching, and most importantly, attractive to customers. I’ve peppered in a few photos from our showroom at the July 2013 Atlanta Market because, as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words!

1. Have a Theme & Create the Unexpected
Product that is scattered about haphazardly isn’t going to get much attention from customers. Develop a basic layout before you start merchandising. The plan doesn’t have to be very detailed, just make sure you have a general vision for your display and make a list of anything you will need to make it happen.

You might choose to display product by color, product type, function, etc. Each of these options has its specific benefits, but make sure whichever theme you pick is obvious to shoppers.

Another way to display products is in a way that gives people an idea of how they might use the items in their own home. One way our showroom stylists, Debi and Colleen, accomplished this was by incorporating things like a dog leash, umbrella, books, baseball gloves, etc. into our Painted Peace display. These details were an integral part of the display’s overall appeal.

Painted Peace display

It’s all in the details! The props added to the Painted Peace display gave it a homey feel.. almost as if it’s a mudroom!

Surprise your customers by using unique, eye-catching props, but be careful not to over do it! If your product starts to get lost and cannot be easily distinguished, you have too many props cluttering the display. Stop shoppers in their tracks by creating something unexpected – like a miniature garden planted in an old suitcase, a vintage hat, or even on top of an antique sled like we did with our Winter Gypsy Garden items!

Gypsy Garden Winter sled display

Gypsy Garden Winter items made their debut in style on this antique sled!

Two great ways to get customers’ attention are with a whisper or with a shout. Highlight one product with a “whisper” by setting it apart or spotlighting it, much like a jewler would do with a diamond necklace. Showing just a single necklace in a glass box with a dark backdrop makes the item seem special, and you can bet customers are intruiged. A “shout,” such as a full display with bold colors and lots of product, is another way to draw customers in and raise top-of-mind awareness about a product. People can’t help but notice a display like the one pictured below, an image shared on Retail Details’ Pinterest page.

Retail Details Pinterest Storefront Display

This full, brightly colored window display is sure to turn some heads!

Whether you “whisper” or “shout,” commit to it; anything in between runs the risk of being overlooked by customers.

2. Focal Point
Creating a display is an opportunity for you to tell a story and show customers how a variety of products coordinate. But it is critical that you choose one item as a focal point and then build your display around it using complementary items. Without a main focus, the display may seem too busy and will be less effective in attracting customers. A clear focal point will catch shoppers’ attention right away and create interest in the display as a whole.

In the Sanctuary display pictured below, the eye is immediately drawn to the pillows in the center. Their pop of color is what shoppers see first and then the whole scene is taken in. The porch-like display created around the pillows makes it easy for customers to see how the featured items could work together in their home or garden. By doing this in your store, you’ll see greater returns, and your customers will leave feeling inspired to bring the look home.

Sanctuary display

The pillows in the center of this Sanctuary display make an ideal focal point.

Make sure your displays are not jam-packed, so shoppers can process the scene quickly and easily. Cluttered spaces can cause customers to leave a store altogether because they feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or unsure how to navigate the environment.

In our Atlanta showroom, we made sure not to crowd our Art Poles. It is important for shoppers to be able to see each item individually, as well as how all the pieces fit together in the collection.

Painted Peace Art Pole Display

Be careful not to clutter your displays. Give customers enough room to shop comfortably!

3. Lighting
The right lighting helps products look their best and attracts customers to the display. Avoid lighting products only from above, as this can cause shadows that make items seem distorted and unattractive. Illuminating displays from multiple angles will really show your products in their best light ;)

A few displays in our showroom that were particularly well lit were DrinkBlots, Expressions, and Bloom. I especially loved the vintage Edison bulbs that Debi and Colleen used in our DrinkBlots display!

DrinkBlots, Expressions, Bloom displays

Thanks to Mike for working so hard to adjust all the lighting in our showroom! From left to right: DrinkBlots, Expressions, & Bloom displays

Not only does the DrinkBlots display stand out because of its unique lighting, it is also a perfect example of Tip 1 – Create the Unexpected. People wouldn’t ordinarily think to cover a ceiling or table with a collage of coasters, but this display enabled customers to see DrinkBlots in a whole new light…not just as coasters but as pieces of art that can bring color and life to any space!

4. Keep it Fresh
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to change it up! Customers tend to pass up tired, been-there-done-that displays.

Don’t feel like you need to buy new props for every season; that can be expensive and overwhelming. Instead, think of ways to transform what you already have. You’ll be amazed at the way items take on a whole new look!

Debi brought her beautiful chandelier into our showroom for the January 2013 debut of Studio M. It was such a hit, we had to use it again for July Market! As you can see in the side-by-side photographs, the chandelier went from “boho” to “BOO!” with some simple changes to its surroundings.

Gypsy Garden Jan/July 2013 side-by-side

This beautiful chandelier is a versatile statement piece that takes on a whole new look each season.

Keeping it fresh also means keeping it clean. Take a look at your store entrance, cash wrap, and any other parts of your store where customers will form their first impressions. Put your best foot forward. If the first thing shoppers see in your entryway is drooping flowers or chipped paint, freshen it up! Show shoppers that you are organized – de-clutter your cash wrap by getting rid of all the post-it note reminders and loose paperwork.

As product sells through, find a new spot for it in your store. Displays that look empty and picked over aren’t doing much to help sell the remaining product. No one wants to purchase items that are dusty or have packaging that has been crumpled or torn. Often, manufacturers’ customer service departments can provide you with replacement packaging if you ask for it. Mix the freshly packaged items into existing displays to give new life to both the product and the display itself.

Handmade Open Sign

Celebrate being an independent retailer! [Source]

Adding some of your own personality and creative spirit to your displays and keeping your store sparkling clean goes above and beyond shoppers’ expectations. Drive it home by providing a level of genuine service that shows customers how much you care about them and appreciate their business. These attributes add immeasurable value to your store and will keep shoppers coming back for the unique, personal experience they can only get from you – a specialty retailer!

What’s your approach to setting up a display in your store? What advice would you give to a fellow specialty retailer? Add your two cents in the comments below.

DrinkBlots – Made in St. Louis, USA

February 26, 2013

DrinkBlots are shipping!

Never heard of DrinkBlots? You’ve come to the right place!

Or maybe you have heard of DrinkBlots, think they’re as awesome as we do, and are counting down the days until your order arrives. It won’t be long now!

In the meantime, take a look at how DrinkBlots went from just an idea in a brainstorming session to a super cool finished product. :)

These are DrinkBlots.

These are DrinkBlots!

At a glance, they’re art coasters. Beautiful, super-absorbent paper coasters that come in convenient, notepad-inspired packaging.

Sure, it’s a kick-butt product ;). But to all of us at Magnet Works, it’s much, much more than that. It’s more like a newborn baby! To help explain what I mean, I’ll take you step-by-step through the process of bringing DrinkBlots to market, and introduce you to all the people who made it happen.

It all started with great art – thanks to Sue (our art director, president, and a co-owner) and Anne (our director of product development). Sue and Anne scour the earth, seeking the best artwork by the best artists. As you may already know, they’re quite good at it! Sue has been art-hunting for our legacy products for over 24 years!!

Sue (my mom ;) reviewing artwork for DrinkBlots in the conference room, while holding her very first grandbaby, who was born in July...right after DrinkBlots!

Sue (my mom ;) reviewing artwork for DrinkBlots in the conference room, while holding her very first grandbaby, who was born in July…right after DrinkBlots!

With so much beautiful art around, coasters seemed like a great fit as a new product for our company. We wanted to contribute something new and remarkable to the category. We didn’t want to make “just another coaster.” We brainstormed for hours and hours, led by Curt (Magnet Works co-owner and CEO), who ultimately came up with the DrinkBlots concept.

Curt at the Cloud

Curt (my dad ;) leading a brainstorm session at “the Cloud”, his home away from home.

With the idea formed, we worked with 24 artists to create a wide array of designs that range from quirky to classic. Each artist’s coaster deck contains 24 unique designs, so no two coasters in the deck are the same! 24 different artists x 24 different designs = WHOA, that’s a lot of art!

So then it was time for our graphic design team (Cathy, Amy, and Christine) to see some DrinkBlots action. They worked hard adapting each artist’s designs to make sure they look their best on our DrinkBlots coasters.

Cathy, Amy, and Christine - graphic designers in the art department.

Cathy(top left), Amy (right), and Christine – graphic designers in the art department.

Then we move to the production. Amy creates the production files of the product to be printed.

DrinkBlots Production Image

A sample production file featuring artist Stephanie Burgess’s coasters.

Amy passes the production files to Jeremy, who preps the absorbent paper, lines it up on the press, and runs the printing process.

IMG_5550

Jeremy, our digital printing wiz.

Then Jeremy carts a stack of the printed coaster paper over to his dad, Jerry, for die-cutting.

Jerry, who has worked with us since 1988, is die-cutting the DrinkBlots into the coaster shape.

Jerry, who has worked with Magnet Works since the company began, is die-cutting the DrinkBlots into the coaster shape.

Jerry runs the stack of printed coaster paper through the die-cutter, peels off the trim, and stacks up the decks of DrinkBlots.

Jerry Die-Cutting 2

Jerry removes the excess trim around the die-cut coaster paper.

Then it goes to assembly for the DrinkBlots packaging to be applied…the last step before it’s a finished product!

Peggy Assembling DrinkBlots

Peggy in the assembly department applies the packaging stickers to the DrinkBlots deck.

Once we have the finished product, it’s time for a little marketing! That starts with spreading the word and telling the story – through photography, copy writing, advertising, press releases, social media, email, and more!

DrinkBlots photoshoot

Here are some of the members of the photography team. They’re totally in the zone as they work on the beautiful shot that you see at the top of this post. Thanks to Rob Grimm Photography for doing such an amazing job!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the production team continues to make product for inventory while the warehouse team (led by Kris) creates storage space and finds a way to keep things organized for order picking.

Warehouse Team

Jason, Mike, and Kris (left to right) prepping the warehouse for all the new Studio M inventory.

As market season fast approaches, Debbie Baker, Tammy, and Colleen beautify our showroom space and display windows, to help customers see just how incredible DrinkBlots really are.

DrinkBlots Display

Tammy, Deb, and Colleen did an amazing job with this display at our showroom in The Gardens, Americasmart Atlanta. In fact, they won several awards this past show for having such outstanding displays!

Our DrinkBlots window display at Americasmart Atlanta.

Our DrinkBlots window display at the Atlanta market.

FINALLY, we start writing orders!

The effort is led by Debbie Glud (our national sales manager) and our team of over 100 sales reps from various agencies across the country. The first orders were written at the Atlanta Market, but now they’re being written “on the road” all over the country.

When the orders come through, customer service (Ann, Nancy, Maureen, and Julie) dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, sorting everything out to make sure our customers are well taken care of.

Maureen in customer care...taking care of a customer

Maureen in customer care…taking care of a customer :)

If an order comes from a new store, Connie pulls together all the necessary information to get them set up in our system.

When the order is ready to go, our shoppers compile all the necessary products and prepare them to be shipped.

Shopping DrinkBlots

Leslie and Jason pulling the first ever DrinkBlots order from inventory to be shipped out.

DrinkBlots

Last, but certainly not least, DrinkBlots are boxed up with care by our shipping department and sent out to our retailers.

Shipping DrinkBlots

Sherry packing up DrinkBlots with care.

We couldn’t be more excited to be expanding our manufacturing repertoire and creating more jobs here in St. Louis, USA!

Thank you to all who had a hand in making it possible – including our raw materials suppliers, UPS shipping, and, of course, all of our wonderful, independent retailers! We know you (and your customers!) will love DrinkBlots just as much as we do. :)

Like I said, DrinkBlots are shipping! So if you’d like to place an order or get more product information, please visit our website, contact your local rep, or give our customer service department a call at (800) 886-3121. Meanwhile, let us know what you think of the whole process in the comments!

Studio M – Atlanta Market Debut

February 2, 2013

Studio M has officially launched!

Wow….what a whirlwind!

The official debut took place at the Atlanta market, and it was an amazing success.

Studio M got an overwhelming response at the show, from retailers all over the country. We were slammed in the showroom writing orders all week! AND best of all, retailers were leaving our showroom feeling excited and inspired by the products and displays they saw. Mission accomplished. :)

In case you missed us in Atlanta, here’s a glimpse at our showroom in The Gardens:

Gypsy Garden Display 1

Cool chandelier…very gypsy!

 

Gypsy Garden 2

One of our Studio M chalkboards with a DrinkBlots coaster and Batson’s Ittie Bitties info card!

 

Gypsy Garden 3

Mini garden in a suitcase.. so cool.

 

Gypsy Garden 4

Our main display of mini gardens looked great, especially with Batson’s Ittie Bitties plants!

 

Gypsy Garden 5

Love how the bridge connects the two mini gardens!

 

Gypsy Garden 6

Thanks to all the hard work by Tammy, Colleen, and Debbie Baker we received the Showroom Manager Choice Award for Outstanding Visual Display! What an honor!

 

Gypsy Garden 7

Up close & personal with the wagon garden :)

 

Gypsy Garden 8

A few of the Gypsy Garden gazebos.. just hangin’ out ;)

 

Gypsy Garden 9

One of the most popular displays.. a broken pot garden!

 

Gypsy Garden 10

One way to use our Gypsy Garden display piece (top) for a retail display.

 

Gypsy Garden 11

Gypsy Garden displays in our Link2Sales showroom. The barrel bottoms on the left are awesome!

 

ATL Jan 2013-1

Anne, Curt, and Sue take a much needed break during such a busy show!

 

Painted Peace 1

Awesome chalk art backdrop for our Art Poles designed by Stephanie Burgess.

 

Painted Peace 2

The artist herself! Stephanie Burgess works on another beautiful piece.

 

Painted Peace 3

Writing an order for Painted Peace items!

 

Painted Peace 4

Everybody wanted to take a look at the Painted Peace line!

 

Painted Peace 5

Magnetic address tiles for our Painted Peace Address Poles.

 

Bloom 1

Some market-goers check out the Bloom line by Jennifer Brinley.

 

Bloom 2

So bright and colorful!

 

Bloom 3

Ready for spring!!

 

Bloom 4

Ha! Those planted rain boots are great!

 

Sanctuary 1

Susan Winget’s Sanctuary collection for Studio M.

 

Sanctuary 2

Cool antique details in this display.

 

Sanctuary 3

This moss covered birdbath created by Tammy, Debbie Baker, and Colleen was quite the hit at the show!

 

Sanctuary 4

Some of our Sanctuary birdfeeders.

 

Core 1

Fresh designs for our core products!

 

Core 2

Pets Unleashed line! Good stuff.

 

Core 3

Bring on the spring designs!

 

 

In addition to the exciting new products and fun displays, we also had a bunch of events going on in the showroom featuring our Studio M artists:

Susan Winget Artist Signing

Susan Winget, the artist behind our new Sanctuary collection, signing DrinkBlots art coasters, featuring her Sanctuary artwork.

Jennifer Brinley Artist Signing

Jennifer Brinley, the artist behind our new Bloom collection, signing her Bloom garden flag for our customers in The Gardens.

Stephanie Burgess Art Demonstration

Stephanie Burgess, the artist behind our new Painted Peace collection, was in our showroom demonstrating her technique for customers as they shopped.

Thank you SOOOO much to all of the retailers, artists, reps, and more who came by the showroom and made the launch of Studio M a success and such a wonderful experience!

Did you see Studio M’s debut at market this winter? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!

How a Rep Can Help a Retailer

June 14, 2012

It’s sometimes funny how, even though I work for a gift vendor in the gift industry, I still can’t avoid shopping for birthday gifts at the last minute.

Recently, I visited a favorite retailer of mine to get a last-minute gift when I literally tripped over a local sales rep. She was down on the floor with product spread all over as she was straightening out a display and helping the retailer check inventory for a reorder.

“Hi there,” she said to me. “What are you looking for? I’m actually a sales rep here, but maybe I can help you.

Retail StoreWow! Sometimes it takes literally tripping over them to realize just how much reps can do for retailers.

But I’ll save you the “trip” and share 5 of the ways that reps can help retailers on a regular basis:

1.)  Inventory Management: A sales rep’s success depends on your success, so it’s in their best interest to make sure you’re stocking the items that will sell. When you sell out of an item it’s hard to remember to reorder it – it’s out of sight out of mind. What product has become a top seller? What haven’t you even tried yet?  Take advantage of your rep’s expertise – ask them to help you identify what is missing from your product offering and what items you should add to your next reorder.

2.)  Customer Service: On a busy retail day, your sales rep is always an extra greeter for your customers. They also have a lot of product knowledge they can share with you and your customer.

3.)  Display/Merchandising: Reps have learned some great tricks from other retailers when it comes to displays. They know how to catch a customer’s attention. Next time you’re planning to update a window or product display, reach out to your local reps and pick their brains for creative ideas.

4.)  Trending up or trending down?  Sales reps can help be your eyes and ears to the retail world outside your doors.  They can help you identify which items are “hot” and which are NOT. Ask for their thoughts!

5.)  Specials? Sales? What’s New?  Always ask your reps about specials that are going on or that may be coming up. They’re a great resource for this information and can offer suggestions when your next buying season rolls around.

If you’re a retailer, your reps can be an invaluable resource. Don’t hesitate to contact them and ask for help next time you need it.

How do you feel a rep can best support you as a retailer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Yard DeSign + Flowers = Irresistible Mother’s Day Gift

April 25, 2012

Want to offer your customers an irresistible Mother’s Day gift?

Try combining floral themed Yard DeSigns or BreezeArt garden flags with a healthy bunch of Mother’s Day flowers. It’s a simple way to take these products and any potted flowers to the next level.

Yard DeSign with coordinating flowers

To create this easy promotion, all you need is:

Yard DeSign and BreezeArt garden flag with cello wrap and ribbon

For retailers who sell flowers, this project should be a breeze. But if you don’t sell flowers, consider partnering up with a local garden center or flower shop to purchase and sell coordinating potted flowers for Mother’s Day.

Make it easier for everyone.

Set up a space where you can customize your Yard DeSigns on-site while your customer waits. Have several plants and stakes staged with cello wrap and bows pre-cut. Keep the self adhesive numbers and a bowl of soapy water nearby.

When the customer is ready to buy one, follow these steps:

1.) Peel numbers off the sheet included with the sign to reveal the adhesive backing.

2.) Dip the number in the soap and water solution and slide the number into position.

3.) Gently blot the excess water with a paper towel when all numbers are in place.

4.) Attach the magnet to a yard stake, wrap the whole thing in cello wrap, and tie a ribbon around it to mimic a giant lollipop.

Mother's Day Yard DeSign

5.) Stick it in a pot of beautiful coordinating flowers, and you’re done!

Your customers will be thrilled to find such an exceptional, yet easy gift, and their mothers will be blown away!

Remember, helping to create unique and memorable gifts is what keeps the “Special” in Specialty Retailer and builds long-lasting relationships with your customers.

What Mother’s Day promotions will you be running in your store this year? What custom gift combinations have worked well for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and questions in the comments below.


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