Before the Lights, Camera, and Action, There's Set Design...

image from

Last evening, I was watching a documentary about the history of the Academy Awards,
and observed that a part of the older ceremonies was to describe the category being recognized.

For example, before "In recognition of Art Design, the nominees are..." was uttered,
something along these lines was offered:

"Production and Set Design is the practice of turning ethereal words and ideas into a very real and controlled environment, one that encompasses the history of the characters while providing a space for them to grow and evolve before our eyes as the story unfolds. It is the crafting of 'place', the creation of new unseen worlds and times, and the visual representation of the mood of the story using lumber, paint, fabric, and furniture..."

Great production design can bring the past back to life - France during the Revolution, in 'Les Miserables'.
It can speed us forward into an unknown future world - Los Angeles in 'Demolition Man'.
It can take us completely out of our world - space in 'Gravity' and 'Alien'.
It can create a world that will never exist anywhere else - Gotham in the 'Batman' films, and the planets of the Empire in 'Star Wars'.

Through vision, knowledge, and understanding of various elements and concepts, Art and Production Designers can manipulate materials to make them appear as anything they want the viewer to see.

Believe it or not, the environment where you sell your merchandise can be created to support YOUR story
 The description above also applies perfectly to the design of retail store space and exhibitor/vendor booths at shows. It's the purposeful design and creation of the setting where you do business.

So let me ask you this.... 
If your store, booth, or showroom were the setting of a film, what would it be?
Have you created a chic cityscape feel, worthy of 'Sex and the City', for your fashion-forward boutique?
Does your tea salon embrace the bucolic English charm of 'Pride and Prejudice' or French elegance from 'Marie Antoinette'?
Are your customers transported to a far-off land of European castles or Texas farmhouses when they walk into your antique booth at a show?

Or are you looking at a horror flick with zombies ambling around searching for fresh blood?!

YOU get to choose the story you tell about your business, and the way it is told.
When you are watching the Academy Awards this Sunday,
take a closer look at the way Production Designers create a whole world to support their stories.
You might end up with inspiration for your own award-winning design!

FYI: Over in my sidebar, you'll find links to several posts where I review 'Stores On Film' - 
which are pointing out the details of select retail 'sets' where the action in films happens.
It's rare to find good images of retail stores in films, but I am always searching for them. 
If you know of any films set in retail stores that I haven't covered yet, let me know!

Your Journey from Wonderland to Success!

 My friend Sharon Hughes is the founder of Launch Your Creativity,
an inspiring resource for women.
She hosts a women's business event each spring here in Southern California,
gathering a group of women speakers who share
their experiences, their struggles, their journeys, and their tips
with an audience of women hungry for support, encouragement, and helpful resources.
The women on the stage were once in exactly the place the women in the audience are now -
dreaming of starting a business, but not knowing WHERE to start -
so the stories told and the information shared really resonates with everyone.

Sharon chose an 'Alice In Wonderland' theme for this years event -
something new for her, as they have never had a 'theme' before -
with the tagline 'Don't Get Lost in Wonderland!'
You know how that is: when you get an idea, you can get stuck in the 
"I wonder how to start?" and "I wonder what I should do first / next?" cycle.
This event will show you how to harness the energy of your dreams,
VISIT Wonderland for inspiration, and then LAUNCH your creative business.

Even if you already HAVE a business, you'll be inspired and encouraged here!

I was a member of the audience in 2012, and a speaker in 2013. ..
and am honored that Sharon has asked me to speak again at this years event.

I am preparing a presentation that is at the core of what I have always done:
Retail Display Styling.
I'll be sharing the tips, tricks, and resources that I have gathered 
over my 35-plus year career as a retail stylist and designer.

Onstage with me will be a GORGEOUS display of items,
thanks to my friend Sylvia Assmusen.
Sylvia owns Madam Palooza Emporium vintage prop rentals,
and will be bringing some really amazing furniture and accessories to the event!
We will style them together, creating a lovely atmosphere in the room
AND giving me tangible materials to work with onstage as I talk about retail display.
I've always done that on stage, as it SHOWS you what I am teaching you.

The event will be held April 25 & 26, 2014 in Orange, California. (Southern)
A Friday evening soiree' at the fabled Paris in a Cup Tea Salon in Old Town Orange kicks it off,
then Saturday is held at the lovely Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Orange - near Disneyland!

The day will be filled with educational and inspiring presentations
from renowned speakers and business women
Melissa Bolton, Sunday Hendrickson, Jenny Doh, 
Cynthia Thompson Shaffer, Christine Rose Elle
and me ;) 

The full day of events includes a marvelous luncheon,
meeting and connecting with new friends,
and finishes up with an early-evening reception and vendor showcase.

Due to my new work schedule at Disneyland, 

I am unable to speak at this event.

Info and Registration HERE

Spring Forward!

Are you ready for SPRING yet?
[ I promise, it WILL get here! It always does! ]
Even if you are buried in a snow drift, the next season is what's on your customers' minds...
create interesting and inspiring displays of fresh, new product (and re-mixed old products)
to help them prepare for sunnier days!

Find all of my past posts with Spring display ideas HERE!
More inspiration is on my Pinterest Retail Display Board