Summer Switch-Up!

I'd like to revisit an archived post, to show you how making a fast, simple but large-scale change
can make an incredible impact in your retail displays for the summer season...
Come with me on a lil' trip into the past!
 I created displays for Columbia Winery in Washington state for six years. Here's the 'logo' wall made of faux tumbled marble tiles in the front entry of the shop, filled with spring merchandise.When it came time to install the new summer displays one year, we had a bit of a dilemma: The summer merchandise is very contemporary, and in colors of white, silver, and blues. With that warm-tone, old-world style tile mural, we had some serious clashing going on that did nothing at all for the product.



I needed a solution.


Enter two very large mirrors that I had on hand, purchased for decor at a previous Auction of Washington Wines Winemaker Dinner. I decided to use those mirrors to cover up the tile. (IKEA, $135. each). I had my design assistant Karen help me heft them up onto the table, then I wired them to the sidewalls. There was still some tile showing, so I hung a white drapery panel on the side. In front of that went one of the two driftwood trellises that I purchased last year as summer props. On the top, to camouflage about six inches of tile, I hung white shutters at an angle - very 'Tommy Bahama'. Other shutters went beneath the table to lighten up the shadowed area a bit.

The result?
It was shockingly different from the previous look, and got a LOT of positive comments!
The mirror not only reflected the natural light coming in the windowed front doors straight across from it,
but it also bounced light from the overhead trac fixtures right down onto the glass merchandise.
Here's a shot of the entire main display, including the forward area with wine feature.
The tables are made from driftwood, and are for sale. Those driftwood trellises weren't for sale. The white chair was mine, and also was not for sale, just a prop. (That I fished out of a dumpster - really!)

It took maybe half an hour to install the mirrors, curtain, shutters, and props for that front display.
  Well worth it, wouldn't you say?

Now, think about what you might be able to do in your retail space....
with some old doors, or a section of cedar fencing, or maybe even salvaged rusty corrugated tin roofing.
The possibilities are endless, 
and the impact of a big change could be just what you need for the summer season.

Now.....where are my sunglasses? I'm heading for the beach......

this content originally appeared here on DWK visual merchandising blog in 2007. photos mine, copyright reserved. 

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

NEW 'Specialty Shop Retailing' Book

Visual Merchandising photo by Debi Ward Kennedy appears in the new Specialty Shop Retailing book by author Carol Schroeder published 2018
the 4th edition of the book Specialty Shop Retailing released last month,
with this revised and expanded edition offering an in-depth education for any retailer.

aimed at stores offering a specific product mix to a targeted niche demographic, 
the wealth of information within the pages will be of help to every retailer - 
from those who've grown up to take over a venerable family business 
to the entrepreneurial generation striking out to make their own mark.
whether you've been at it for years, or are just starting out, 
this book WILL help you - so get your hands on it and read it cover to cover!

I've spent a lifetime providing visual merchandising services to specialty retailers large and small - 
wineries, hotel gift shops, scrapbooking stores, local yarn shops, and finally,
the highly niche-dependent Walt Disney Corporation.
as i have learned through hands-on experience and through success and failure,
this kind of retail is not the same as 'we offer it all' department or big box stores, 
and this book provides an educational resource for attaining success in your specialty niche.
I highly recommend it!

author Carol Schroeder and I have been speakers at the same retail industry events for decades.
we have concurrently contributed to many of the same retail resources, 
including a killer visual merchandising Pinterest board ;) 

I am honored that she asked for a contribution from me for this book...
Visual Merchandising photo by Debi Ward Kennedy appears in the new Specialty Shop Retailing book by author Carol Schroeder published 2018
Carol included this photo of one of my displays for a winery on page 171,
in the 'Visual Merchandising: Displays That Sell' chapter:
Visual Merchandising photo by Debi Ward Kennedy appears in the new Specialty Shop Retailing book by author Carol Schroeder published 2018
I agree with Carol that this display works well as an example of cross-merchandising,
from the juxtaposition of products, textures, and shapes to the 'lifestyle' presentation style.
a 'vignette' of furniture and decorative accessories - linens, pottery, and floral elements - 
adds visual interest to the massed shelving of product (wine) accessible to shoppers,
and inspires customers to buy more than just wine...
which is the main reason to use this style of display:
offer more than expected to entice customers to increase their purchases.

the book is available through major retailers - but let's go with the spirit of it,
and order/purchase from small specialty retailers!
Carol sells the book at her own store, Orange Tree Imports, 

Let Me Take a Look At It!

It's a new year and a chance for a fresh start...
do you need help with your store or booth floor plan and displays?


I offer a 'virtual review' service that evaluates the visual impact of your space
(store, show booth, mall booth, etc.) helping you to see how it can be improved. 

This service is offered virtually via photos, video, and a floor plan sketch,
so I can help you wherever you are and whatever you sell!

Click through to my visual design services menu for details, and get started today!

image credit: screen capture from 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg'