One for the Money, Two Dogs for the Show....

A few years ago, I met an artisan at the Seattle Gift Show. Her name was Shauna Morrissey and her business was called Two Dog Design, after her...two dogs! I noticed her work because I thought some of it would be perfect in the Columbia Winery retail shop, and I stopped to talk to her. Amazingly enough, she lives and works in the same town as the winery! She was new to the show circuit, young, and enthusiastic as all get out. I knew instantly that she would make a success of her business. Skip to a year later, when she called me asking me to help her design a new booth setup for the San Francisco International Gift Faire. Her deal: She would work as my 'go-fer' at my upcoming SGS seminar in exchange for me sitting down with her and giving her some ideas. How could I pass that up?!!!!


So after I worked her to death (really, my seminars are very labor intensive...there was a lot of gathering of products from the show floor and then returning it after I spoke) I plopped down on the floor with her and asked her some questions. Already familiar with her artwork and her aesthetic style, I began sketching on a pad.

I was drawing four separate vignettes, each designed to focus on the subjects of each of her four collections of framed & canvas art, furniture, cards, etc. that would form the basis of her booth. By separating these four subjects into individual areas within her booth, the visual impact would be greater - and increase the likelihood of buyers to hone in on subjects that interested them.

The four areas were then arranged in a booth space in a diagram, adding in an area in the center to allow for sales activity to go on without blocking those displays. This kept the visual appeal intact from the aisle in front of the booth, attracting more attention.


We talked as I sketched, and within about fifteen minutes, I handed her the sketches. She looked up at me with a smile...."I could never in a million years have come up with this and you did it in fifteen minutes! THANK YOU!" I just wanna see the final booth and be proud, I said. She went home and built  a mock-up of the design in her studio.

About two weeks later, Shaunna sent me images of her booth mock-up as photographed by a pro:




I was thrilled to see the concepts I had sketched come to life, and then when I traveled to the San Francisco International Gift Show for my seminars there, I saw the booth in its entirety at Moscone Center:

I had no time to talk with her before my seminar, so I came back by to see her late Saturday afternoon.

Imagine my shout of glee when I saw THIS:

Yup, that's an AWARD for 'Best Booth' in the 'At Home' division of the show!!!

She was proud, I was beyond myself with joy, and the response she received from buyers was 'The BEST I have ever had!' she told me. Her image was professional, her style upscale, and everyone took her seriously because of the way she presented herself and her artwork.

She has since been featured in American Craft magazine, Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine, and has licensed her designs for production on any number of products. You can find her at www.shaunamorrisseyltd.com.


THAT, dear readers, is why visual presentation and merchandising matter.
It doesn't take alot of time or money - just paying attention to details.

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK