Winter Spring Summer....Fall?

Let me show you a bit about retail display, and how a few fixtures or props can change a mood...

These are photos of one of the displays at Columbia Winery that was installed in January. The accent tables, made from wonderfully rustic grapevines, add levels to the large table surface and set the mood for the merchandise. Silver & pewter accessories, table linens in refined khaki, dark wood bowls & platters, and glassware in an abstract pattern are all presented together in a masculine style. Dark wine bottles add to the mood, and bunches of long pine needles in brown are casually tossed in to evoke the forest floor.

For the spring display installation, I decided to use the same tables in this location, as well as a few of the same products. Usually I will totally change all of the fixtures in an area - but this long dark table is the only one that fits here. (There is an elevator to the right of the display, and clear access to it is necessary. We can't 'stick out' too far into the walkway.) When the merchandise for this area was chosen, I knew that the grapevine tables would be perfect, so I left them - just rearranged the placement a bit. Then I added the 'new stuff'!

WOW! Quite a change, yes?!
With the addition of the new aqua ceramics, a different wine, and some seagrass props, the mood has changed from dark and wintry to a sunny day that feels like summer is finally on it's way to the Northwest! We have moved our scene from the deep woods to the sandy beaches....still indicative of the Pacific Northwest, still telling our 'story' of our terrior (place of origin) and style - but in a different mood. This is a guiding principle in the merchandising at Columbia: telling customers who we are, where we come from, what we offer. Branding one-oh-one.

Now, when the first of May rolls around and I install the summer merchandise, there is some AMAZING product that will be added to this aqua blue (that is, if there is any of the aqua left in the shop!!!). What I will do is relocate the grapevine tables to a freestanding location closer to the front entry, like this:

Then I'll add those large props shown above (trellises made from local driftwood - very cool!) and add in all of the new glass items, some seashells, and white ceramics to compliment the aqua blue. It will be a complete summer beach scene, perfect for the lengthening, warming days of the changing season.

If we tried to install the full blown summer look right now, nothing would sell....it's still in the fifties here and raining like crazy. (Heck, we had a BLIZZARD last week!) No one is quite ready for the beach yet! However, by presenting the aqua with just a hint of summer, it is more likely to appeal to someone who needs a gift or just a fresh touch of color for their home. Also, by presenting this merchandise in the rear of the shop, we are drawing traffic back through the space - the display is visible from the entry, and since aqua is a HOT color right now, people notice it and are drawn to it. This is a great method to direct traffic in a retail space: don't place your top sellers front and center - make them the visual vanishing point (think perspective in art class!!!) nearer the back of the space.

While some retailers can push the season by several months, the wineries are different...people come in to taste & buy wine, and to purchase gifts and items for entertaining. Their purchases are made when they need something, or as a souvenir of their trip, so keeping abreast of the current season actually increases sales. While this approach doesn't work for every shop, it certainly does for this type.

And when summer is over, (and all of the glass and aqua ceramics have sold out!), I'll move those grapevine tables to a new location and install new merchandise, and they will help to create another perfect mood for fall. Right now, I'm thinking that it will be purple ceramics, linens & dinnerware with grapes on them, and some silk grapevines climbing up the legs of the tables...almost like they are growing out of the ground.

Hey, like Roseanne RosannaDanna said, "It's always Something...If it ain't one thing, it's another."
I love making one thing look like another.....

1 comment:

  1. Love your artistic eye! Great blog and great ideas!!