Mirror, Mirror.....

I'd like to show you how making a fast, simple but large-scale change can make an incredible impact in your retail displays. There is a 'logo' wall - made of faux tumbled marble tiles - at the front of the Columbia Winery retail shop. Here's a shot....

When it came time to install the new summer displays, 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. I needed a solution.


Enter two very large mirrors that I had on hand, purchased for last years' Auction of Washington Wines Winemaker Dinner. I decided to use those mirrors to cover up the tile. (IKEA, $135. each). I had 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 camoflage 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's shockingly different from the previous look, and gets a LOT of positive comments. The mirror not only reflects the natural light coming in the windowed front doors straight across from it, but it also bounces light from the overhead trac fixtures.

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 aren't for sale, sorry! The white chair is mine, and also not for sale, just a prop. (That I fished out of a dumpster - really!)

The main merchandise here is incredible but almost unviewable in the photos - it's large-scale clear glass vases in the shape of fish. In several of them, I placed an unscented 'potpourri' of sorts that I created: a mix of sea salt, seashells, glass marbles in varied blue colors, and then mixed in a cup of Malt O' Meal (uncooked)....because that made it really look like sand and it won't scratch the insides of the glass vases like real sand would. I really need to go back and get some close-up shots of this cool stuff!
There ya' go!

Just to the left of that display is the rest of the 'beach' look, a low display with white glass float balls and white ceramic seashells, and a large display with aqua and green ceramics. The layout is very open and spacious. Detail shots of both below:

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......

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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