Gone Country


Let's shift our attention to the left side stage setup...This is the 'Old West' side of the biz.
Shops with country flavor, primitives, antiques, rustic mountain wares, and prairie-style decor can relate to this style. In an interesting twist, if you changed out the cowhide chair to a wicker one, and used soft green or blue instead of reds on the other large pieces, this would be very Shabby Chic. Or Beach Chic. The concepts are the same, just change the materials & colors.

The large panel of embossed red metal is sitting up on a table (skirted in black so you can't see it!). This could be a wall painted red, or a large old door or fence section. Something old and big and rustic to add weight and a shot of color to the display. Then the large cabinet/hutch/bench is in a deeper shade of red, and the red wooden trough pulls your eye through the display. This is called 'color spotting' or 'color mapping' - using a vibrant color to lead the viewer's eye through the display.

The white cabinet and white cowhide on the chair & stool add a bright contrast to all the red. The rough bark of the chair frame leaves no doubt that this is rustic style, and the square shapes (metal panel, cabinets, chair panels) reflect simplicity. There is a rusty metal gate (not too viewable in the photo, sorry)that is a match to the rusty metal candlesticks. Again, as in the other display, we are repeating elements and shapes for balance. Bambi? He's there just 'cause he's cute! I talked about how adding a touch of whimsy is important in display. Bambi could have an Easter basket hung around his neck, or wear a Rockies jersey, or have a red ball over his nose at Christmas...a useful prop all year. Get a 'mascot' like this and see how many fun ways you can use him in displays - your customers will keep coming back just to see what he's up to!

Adding plants brings in nature and softens all those square hard edges, and they could be bundles of wheat or big moss balls or grasses and still accomplish that. I used bright green because A) it was right outside the room in the planters and B) red and green are complimentary colors, and they make each other look good. Ahhhhh, Art 101!!!!

Below, you'll see the first version of this setup - which, after my previously-mentioned review through photos, I restaged. When you look at both shots together, you see the improvements immediately.

The chair in this^ position leads your eye out to the left and off the stage. Not so great when you want to keep attention ON the stage, instead of wondering who may walk in that door in the corner at any moment. In a store, you want the viewers' attention riveted to the display and the products in it, not somewhere else. By moving the chair to the other side of the display, a sightline is created that begins at the red cabinet on the left and ends on the chair on the right. Bringing attention right smack into center stage.

On that red cabinet/hutch thing, you'll see a few accessories. Of course a piece like this is great for hats and scarves, so I used some, and I also showed that it could be used to display jewelry or dishes. Coffee cups hang from the pegs. I know this isn't the way this furniture would be used in a home. But in retail display, you don't have to think literally. You have to think creatively so you can come up with unusual and interesting ideas that catch your customers' eye.

Like putting saucers and cups on tops of candlesticks. Or maybe hats on candlesticks.
These are the kind that don't have the sharp point sticking up to hold the candle in place, and they are much more versatile. They act like pedestals to raise items up in a grand 'tah-DAH' kind of way. Again, this is an example of how you show your customer that the item is not just pretty, it is functional - and useable in more than one way. Ask anyone what that item is and they'll say a candlestick. (Or, if they are wacky, maybe they'll say 'A murder weapon from Clue'...) But how many would say 'A hatstand'? Show 'em what to do with it!

A note about the candles in that shot (Sorry it's fuzzy): They are 'intelligent candles' from Doug Thorson in the Denvermart. They come four to a box or one in a blisterpack, and in a small gold plastic candleholder - but can be lifted out of that and placed into your own candelabra & chandeliers! They have LED bulbs, and a switch on the bottom to turn them on - ONCE. Yes, you read that right. Once. Turn the candle on at 9 AM on Monday. Eight hours later, it shuts itself off. And then eighteen hours later, it comes back on at 9 AM again. Every day. All by itself. When the batteries run out (several months), you just reset by turning it on again. Once. To call this brilliant is an understatement...you know and I know how many hours this saves a retailer!

And time saved is time you can spend creating more fabulous displays!

Resources for Products used in this display:
(#0000 denotes permanent showroom in Denver Merchandise Mart, http://www.denvermart.com/ )

Painted red hutch/bench - Far West Furniture http://www.farwestfurniture.com/
Painted white cabinet- Far West Furniture http://www.farwestfurniture.com/
Metal panel, Iron Gate - Olde Good Things mail@oldegoodthings.com
Bark & leather chair/stool - America West *
Set of 3 candelabra - VIP Imports #2181
Bambi & LED candles - Doug Thorson Sales #1229
Rustic wood trough - My Amigos Imports myamigosimports@sbcglobal.net

*the contact info I had for them is incorrect, and since they were a temporary booth, I can't locate them. But I'm working on it....Please know that I did have their booth number on my handouts, so that at the show, my seminar attendees could easily find them. And that is really what it was all about. I'm sharing this info here as a bonus.

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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