'Fast, Cheap & Easy' is my Mantra!

Don't get the wrong idea there, bud...I'm talking about retail display!

My theory on display is that it should be speedy, inexpensive, and uncomplicated. (Hence the 'Fast, Cheap, Easy' mantra!) If you have money to spend on it, great – but if you don’t, you can still get fabulous results from a bit of effort and a lot of imagination.

One question I hear quite often is "Where do you get props and fixtures?" I get them everywhere! From garage sales, thrift shops, and flea markets, to antique stores, furniture warehouses, and unfinished furniture manufacturers, I gather up unique and versatile pieces when I find them. That includes rusty, broken wheelbarrows on the side of the road, too! Sometimes a piece is for a specific client or project, but usually I just grab good stuff because I know sooner or later, I’ll use it.

The secret to cheap props is knowing your style – once you rule out the rustic and contemporary, and focus on the ‘shabby’ feminine look, for example, your eye can easily pick out what works best for you. By using those guidelines and your imagination, you can see possibilities quickly: The primitive wood chairs won’t work, but the wicker ones will – and you are on to the next stop. If you are thinking that this takes a lot of time, it all depends on you. Checking in at your local thrift stores and hitting garage/yard sales one half-day a month can result in huge savings and great displays. And you’ll find items that are unique – something that isn’t in every other retail store.

My eyes are constantly scanning for usable elements – at the hardware store, the craft store, IKEA. This way, when I get an idea for a display, I know where I can find the elements I need. Architectural salvage houses offer a wealth of unique large-scale items to use in displays, such as columns, doors, mantels, railings, and old gates. Many of them show their inventories online, saving you time. And making use of items that would otherwise be in a landfill is always good business. Spending a little bit of time searching for props this way will save you a whole lotta' cash, too.

Remember: "It's not called disWORK. It's called DisPLAY!" TM 2002DWK

For more retail info from me, view today's blog post 'Feeling Boxed In?' at http://www.iamadiva.com/

PS: My friend's name is Lisa, she's HOOT, and yes, guys, she IS available! (Not Fast, Cheap, & Easy, though....)


  1. Also don't forget that things can be painted for a different look. I have literally painted just about every kind of prop. I've even had to paint silk flowers to create a certain look. And don't forget fabric as a prop. It can be used to create amazing looks and be used over and over.

  2. LOL of COURSE you'd say that , Bacchus! ;0) Very important points, and thank you for making them!

    The truth is, I had three more paragraphs of info: on paint, fabric, and natural elements. But the post was soooooo long, I thought I'd save those for another day!