Beeeeeeeee Happy!


Once again, the Seattle Gift Show 'theme' was 'Catch the Buzz'. (Remember the little buzzing bees I made for the January show displays?)

This time, the bigwigs went one step further: they provided t-shirts for the staffers to wear. Bright yellow t-shirts. REALLY bright yellow t-shirts. And every last staff member wore black pants or skirts - it was truly like a swarm of bees everywhere! When I ran across this bee costume at a yard sale early Sunday morning, I quickly grabbed it - then I took it back to the show with me that afternoon, and popped it into the display. You should have heard the howls of laughter coming from across the lobby when those gals at the registration desk saw it!!! (I've now been labelled an 'instigator'. Naaaaaaaaahhhh, I just really get into a theme.....)
The collateral for the show included the BUZZ line and an orangy-red sunflower (instead of the red poppy from last winter's show). Using that as inspiration, I created some sheets of floral images to use in the setups - one is tucked into the bag below.
They also appear slipped under acrylic cubes and lying under some of the merchandise setups, which work well to add a splash of color and carry the show theme through this very large area.

The new fixtures (thank you IKEA!) make the display pop in the midst of gray concrete in the 4th floor lobby. The dark wood finish sets off every product placed on it, which of course is our point: to make the products stand out, catch the eye of shoppers, and lead them to that exhibitors' booth. With this design and these fixtures, I've increased available space for merchandise over 60% from our previous display.

Modular tables, cubes, and shelving allow us to easily set up to showcase any size of merchandise. The fixtures slide on the smooth concrete floor, making last-minute adjustments (and there are many!) simple. The smaller bookcases can be used standing up or lying on their sides as a low console, and the tables can be stacked in a myriad of configurations.

Remember how I said 'There is no Display without Drama!'? Oh sister, I could tell you some stories - but suffice it to say that there is an ongoing argument over whether or not this should be a walk-through display (especially now that 'The Launching Pad' area has been discontinued). I emphatically vote no! Having created this display for the past five years, I can boil it down to one reason why: protect the merchandise. Attendees with big huge tote bags & purses, large rolling carts, and miscellaneous other oversize accessories do not realize how that big ol' thing rolling or swinging behind them is smacking into products. I've seen so many items destroyed by someone in a hurry to get to that item in the back....and, sadly, there IS theft of small items in accessible displays. That's why we changed this setup after the first year we did it. Exhibitors need to know that their merchandise is safe. If a buyer wants to try on the clothes or the jewelry, that's what the exhibitor's booth is for!

This display area used to be designated for North Hall exhibitors only - now any exhibitor in the show can have their product displayed here. There were less exhibitors participating than I expected, but with all of the changes to the display opportunities going on, I think people just got very confused by the conflicting information they were hearing. I would hope that by the next show, participation in this very effective marketing tool will be much higher.

If you are a show (any show!) exhibitor or atteendee, let me know your thoughts on displays like this: walk-thru, or not? And why? I'd be very interested to hear your views on this subject. I'll pass them along to GLM, and we'll see what happens...

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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