Connections


My seminar at the Seattle Gift Show on Monday was so much fun! I enjoy meeting and talking with people from all over the region, who own or buy for so many varied businesses. I hear their gripes and fears, I answer their questions, I offer them encouragement, and when it's all over and I have no voice left and can't stand for one more minute.... I know I've done something that has been helpful and meaningful for others.

Truthfully, for me it's not about standing there onstage, yappin' about a subject for an hour. That part of my seminars is what I research and prepare for - compiling information and resources on a subject (store design, brand image development, visual merchandising) and share as much as I possibly can with my audience in that hour. They nod their heads in agreement, nudge the person next to them as if to say 'We need to do that!', smile back at me, and write notes furiously to keep up with me! (Which is why my handouts basically include almost everything I say...)Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy that.

What I really look forward to is the hour after the seminar...the one-on-one connection with people. At that level, I can answer their specific questions, help them with real-life issues in their stores, and inspire them to think bigger and attempt the amazing when it comes to visual impact. This is what it's all about - working together to inspire & enable business success.

I love helping people succeed, it's that simple.
I've been told I'm a 'networking Diva' because I connect people almost effortlessly. It seems so simple to me: the retail industry is about connections. Retailers need to connect with their customers, so that they can help their customers connect with the people in their lives. And on the other end of the industry, manufacturers & artisans need to connect with sales reps and buyers, so that their products can be enjoyed by the end users. For me, connecting the dots between these groups is just second nature. I'm fearless when it comes to promoting someone to media or to another source!

The display you see in the photo above includes some of my own props, products by manufacturers at the show, and one product artisan who wasn't part of the show, so I took the opportunity to connect her with everyone there. Sue Zell, of http://www.tuffetlady.com/, brought me two of her stunning Celebrity chairs. They sparked the whole idea of my 'Hollywood Glamour' stage display in black, white, pewter, and crystal. And as we carried her chairs through the show on the way to the stage, they became the talk of the show. She made some good connections with people who went over and talked with her about her art after my seminar. Lest you think I was 'cheating', there was nothing like Sue's product at the show. Nothing. Not an issue of competition at all. (And next year, she may just be IN the show, as she saw what a great response she got. So I've done a service for the show, too!)

And, lest you think I'm making a fortune off of product recommendations - nada. zilch. zip. Not even free samples. I do this because these are worthy of attention, folks. Connecting people, resources, and ideas - that's my thing!!!

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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