Autumn Alternatives

After I posted about Deb Dusenberry's 'Curious Sofa' displays for Halloween, 
I got a few emails about how the fall season seems to bring out a two-party system. 
And I'm not talking politics! 
What I'm referring to is the Halloween-ers (oh that sounds bad...) 
and those who don't celebrate that holiday. 
It's an issue that affects retailers, too.

I was chatting with my friend Kimberly, the owner of a local shop,  
and she was frustrated about the 'invasion of the ghoulish' in store windows all over town. 
The windows and shops all seem to be overwhelmingly filled 
with bright orange, purple & green with black color, 
and an abundance of goblins ghosts and ghouls comes right along with that. 
She hates it. "I don't DO Halloween", she said, 
and though that may seem like retail suicide to some, I understood what she meant.

Yes, it's true that Halloween has grown in popularity - 
sales of Halloween decor nearly equal those for Christmas. 
Some take the scary path - dark, creepy, gothic. and that's just fine. 
Some go the cute route, with scarecrows and pumpkins with smiling faces and kid-style decor. 
Hey, if it works for you and your customers, great! 
And some stick with the Harvest theme, for many reasons. 

Whatever you do, make it an expression of your store's style and brand. 
And make sure you are 'speaking your customers' language'. 
If they come to you for a particular type of merchandise all year,
that should help you figure out their style and use that info to guide you in your seasonal choices.

My friend owns a beautiful boutique, filled with antiques & vintage items, 
along with new products that are either made from vintage elements or resemble them. 
It's soft, feminine, warm, cozy, 
and appeals to those who love Shabby Chic and Vintage French style. 
Bright orange does not work in a store like this. 
Not to mention that her customers don't do the bright color thing, either - 
so she needs to offer them items and ideas for their homes 
based on the style they already love. 
Just try finding manufactured Halloween items in pale colors...not so easy. 

So what's a girl to do?

Focus on Fall, Autumn, nature, and harvest. 
She already has a wonderful selection of items in soft ivories & tans, golds and crystal. 
By adding some pale colored gourds, pumpkins, apples, and candles to it, she's on the right track. 
A few bare branches, bundles of wheat, and some excelsior 
bring touches of nature into her displays as part of the pale scheme. 
Bleached out oak leaves are a soft touch and very unusual. 

The effect of being in the shop is of a soft, enveloping cashmere sweater wrapping around you - 
now who doesn't want to take that feeling home?!

If this doesn't say Autumn elegantly and serenely, I don't know what does...
Go out on a limb, make your own statement. 
You don't have to buy into the hype that things are done one way only. 
And trust me, your customers will love you for it!

By the way, my friend's shop is Faded Elegance...visit her blog here !


  1. simply beautiful! i, too, am not into halloween, but this i love.

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