Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Biz Ladies @ design*sponge

I love the idea of Grace's Biz Ladies posts so very much. I truly look forward to every Tuesday when people just like myself- small business owners- share their tips, tricks, ideas, and amazing talents. If you're not reading, you should be!

Today a few of my favorite retail tips are posted- I'm honored to be included in this project!

(*image via design*sponge)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Retail Tip- Display!

Let’s talk display! What helps you get the most of out of the way you display? Running my shop, I've had some great help and happy accidents, and found these tips have helped me along the way...

- Height. Gotta have it. Make the most of your displays by adding levels of interest. Use boxes, vintage luggage, crates, tall floral, or amazing vertical lighting to keep people’s interest moving around your display.

- Use similar colors. Make groupings of like color for a simple and truly effecting displays. Mix like colors- teal/blue, pinks/reds, or black/white/grey to move people’s attention from group to group. I get the most comments on a display when I saturate the mix with many hues of the same color!

- Collect great vessels of every size. Whenever I’m shopping for vintage for SITE, I always look for great vintage planters, like McCoy Pottery (perfect for little items, like matchbooks or soaps that need keeping), serving trays, suitcases/trunks, and other great vessels that catch my eye. I also heavily rely on my local arts and crafts store (for me, Michaels) and IKEA for coming up with new ways to display things. When in doubt, stick with a theme- I like inexpensive crates from Michaels that I paint with Floral Spray Paint to give them an uneven and somewhat vintage/rustic look. Not your thing? Why not use the ever popular chalkboard paint on just about any simple container and write the price and a fun fact about those items right on the front- people love it when I do this and its affordable and easy to change!

- Move it around! No matter how you do it- perfectly staged rows or the more naturally staged look, make sure you update and change your displays often. I rely heavily on a great steady stream of regulars and if they’re bored, I’m in trouble. Even moving 2-3 products around makes them stop and wonder what’s new.

- Make good use of furniture. If you sell furniture, use the seat of a chair to display that great new tote you just got in, or a stack of vintage magazines. Tables should be staged as you’d like to see them in your own home, but don’t hide too much of the beauty of the furniture for sale- I often get carried away, and before you know it customers are saying, “I had no idea that was for sale” ...Ooops!

- Be creative with jewelry. Jewelry can be hard- do you hide in under glass or keep it out for people to touch, try on, and unfortunately, sometimes abuse? Keeping those little bits and bobbles accessible is a good strategy for those pieces that are not terribly expensive. I love collecting vintage glove molds for necklaces and rings, using tall props and clips for earrings, or my new favorite, a great bulletin board for pinning up an ever changing assortment of earrings, necklaces, and pins. Frame your bulletin board in simple hardware store molding cut with a miter saw (Or! We had our local framer make a decorative edge and assemble ours for a steal!) for a more traditional look or keep the metal or wood edge showing for a more retro look!

ET Says: Here are our top 3 favorite quick, cheap, and fun ways to display:

1. Galvanized Bins like this one- impossible to destroy, easy to move around, and mixes well with so many different styles! We use the really large size for our ever changing pillow selection.

2. Colored Stones like these make a splash on dishware or to cradle delicate jewelry. We also love to nest clear glass vases on these colorful pebbles to make the items really sing!

3. Unfinished Wood items like these make us weak in the knees. Covered in paint or customized with your logo, these are a practical way to store just about anything. Why not create some amazing signage for your displays with these?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Save local business- 3/50

Have a brick and mortar store? There is an interesting movement, 3/50 going around that aims to save the local businesses that built America. Click above, read more, and sign up for their newsletters....and SHOP LOCAL!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Beauty of Economic Crisis

These images of closed stores, while somewhat disturbing, are tender and beautiful and too amazing not to share. Many are stores near where I grew up, I especially love the image of Frank's, a nursery and craft store I spent many, many hours at with my mother...now wild and overgrown. With each failure, there is room for newer and better in its place...

See the full slide show here.

(All images by Brian Ulrich c/o Time)

Now Reading...

Lovin' the aptly titled, "On top of everything else, recession is annoying."


A great article filled with lots of DON'TS for all business owners.