Tour Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday
Times: 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Toronto Congress Centre North Lobby
As we all know, merchandising a store and keeping everything looking fresh and new can be a constant battle. It can take countless hours and can also take a lot of money to keep reinventing yourself and presenting your products in new and engaging ways.
Add to that the fact you are probably doing countless other things during your day that are not only related to your business, but are also part of being a living and breathing human being. Often the prospect of creating displays can not only become daunting, but well, darn near impossible.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of my work at the show in the past, and I’m also sure you’ve noticed that the feature areas have been growing ever larger and ever more complicated with each passing show cycle. They take months of planning, coordination and preparation, and days of execution by a very talented team of people to make them all come to life. But although some of the concepts are done on a rather large and grand scale, there are countless tips that we consider each and every year to make sure that these things go off without a hitch. (But TRUST me, there are ALWAYS hitches. We just make sure they’re rectified before you seem them!!)
WORK WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
In the world of design, it would be lovely to start with a blank canvas, but rarely do we have the opportunity to do that.
More often than not, we are challenged to work with at least one or two existing elements. But the key is working WITH these elements and not against them. Don’t try and disguise the odd or quirky elements you have to work with, instead choose to celebrate them. Are exposed pipes or beams a great place to suspend light items for a floating effect? Does a tiny corner provide a great space for miniature display? Or do half walls provide another surface to merchandise? Whatever it is, try working with it and not against it for the best possible outcome.
BUILD UP YOUR MERCHANDISING STOCK ROOM
Look for affordable pieces that have some versatility and longevity: clear acrylic risers and signage, simple frames, and stacking boxes are all great ways to achieve height, elevate displays, and create feature signage.
Each year we add to our collection of props and merchandising tools, looking at what we can purchase affordably to add to our stock. Dollar stores are great places to find simple little things to celebrate and enhance products. And don’t discard things because of their colour. A quick coat of paint can often give a forlorn mannequin or piece of display furniture a new lease on life!
SMALL THINGS CAN HAVE A BIG IMPACT
Adding a few elements can create a huge impact, especially in the arena of colour.
As designers we are always extolling the virtues of neutral furnishings popped with coloured accents. This also holds true in merchandising, where fixtures can be quieter for a longer lease on life, and they can be easily pooped with faux floral, ribbon, or small painted accents. Adding just the smallest bit of cohesive colour tells a story and draws the eye. And when using simple tools like ribbon, paint or coloured paper, the cost is negligible but the effect can be incredibly powerful.
So be sure to drop by my on-floor merchandising demos in the North Lobby, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for a quick tour through how we have created our visuals. We'll share some great tips and tricks on how to get the look in your own stores. See you at the show!