Jewelry Displays Using Doors, Plywood and Nails

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We’re partial to clever and inexpensive jewelry displays since we primarily sell jewelry so it’s always fun when we see how our retailers show off their jewelry in their stores as well as how they store them.

I had the wonderful privilege of visiting one of our retail partners, The Bridge, located in Holland, Michigan, and if you ever find yourself visiting this darling community, The Bridge should be on your list of places to shop. Nestled on the beautiful, paved brick main shopping district in downtown Holland, The Bridge is a treasure trove of fair trade jewelry, women’s accessories, gifts, greeting cards, home accessories, coffee, and children’s toys and books. Really, you could spend hours in the shop and feel like you’ve traveled the world. Manager Sara Russell and her visual merchandiser Jan keep the place running smoothly and looking gorgeous. A steady stream of volunteers keep customers happy by answering questions about where the products are made as well as making sure the shop is clean and organized. And, wow, organized it is.

Sure, the displays are beautiful and here you’ll see some of the ways the shop shows off its jewelry. Shown here is an old wooden door left behind by the previous tenants. With some hooks added, it now shows off jewelry, a handbag and even a mirror!

Another clever way to show off lots of jewelry is using plywood with holes organized evenly so you can move around the pegs as you find it necessary. This board was made by one of the volunteers and uses wall space nicely to frame the wall and allow a store to add a LOT of product in a small amount of retail space. Shown here is the full board and a close up of the holes so you can see how it’s done.

Finally, as shop owners know, storage space, if you have any of it, is precious so you want to maximize the space. Sure, you want as much inventory as possible on the selling floor, but sometimes you just need easy access to stored inventory and this easy solution does the trick – a board with nails hanging in a closet!

The manager tells me that once the inventory comes in (through a nifty chute that goes from the back door to the basement for unpacking – another crafty solution by a volunteer!), it’s inventories in the basement office, price tagged, and then goes upstairs in this closet right next to the selling room floor. If a customer asks whether a piece comes in a different color, a volunteer or the managers go open up the closet and take a quick peek – and since everything is already marked and inventoried, the customer can choose any color of her choice and can walk the 8 feet to the cash register! Talk about maximizing your selling floor without cluttering it!

But besides all of the wonderful design solutions you can find at The Bridge, truly, it’s a remarkable shop filled with beautiful fair trade products that is sure to please anyone (including yourself). This was my first time to the store and I left with a huge bag of gifts for my family and children (and me: Equal Exchange Toffee Caramel Coffee!!!). I can’t wait to return and hope you’ll have a chance to visit soon, too!


Jewelry Bust – DIY Project

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Buying jewelry displays is one thing, but making jewelry busts yourself definitely sets your store apart since only you will have that particular display!

I found this DIY project on Design*Sponge and fell in love with the idea. Granted, it’s not as easy as cutting an outline and painting it or, as we outlined in an earlier post, as easy as spray painting an old mannequin bust, but if you’re somewhat handy with a jigsaw, this might be up your alley! And, according to the step-by-step directions to make your own jewelry bust, it costs just $9 and might take you around 3 hours. Use eco-friendly paint and some old wood lying around and it will become an even less expensive and eco-friendly display, too!

The beauty of this display is not only looks great, but it can be painted any color you’d like to bring some splash to your jewelry offerings. Also, it’s heft provides some stability even if you load it with lots of baubles.

What do you think? Do-able or forget about it?


Easy Display Idea – borrowing things from nature

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Great, inexpensive and easy visual merchandising ideas can come straight from our backyards. This table display features clear glass and wire-wrought containers and mirrors with branches shooting out of some of the containers. In the base of the vases are artichokes and lemons. In keeping with visual merchandising 101, the items are thoughtfully displayed by height to anchor the sides but not make it all too even looking as to make the display uninteresting or uninspiring. The mirror and frames, also arranged to look balanced but not stiff looking, support the table display by providing a background color for the yellow flowers from the branches. The mirror reflects  the movement from its surroundings creating a nice, fluid appearance.

Shown here is our Kenyan jewelry display that we’re preparing for the upcoming trade shows. It’s a work in progress but the reason I’m sharing it is because we’re using twigs to showcase some of our new recycled glass necklaces and earrings from Kenya (shown behind is our new collection of painted cow bone earrings, also from Kenya).

The twig display breaks up the heavy black felt jewelry boards and creates some visual interest to the display overall. And, what do you know, it’s also an eco-friendly design idea, too!

Like I said, it’s a work in progress but hopefully today’s Tuesday Display Design idea inspires you to go outside, find some inexpensive, natural visual merchandising ideas to play around with in your shop!

Have any pictures of attractive, easy, inexpensive visual merchandising ideas you’d like to share? Send them to me at megy at world-shoppe dot com.

Can’t wait to see your ideas!






Colorful Mannequins Attract Shopper’s Attention

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Our Red Lacquer Mannequin idea is still getting a lot of attention – which makes me wonder how much attention colorful mannequins can get in your shop! Turns out many of you are transforming your mannequins and busts with much success. Last week one of my customers in Michigan had to share “Betty,” the mannequin she “updated” (shown here sporting one of our World Shoppe copper and brass necklaces, in fact!). Even the legs got “treated”! Kirabo, located in East Lansing, focuses only on fair trade products. The owner is very methodical about what she chooses to bring in and is constantly updating the shop, making it friendly for customers to enjoy while staying true to its mission of educating customers on why fair trade is important.

I decided to take it a step further and see what other ideas one could come up with when using mannequins and I love these really bold mannequins by Manex-USA. You can buy them but why not get some colorful spray paint and paint them colors of the season or around a theme? Perhaps bold like these colors for Spring and Fall tones for when the whether starts to cool off. Perhaps crisp white and silver or gold for the holidays and soft pinks for Valentine’s Day? I love the use of color in almost anything and while some colors aren’t exactly “natural” to a mannequin, that’s the point – and why they will get noticed!

So get out that spray paint or extra paint sitting around (or ask some friends who might have a can or two laying around their garage) and start painting away! And send your pictures of your colorful mannequins that you’ll be using in your visual merchandising displays so we can share them, too!


Cash Wrap Wall Offers Space to Feature Products

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Many retailers spend a lot of their time merchandising their front window displays (as well they should since customers will no doubt see that first and decide whether or not to enter your shop) but often neglected is the wall space behind the cash wrap. In fact, I noticed one wall was completely bare when I shopped the other day – what a waster opportunity! Granted, most customers aren’t allowed behind the cash wrap space so they can’t touch and feel the products on the wall – but they can SEE it…and that’s usually where their eyes linger while they are checking out so why not give them something to look at?

Today’s Design Tuesday submissions were found on Gift Shop magazine’s website entitled “Off-the-Wall Sales!” and, indeed, that’s exactly what they show! One imagine features wall decor with sayings to uplift one’s spirit…but you can easily use any type of wall art from Haitian oil drum wall decor to colorful Indian wedding textiles. The other image features silverware elegantly positioned in gray/silver frames to give a consistency to the design. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I am tempted to get on a flight to see Cynthia Sutton’s store, The Silver Barn, in Columbus, Texas, because I think her store sounds marvelous (we’re Twitter friends and I hope to meet her in person in NY when she comes to the NYIGF!). If you want to see a great blog, check hers out…it’s a feast for the eyes!

Two different looks – but same concept. What do you think? What’s on your back walls?


Making a Scarf into a Hobo Purse in 5 steps


How easy is it to convert an over-sized scarf into a hobo purse? Turns out it’s 5 easy steps.

The last post on how to tie a scarf into a pretzel seemed to get people really excited so when I saw this picture, I wanted to share it as it’s another way to tie a scarf, no?

I’ve always liked the look of hobo bags and the ease of turning a scarf into a hobo makes it particularly appealing as you’re traveling and need something to throw your stuff in. Obviously you’ll want a heavier weight scarf if you want it to have some strength to the bag but the possibilities are endless as long as your scarf is large enough to make into a bag.

I tried this at home and I love the look of my new hobo bag. Use different patterned scarves to create cool, one-of-a-kind bags to wear (and can double as a scarf if it gets chilly!).

Would you print and post this next to some scarves as yet another way to showcase their versatility…especially during the summer months when most of us are not sporting scarves around our necks?


Add a Zebra to your Shop Windows

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Would you do a double take if you saw a life-sized zebra staring at you from a shop’s window? I certainly would and it’s one of the reasons I love this window from a Louis Vuitton shop featuring its namesake luggage on top of a zebra!

I’m also in love with this site which features awesome retail store windows. Check it out when you get a chance and see what other antics these zebras gets into.

The London-based visual merchandiser, Jonathan Baker M.A., is the course director at one of the world’s leading centers of fashion and the chief world expert in visual merchandising (wow, how do I get a title like that!) for Check out when you get a chance – neat org!

In addition, he produces visual research for retailers, design companies and industry suppliers, is a freelance consultant and guest speaker for commercial events. Suffice to say, this guy knows visual merchandising. Too bad he’s in London (road trip, anyone?).

I would love to see animals from various countries as part of the equation to really drive home the message of where our fair trade products come from whether it’s the big cats from African countries or birds from Latin American countries. How cool would (and eye-catching) would that be?

Now the hard question – how do we get our hands on life-sized animal props? Anyone?


Beach theme display great for summer

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Retail displays in themes isn’t really a new idea but I love this look shared by OneCoast, a large sales rep agency that is a leader in working with their customers to create not only a great merchandising mix in their store but provides them with tools to be great merchants, too.You can find more tips on its website.

This particular display comes from a showroom in Atlanta but can be used by many retailers because it’s basic premise is creating a display around a theme. Perhaps because it’s going to reach close to 100 degrees F today in Chicago that I’m particularly drawn to the display of flip flops, a summer hat, summer tote and breezy summer top. It even uses the lower bottom of the wall, a space typically rendered useless in a retail shop since most people’s eyes aren’t drawn there. The soft yellow backdrop reminds me of the summer sun, too. I’d add some accessories, too, by adding a few more nails and hanging a fair trade necklace, cuff or earrings…to complete the ensemble.

It’s easy to replicate in a store with handmade and fair trade options and aside from the actual products, you’ll just need a hammer and some nails (and paint if you want to go crazy and re-paint a wall).

What do you think? An idea you’d be able to replicate quickly and easily? Would you do this in your shop?




Red Lacquer Bust Display Makes Jewelry POP

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Women love jewelry and this display is just a gorgeous way to showcase it.

Since our South African collection of brass and copper jewelry is bold and beautiful, I especially liked the way this display not only showcases a lot of jewelry but creates a focal point by using the center bust in a eye-catching color – lipstick red lacquer paint. How easy would it be to take an ordinary, ho-hum jewelry display, spray paint or paint it a bold color like this one, and use it as your center display?

Inexpensive, re-usable, and, best of all, an effective display!

What do you think? Thumbs up or too flashy?

Using Reclaimed Home Building Materials as Visual Merchandising Displays

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This week’s clever display design idea comes from the trash – literally. Since Spring is finally beginning to appear in many parts of the country, homeowners are starting to think of sprucing up their homes and this is a great time to seek out potential visual display ideas.

Shoe Gypsy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is this week’s featured retailer and several ideas can be gleaned from the image of their store layout shown here. You can see the whole story about the shop and their wonderful display ideas in the Spring 2011 issue of INSTORE magazine, the Dallas Market Center’s retailer-focused magazine.

Individual shoes (not pairs) are laid out in each of the window panes of this full sized door. Even the hinges are left on to add more character. The wood may or may not have been painted the sea foam green color but if it wasn’t already that color, it may make sense to paint it a fun color so the display pops even more.

The reason I love this display (aside from the fact that it’s a FREE idea if you can get your hands on a window-paned door), is that it gives each product its own space to feel special and for the eye to really pause looking at each item individually. Obviously this store is focused on shoes but the idea can be extended to jewelry, home accessories, smaller purses, you get the picture.

An additional element is that the door is propped up with cement cinder blocks and raised to a height just above a coffee table. On one side of the table is a comfy couch so when guests sit down to try on shoes, they are greeted by the shoe display.

Look deeper into the picture and you’ll see various items being used as ladders – including a wooden ladder showcasing boots but right across that ladder is a ladder/highchair with additional levels being used, once again, to showcase more shoes. Another great way to maximize floor space and add more products without your shop looking cluttered.

Have you used any interesting home building materials as clever and inexpensive visual merchandising displays? If so, please share them by either sending me an image or commenting in the comments section. There is no shortage of great ideas so let’s hear them!


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