Do you have any constraints in your store that prevent you from displaying/merchandising your product the way you would like? How do you get around it?

November 18, 2012

This month's We Asked Board members shared their problems and solutions.

Alison Anderson of A. Dodson's:

A. Dodson's is an old cottage that's been renovated into a shop. Although it gives us lots of charm, it also gives us some constraints. One in particular is low eight foot ceilings in our Garden Room. Always looking to turn a negative into a positive, we covered the Garden Room ceiling in hanging ivy and branches and then intertwined twinkling lights to make the low ceilings feel warm and magical and cozy. As a result, the Garden Room is hands down the favorite room for most of our customers. And we've been able to merchandise so much with those hanging branches!

Liz White of Mason & Madison:

We just moved our store into a new location over the summer. We went from a bright, airy, and contemporary commercial space to a house! The historic home was built in 1712 and was turned into commercial space six years ago. The biggest constraint we faced was the facade. Along the first floor, the windows were small. The front facing side of the house had four small 2½'x3½' hung sash windows facing the street. We replaced them with four 4'x4' plate glass windows. Getting rid of the mullions gave us much more visibility. The second thing we did was add large awnings over the windows and installed lighting under each. The light floods down and illuminates the windows. The awnings really made the front of the store "pop" and framed the windows nicely, drawing attention to the displays in the window. Lastly, we added text to the windows and lettered the top half with each of the categories we carried in the store This allows our windows to "talk" to passersby and let them know we carry so much more than what the window displays may be showing at the time.

Diane Silverstein of Absolutely Fabulous:

In 2009, I more than doubled my retail space. I created some of the windows as enclosed spaces, allowing freedom of creation in a three-dimensional way. The largest window left me a challenge: a dark, oddly-shaped space that housed an extraneous entry door. I got around this by turning the door into a light box that houses our name and hours with stencils and LED lighting. The door was also made non-entry.

The harsh lighting in our store was transformed by painting the ceiling black (to reduce the fluorescent glare) and contacting Southern California Edison, who kindly provided all of our creative lighting for free, as part of a State initiative! The back of our store was the greatest challenge with a pie-shaped window and two door entrances. One door was made inoperable, but the window is a challenge. It is not enclosed, so it is more difficult to create a self-contained world. As our popularity has increased, our counter space became totally insufficient. This year I have placed two full-service customer service counters. No dead sales space for us, though: slat board on the front, jewelry cases on either side... wire grid has become my new best friend, along with lighting, lighting, LIGHTING!

What are your constraints and how have you solved the problems?