As the holiday season approaches there is always the anticipation and excitement of decking out your retail space for the holidays, but that is often accompanied by the stress of planning and knowing exactly what you need and where to place your holiday decor.
Below I’ve shared my three simple styling tips for seasonal transition. I hope these are helpful and bring a little more holiday cheer to your visual merchandising and decor!
First, what I recommend not to do (but what we have all done as retail business owners):
- Do not over decorate your retail space. Find decor that enhances your inventory not distracts from your product. It is easy to go over the top when it comes to holiday decor (trust me, I am that person) - but, when it comes to spreading holiday cheer in your boutique, I always recommend finding the perfect balance between holiday fun while also keeping the focus on promoting your inventory.
But how? I know it is easier said than done. Keep the decor focused on backdrops, large display items like trees, ladder shelving, thin side tables and stacked gifts for product display, to name just a few. I also recommend sticking with hanging decor and in contrast, floor decor like snow in the window displays to enhance the soft winter ambiance.
So often we start adding more and more "tchotchke" decor elements and it can have a negative effect on the customer's shopping experience when these little holiday decorations start stacking up too heavily on our tables, cash wraps and counters
- It clutters the space and takes away from the product instead of promoting it. It truly is exhausting for a customer to sift through the “for sale” and “not for sale” items, which leads me to number two.
- Customers often mistake them as “purchasable.” The worst thing you can hear in your favorite boutique after “We’re sold out” is “That’s not for sale”. Having bummed out customers is not a great way to promote a happy customer relationship or get them in the holiday shopping spirit!
- It can make the sales floor feel cluttered and disorganized. There is truly nothing better than walking into a highly organized and well-spaced boutique. During the holiday season, this is one of the many reasons why people (myself included) prefer to shop local opposed to large, oversized and typically highly disorganized big box stores.
Second, I recommend making it easy on yourself and your staff during the busiest time of the year with simple swaps you should consider:
- There are tips and tricks I love sharing with customers and boutique friends that make seasonal changes simple and more fun! My first and favorite trick is “permanent placement.” These are those decorative accents that you can change up, but the base, hooks and holders stay the same. This may sound simple, but time after time I have seen monthly display windows get complete re-dos costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you have a large enough team and budget to do that, then that is fabulous, but realistically that is not an option for the majority of small business owners. Now don’t misunderstand, I do love fresh (and at times elaborate) displays, but if you are doing a monthly refresh, I bet you’d rather put that profit elsewhere and save the creative time and headache for your 1,000 other small business owner tasks. So let’s maintain the quality and beauty of displays while finding new ways to make styling easy.
- My most simple recommendation for “permanent placement” store styling is as simple as it is effective and that is utilizing tall floor vases. It is incredible how much of an aesthetic difference a full floor vase makes! This is a simple addition to easily bring depth and texture to a space. Find a neutral vase with a beautiful silhouette and swap out pre-made florals for every season. This is also an easy way to freshen up with new arrivals swaps and monthly display updates. For example, dried pampas grasses shift into bouquets of textured wood sprigs with rich velour autumn leaves and then transition into fresh evergreen and holly branches. Remove the holly and add shimmering “icy” branches for a dreamy mid-winter look. We’ve very simply mapped out a plan for a gorgeous floral display that was easy to place on our sales floor/window while also invoking the feel of each season between August through February.
Third, I recommend making planning not just a passing thought, but a necessity for maximizing your brand's aesthetic elements and profits:
- Pre-planning is key to meeting budgets and important timelines. I know the majority of boutique owners understand how important this is, but it is very rare that I come across a customer or client that has the time to research, price out or even come up with the creative energy to execute the full window display and sales floor design that they are envisioning. These visual elements instantly communicate with your customers about your brand. When displays and decor are rushed customers notice and it reflects poorly on products and storefront presentation. With all of the meticulous time and love you put into your store, inventory needs to be showcased in an environment that elevates your product and does it justice. Don’t let this vital element to your boutique’s growth go unplanned. We recommend designating the design of window displays or sales floor decor to a talented sales associate who has a little extra time to assist in planning or contact our design team at www.BoutiqueDecorandMore.com to have one of our team members assist you or your team in creating the perfect decor solutions for your boutique style and budget. We are here for you, and always happy to help - from simple placement questions to full scale window design!
Questions, comments or thoughts? Drop them below in the comments. We would love to hear if this was of help to you or if you have some fabulous ideas you’d like to share with fellow boutique owners. We love our boutique communities and supporting you is what we are here to do!
Wishing you a very merry & blessed holiday season,
Jessica M., Creative Director