realistic mannequin with ethnic features

This is another article written by retail design specialist Linda Cahan that is loaded with useful information for anyone purchasing a mannequin for a retail environment. Linda has 30 years experience in visual merchandising and store design for traditional department stores, specialty stores of all sizes and types, and large corporations.

We love Linda because she says what we would LIKE to say about mannequins, but if we did people might think we are just blowing our own horn because we sell mannequins for a living. This way we have a neutral party, with extensive retail experience sharing her knowledge to help your create a fabulous retail environment.

Here is what Linda says about realistic mannequins versus dress forms:

The image of your store starts in your windows and is defined by the forms or mannequins that display your merchandise.

Your customers are people of all ages, sizes, shapes and personalities, while a mannequin can show only one type of person in one size, one position, one age and one attitude. Finding the right mannequin to represent and attract all your customers is a real challenge yet; the right mannequin can establish the image of your store in the minds of your potential customers.

A high quality realistic mannequin that both reflects your image and gives your customers an image they want for themselves is well worth the effort. Ultimately, the choice between realistic mannequins and forms is up to you, your image and budget. The plus of realistic mannequins in your windows is that they give you the ability to tell better stories. Forms need a lot of fussing with to allow them to tell a story. In order for a form to look more human, it needs a head.

Realistic mannequins in the window combined with great forms on the selling floor are an excellent visual presentation combination. Know you image and your customer and from there, deciding how to work with mannequins and forms will be much easier.

Imagine you are a potential customer. You drive past a bridal store everyday on your way to work and they seem to have a lot of dresses lined up in the window on some type of forms. One day, out of curiosity, you check out a different store. As you drive up you see one mannequin in the window. She has dark hair in a chignon with a long veil trailing along the window floor. Her dress billows out beautifully while she stands in ladylike and refined position. She projects grace, beauty and poise and your desire is to look like her as you walk down the aisle. That is the power of a good, realistic mannequin.

A bad one can look more like one of the cast in “March of the Penguins” or “Leaving Las Vegas.” If you plan to create your image starting in your window it pays (over and over) to invest in a great mannequin. Depending on your budget and the size of your window(s), have two or three. If you can’t do that all at once, add one a year. It’s fine to use forms inside the store.

An important word of advice: never combine forms and mannequins in a window. The illusion of a mannequin is that it’s a real person. When you mix it with headless forms they both suffer in comparison.

Mannequins impact customers by giving them a look to aspire to. Basic forms show just the clothing without imparting a feeling or image. The more interesting the form, the more chance you have to create an image. If your realistic mannequin looks cheap it will reflect directly onto the merchandise. If the form is tacky, so is the dress in the eyes of your customer.

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13 years ago

In particular with Bridal, Prom, Special Occasion-I did display windows at two special occasion shops literally across the street from one another with near identical merchandise. One shop insisted on using her newly purchased french type dress forms for her windows-great idea, employees could easily strip the forms quickly-not hair to muss up etc.

The store across the street favored mannequins-we did it up right with fresh refurbished mannequins, hair styled in the latest up-dos with proper make-up for special occasion-using full mannequins that could “set a scene and hold props, bouquets, corsages, flower baskets etc.

Even though I provided props and scenery to tell a “story” in both shops the one with the realistic mannequins drew more traffic and not surprisingly to me more sales!! I think Norm Glazier of Patina-V is right when he said that “mannequins stir up the adrenaline in the customer to say to herself-“I can look like that”.”

Works like a charm!!!!

6 years ago

– We met you and Jon for the first time at the Wedding Show and I have to say your stall was the one which sticks in my mind the most claerly and beautifully of any we visited, and we visited most of them. I LOVE what you’re doing with your collages and it was a real breath of fresh air to visit with some truly creative, original artists in amongst all the craziness of the show. We definitely plan to have you do a collage for us and you are now a strong contender for doing our photos too. Great to meet you!(We were the couple with the Etsy pendants)

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