I am a huge fan of the window displays at Anthropologie. Not only are they visually appealing but they frequently use recycled materials.
Anthropologie windows prove that you don’t need a huge budget to create eye-catching window displays. Creativity and good execution but not a big budget.
A recent blog posting by Kate Pruitt, a former display coordinator the Anthropologie stores in the Bay Area, has useful ideas to assist any retailer improve their window displays. Below are a few excerpts and you can read the full article here: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/04/biz-ladies-window-displays.html
Thinking Outside the Box: You may run a business with a storefront where you wouldn’t consider putting display: hair/nail salons, restaurants, massage therapists, etc. But challenge yourself to look at your window as a customer would and think about what they see when they look in…is it compelling? Consider investing in a beautiful hand painted sign or sandwich board, or placing an unusual or amusing display in your window that relates to your services.
There are two mom-and-pop stores in my neighborhood – a grocery store and a hardware store – that manage to thrive against their big box competitors – Safeway and Home Depot – which reside almost next door. I’m convinced it comes in no small part from the fact that they both have a rotating monochromatic display of mundane, everyday products that creates a strong graphic impact and charms the customer. Crowds gather to see these windows…at a grocery store! Don’t underestimate the power of visual impact on the average passer-by.
Make a reusable sketch: Between installing displays, take a photograph of your windows when they are clean and empty, and have it laminated at a copy shop. This way you can sketch compositions with a dry erase marker many times over. It should last you at least a few years, depending on how may times you change your display. It’s also a good idea to have dimensions of your windows, floors, etc. on a sheet so you don’t have to re-measure.
Manpower: We can’t all create the gingerbread fantasy at Bergdorf’s or a post-it mural like the one at Barney’s. But intricate displays that show how much work went into them do make an impact, and tend to amaze and delight. If you want to create an elaborate display, but feel that time is too big an obstacle, consider throwing a party with your crafty friends and buying them pizza.
Or better yet, make it a community event. Can you team up with an art class or an after school program and teach kids how to make paper flowers? I know what some of you are thinking: exploitation of those little hands. To which I say, you are too cynical! Provide some juice (we have unlimited juice?!) and all the supplies, and I guarantee the kids will have an awesome time. Plus, they get to see their work on display (please put a sign crediting them in the window).
You get a chance to be involved in your community, and they get to know you and your business better, which is how local commerce should work. That being said, simple displays also have a powerful beauty to them. Switch it up to keep you customers coming back to see what’s next!
Rethinking Everyday Materials: There are a lot of mundane (and inexpensive) office supplies or household items that can be reworked to create awesome displays. Always keep your eye out and think about what works with the style of your shop. If you need a graphic, modern display, consider using tape to create abstract, linear designs. Masking tape now comes in an array of colors, and has anyone seen the work Rebecca Ward did for the Kate Spade store in Tokyo, with gaffer’s tape? Wowza. If you need something with an organic feel, consider using cheap raw fabrics like muslin or burlap, or items with nice texture like egg cartons or salvaged wood. If your display needs to be vintage or whimsical, think about using old school pencils that you can buy in bulk, or finding old clothbound books at thrift stores or recycling centers.
Sometimes prowling ebay or yard sales for great props (old crates, vintage jewelry or kitchenwares, a vintage dress form, etc.) will pay off; you can re-use them in multiple seasons and if you plan ahead, you have time to wait for a really good deal. Sometimes a great prop can even become the cornerstone of your store’s identity and inspire your logo if you are just starting out. No matter what your style may be, there are some inexpensive materials out there to fit your aesthetic and compliment your products/services if you keep your eyes and mind open.
New and Used mannequins for your window displays can be found at www.MannequinMadness.com