It has been reported that people's dreams have been far more vivid since being quarantined. My husband and I compare notes on our dreams nearly every morning as we too have been experiencing intense, colorful dreams most nights. A couple of nights ago I had by far my favorite dream since all this mess started. I'll get to that in a bit.
While the renovations of the new store have stalled, my focus on merchandise, and more importantly, merchandising has intensified. After over thirty years in Visual Merchandising I have strong opinions about what brick & mortar stores need to do to be successful and why so many just aren't.
1. Merchandise-has to be unique to you, not found on Amazon or at other small/large businesses up the street. Items must spark a memory, make you smile and/or feel like a treasure.
2. Create an experience worthy of your customers' time. The environment needs to be unique to you and to your customer. You simply can't be most things for most people, and you must reward them for getting dressed and making the effort to visit you.
3. It needs to be personal, personal for you and personal for those visiting you. People want to support other people, especially those with a vision of making the world a better place.
Now...back to the dream. I was visiting friends in what I believe was part London, part Georgetown D.C. We were shopping in an outdoor marketplace that was located just over a stone bridge. It was a beautiful summer day, blue skies above, perfect temperature. As we entered the market I saw many vendors set up in separate booths. Each booth was merchandised in the most unique way and I was fascinated taking it all in. I had never seen anything like it, but I knew this is was what retail needed to be.
I awoke desperate to remember every detail. How shirts were hung and how fixtures were made from unexpected items that were more art than vessels. The welcoming smiles of each owner/curator/host, as we navigated the booths warmed the spaces and encouraged us to linger. Of course my memory soon faded, but I had a realization, I had merchandised those spaces. It was in me. I find inspiration in many things I see throughout the day. I am a visual learner and I relish in problem solving. When I first started in Visual at Nordstrom I was a "Props Person" which is someone who was responsible for everything in the display windows minus the fashion and styling. I've always been, and continue to be a "Props Person", seeing things for what they can be and innately knowing the best way to complete a project.
I so look forward to bringing my dream to life. To being that welcoming person you meet when you come through the door, the door we chose with the brass anchor door knocker I screwed on myself. It is my hope that the merchandising will entertain you in the same way I was in my dream. I look forward to surrounding my new friends with not only unique finds, but with music that reminds me of Sunday mornings in the summer and to being a place unlike any other, yet hopefully feeling inviting and familiar.
That is my dream.