Your boutique shop doesn’t need a big-box-store-budget to look appealing to customers. Good design and a little know-how can go a long way toward creating a space that’s visually interesting and inviting. While you may draw inspiration from the beautiful, and expensive, window displays of 5th Avenue, there’s no reason why your shop has to spend an absurd amount of money to get creative. In fact, having some constraints on your display budget can even be a good thing, as it forces you to look at an object in a new light and take inspiration from the world around you. That kind of creativity has the potential to draw customers into your establishment.
Read on for some tips and tricks to refresh the look of your store on a dime.
Start with what you already have
The key to maintaining your decor budget is to only buy new items when absolutely necessary. That’s why you should start with the pieces you already have. Take an inventory of your display racks, tables, mannequins and anything else you’ve been using over the past year. Assess each piece for wear and get rid of anything that is broken beyond repair. However, if you think you can save an item or get it fixed, then by all means try do so.
Next, focus on store layout. Sometimes refreshing the big-picture organization of your boutique can be just as rewarding as changing individual design elements. The book “Retail Management” explained that different types of retailers need unique layouts. A large department store, for instance, may make use of a single large aisle, like a spine, from which smaller aisles branch out. A boutique that only sells handbags, however, might use a free-flow pattern, that makes use of several islands, around which customers can freely walk. Another kind of boutique might keep most of their products along the walls of the store, leaving an open space in the middle. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the aim of the retailer.
Experiment with different layouts and watch how shoppers move around your store. Do they get stuck anywhere? Does one section feel cut off from the rest? With a little patience you will discover which layout best lends itself to your store.
Another way to save your budget is to focus only on a few eye-catching accent pieces. Whether you’re going a minimalist approach or simply want the main focal points to be on the merchandise, a few well placed accent pieces can balance out the look of your store. Our C3 custom color mannequins are very appealing to the eye, and you can get them in your store’s signature colors. Placing one in your front window can grab the attention of passersby. Our bulldog forms are another cute and affordable way to add some pop and personality to your boutique. If you want to add some depth and color to your jersey forms, consider getting some form covers that match your theme and color scheme.
Browse the flea markets
You can find all kinds of great display materials at flea markets, garage sales and antique stores. From vintage signs to unique props, this is one of the most affordable ways to refresh your decor, especially if you do so frequently. If you try to change your displays every month, the costs of doing so could get out of hand. But by using found objects and inexpensive materials, you can get really creative with your display ideas.
Bob Phibbs, a retail expert, recommended using a tactic he calls “the pig in the window.” The basic concept is that you would create a typical window display featuring your sale items, then finish it off by inserting a random object into the scene. Phibbs gave the example of adding a stuffed pig to a display of kitchen accessories. The random element is meant to attract the attention of passersby who might otherwise walk right past your store.
When using found objects, try to use them in unusual ways. An antique lamp can become a jewelry display or you could hang bar stools from the ceiling. Use the unexpected to your advantage. Pretty soon, shoppers will be coming by just to see what you’ve come up with next!
“Community involvement is important, especially for new businesses.”
Using local art in your store is a great way to get involved in the community. Think of it as cross promotion – you get to have beautiful works of art in your store for free, and the artist gets the exposure it provides. You could even let the artists sell a few pieces from your store, or you could commission a few pictures that represent your store’s themes and mission. Community involvement is important, especially for new businesses. It shows the local shoppers that you’re looking to give back to the neighborhood and become a trusted merchant.
Another option in this area is to use recycled objects to create new visual displays. There are tons of inspirational ideas on Pinterest and other social media sites. For example, you could use old doors, steps or wood siding from dismantled houses to create unique and textured displays. Let out your inner craftiness as you look over recycled objects. Doing so will help the environment and create some really beautiful displays.
Good design doesn’t have to be expensive. Let your creativity run free as you decide what your next display will be. Decor doesn’t necessarily have to be premade. And if you don’t have the time to craft your objects, ask a friend or hire a local artist. Adding these objects to a few of our display racks or tables will create a visually appealing environment that draws in customers and makes them want to stay and have a look around. If you have fun with it, the shoppers will have a great time exploring your store.