My client sheepishly made what she thought was a strange request. "Can we have animal heads for the store mannequins?", adding that she loved it when the big department stores did that for Christmas. Well, of course I said yes. That discussion lead to the idea of a Wonderland, minus Alice and all the trappings of red hearts, cards and royalty. It would be a Spring garden party.
Within the Spring soiree, I designed and created some "Drink Me" potion filled bottles, an "Eat Me" faux cake and arranged it all among a scattering of staked chairs. All of the chairs, including the upholstery were painted with a tried and true homemade chalk paint. One dry, a glaze of pastel color washed over the upholstery to give it a fresh Spring feel. Continued.....
The animal masks needed to fit the mannequins snuggly, so the process of creating them began with my wrapping a head in bubble wrap and saran wrap to protect it while I applied plaster. I then stretched felt over the wrap, taping and zip tying it to stay. A healthy coating of plater of paris was applied onto the felt and nuanced to be smooth. This gave me the base for the paper mache. After a coating of paste wax to ensure easy removal, strips of paper and tissue were applied with glue. Features were roughed in with styrofoam and tape wads and applied to the mache with hot glue. These areas were again coated in mache.
One of the few nods I gave to the Wonderland theme was the addition of clock hand and key garlands. These were cut out on the studio laser from 1/8 inch plywood faux painted into mixed metal and rust tones. The components were connected using hog ring pliers. The hog rings are like giant necklace links.
A cake was made from foam coated with Plaster of Paris adorned with silk flowers. Chalk painted frames were decorated with the flowers as well.
Studio made rustic clocks were added in key areas to center and draw focus into the display. The bottles of potions were suspended down from hanging shelves.
I think the trim evokes Spring, implies Wonderland and seems magical with the addition of the animal masks. I'm happy and most importantly my client is very pleased.
I've been designing the company's stores and all of their fixtures and visuals for 23 years now. The power of the visuals and the store design has help elevate the store's brand to where it is today. In this competitive world where it's too easy to order online, hit the strip mall or big box, a brand's identity and the customers experience is of the upmost importance. You must give the customer something to hold as a gold standard. It could be any combination of things, but it must be more than just opening the door for sales. In this store's case, Willows provides quality clothing at affordable prices, is on trend for women of various age and body types. The customer service is top notch and (wink wink), it has some pretty fun seasonal displays if I may say.
If your brand needs a refresh. If your store needs a makeover or you're just not sure what gold standard to bring about to elevate your customer experience I am available for consultations and projects. Reach out on my contact page and tell me a little about your situation. I'd be happy to be part of your brand success.
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron
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