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By: Ali Levy
October 24, 2012

Merchandising ideas for the retailer
Tips from merchandising guru, Ali Levy,
They say every picture tells a story. The same can be said for well executed mannequins.

Mannequins have the ability to transport us to places for a moment in time (unlike products on a website that are one dimensional.)  Pass by one window and you are suddenly schussed off to the slopes of some fabulous ski destination vacation. Inside the store upon spotting another grouping of well-placed mannequins, you imagine yourself relaxing after a long day on the hill – by the fire in a cozy sweater or fleece reading a good book or playing backgammon – or treating tired feet to some luxurious fuzzy slippers that you simply must have NOW!  The key to merchandising is creating “the story” – the over-used and not used enough term for showing customers how to use a product the proper way in the proper environment – whether they need that product or not. This includes but isn’t limited to multiple layering options and accessories that encourage impulse purchases.

There are, however, do’s and don’ts when it comes to mannequin selection and presentation.  The one display item you should truly invest in is mannequins.  Sturdy, functional and easy to change – these are all things to look for.  There are plastic and cloth models. Cloth forms are nice because you can style clothing using t-pins. Plastic are handy because they provide a rigid frame for clothing.  But they don’t come cheap. You can easily drop up to $600 on a mannequin with arms and legs and a hat attachment. Truthfully mannequins with limbs show clothing better but you can get away with torsos though if your budget is more like $100 by stuffing them with tissue paper. Below are some examples and tips on creating your perfectly merchandised mannequin story.

Source list:  below are some of my top picks for good quality and wide selection in styles and pricing. (site is currently under construction but you can contact them via email at

Of course you can search eBay for deals and any local stores going out of business and selling their wares. Mannequins can really help grow your business. Every picture tells a story and investing in mannequins will help you tell them to your valued customers; time after time and season after season.

You need to be careful how you style mannequins. I saw this one and thought “wow – that man has really wide hips!” and would be turned off by the entire display. Keep proportions in check with an average sized male. Most mannequins – depending on manufacturer will take a medium or 32″ or 34” waist. Any bigger and you can clip them in the back but risk having extra fabric make the proportions look off.

Read entire article here.