Industry News

Merchandising: Getting Crafty

September 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

As you may or may not know I work in a specialty outdoor shop where I also merchandise the store regularly as part of my job. I don’t have much of a merchandising budget but that’s okay because it forces me to be resourceful.



The other day there I saw this TV commercial  (cant remember what they were selling) and this little boy was dressed up as a spaceman for Halloween with gobs and gobs of tin foil wrapped around his snow boots to make them look like futuristic moon boots. It was endearing and nostalgic and made me think of my childhood costumes.  Creativity is at your fingertips and is a key factor for generating interest and buzz about your store.


Me dressed as a cat for Halloween, circa 1970 something.

In my car at all times are zip lock bags, scissors and a tarp as I scan the landscape looking for stuff. I’m not sure what I am looking for, but that is half the fun. I’m not a serial killer, just a borderline hoarder. I do find things here and there that I deem suitable for a creative window display – and I find them for free.

Case in point – the other day I was driving back from a hike and saw rows of cattails and pretty fall looking grasses along the side of the road.

They are expensive to purchase from the craft store, plus these look more natural. So with scissors at the ready, I pulled over and cut a nice assortment. With some floral foam purchased from the Dollar Store, I made these and will use them somewhere in the store. Cost? Two bucks.


And the best part is that if I don’t want to use these again I can organically dispose of them back to nature.



Recently I came across an interesting concept incorporating recycled clothing next to full-priced clothing in two very different shops. Call it vintage, repurposed or consignment; offering gently worn clothing right next to brand new products is an idea I found intriguing. Sure, I’ve seen stores that have separate consignment areas, but placed next to new styles I found this a great service to offer your regular customers. Plus, if I save some money on something recycled, I can justify buying another item at full price. Plus, this keeps customers coming back to see what’s new for “used”.


Recycled clothing sold side-by-side full priced product at a specialty outdoor store. The sign prices items per category, i.e. women’s shorts and skirts are $20.


And at an Anthropologie store, you can shop for “found and collected” vintage pieces that feel hand selected just for their customers.

So I’m not sure if I inherited my grandmother’s penchant for saving bits of string and other small, random items that may be of use some day. Maybe it’s a tinge of social responsibility or maybe I am just a hoarder. Getting crafty whether it’s in our window displays or new ways to sell outdoor clothing and gear – is a never ending mission but really important in remaining relevant and competitive in retail these days. 

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