Ideas for Children's Wear Store Displays
With a little creativity and imagination, you can turn your displays into fun dioramas that will capture your customer's attention, sell your merchandise, and add to your bottom line! It is interesting and fun for us to observe the effect that store displays have on our business. We love the challenge of seeing what display or a change in display can do for a product or outfit!
One very important factor in display is lighting (see article on page 39 for more lighting tips). You can have expensive mannequins and props, but if they are not well lit, they will not "come alive" in the eyes of your customers. Instead, they will just fade into the background. We have learned that good lighting is well worth the investment.
It is also important that the outfits on the mannequins are properly stuffed. We use either tissue or the poly bags from our garments to fill the sleeves, torso, and legs of the outfits we are featuring. The stuffing turns the mannequins into little people that look like they're ready to move! It is amazing what nice effects can be achieved with stuffing. Try putting movement into the mannequins by crossing the legs of the pants or placing arms around each other making them "buddies".
We always use many layers of garments on our mannequins. For instance, for a fall or winter display, we show turtlenecks or shirts under everything, and sometimes both under a sweatshirt or vest. We also try to have a hat or bow on every head. Often we will place a bow on the front of the hat. Show as many items as you can but be sure that the different outfits you are showing follow a similar theme or coloration.
When your mannequin display is finished, stand back and take a good look at it. If you're working on a window, step outside and view the display as a customer would walking by your store. Be sure to check the angle of the mannequins. Many times they look better at a slight angle to the window instead of facing straight forward.
Cubes & Platforms
Various types of child-sized mannequins, both stuffed and stick, have always been at the core of our displays; however, we love to use other items to add interest and whimsey to the normal routine. One display investment that we made was various cubes of different heights that we can arrange in clusters on which to place the mannequins. These work well for window displays and in-store displays. Cubes or platforms are especially important if your window does not have glass all the way to the floor and, as child mannequins are small, it brings the display closer to eye level for in-store displays. In the right space, a mannequin on a single cube "showcases" the outfit.
More Display Ideas...
When showing our new baby layette line, we use a life size baby doll as a mannequin and it attracts so much attention because it looks so real. Customers love to see how the outfits will look on a newborn baby, and the doll is a perfect way to show them. The entire layette collection is displayed in an antique wardrobe that has been modified with shelves and a pole to hang garments. Even the fabric-covered doors work as a display board because they are always kept open (with outfits mounted on them) to show the customer what is inside. Although store fixtures are the normal way to show merchandise, think beyond the "normal" and you might come up with some interesting antiques or furniture pieces that will work in your store.
Because most of our apparel is embroidered or appliqued, there is always a theme or focus to our displays. Once we decide which outfits will be shown, we determine if there are any additional props that can be utilized to add interest to the displays without taking the focus away from the outfits we are trying to promote. (Our goal is always for a "clean" display and never "cluttered". If there are too many things to look at, the customer might miss the merchandise you are trying to sell.) These additional props can be inexpensive items purchased at the local discount store. One of my favorite displays was a back-to-school window that we did several years ago. The mannequins were all dressed in related items from a group that had embroideries of yellow pencils. After the mannequins were arranged and outfits were adjusted, we scattered hundreds of yellow pencils all over the floor of the window. They added color, whimsey, and interest but kept the focus of the window to the outfits with the pencil embroideries that we were showing. Plus, we did not have to purchase pencils for our business for the next five years!
Another example of a fun window display was a Halloween theme. The outfits used were all Halloween funwear in black, white, and orange. With those strong colors, the clothes on their own definitely grab the attention of any passers-by, but we took it one step further and added little black eye masks to each of the mannequins. Then we went to the local craft store and purchased a couple of packages of black yarn and proceeded to create a giant spider web by stringing the yarn from ceiling to floor. The impact was incredible and it was fun to watch people just stop, look, and smile, and then come in to buy an outfit! The entire cost of the display was several masks at 25 cents each and two packages of yarn for $5.00! If you haven't carried holiday theme merchandise, you might consider trying some, just for display value. We have heard many retail store customers say that they were purchasing Halloween or Fourth of July merchandise just for a window display and then had to order more because it sold so well!
Most recently, to spice up a Fourth of July display, we placed large red and blue foil stars over the face of each mannequin-red on the girl outfits, and blue on the boy outfits. These mannequins were the "pole" type with flat heart shaped heads, so it worked well and added just a spark of festivity to what would have otherwise been a fairly basic mannequin display.
When all is said and done, and you have created the most beautiful and perfect displays, don't forget to utilize professional signage to complement your work and store! Many standard signs are available from the fixture companies at reasonable prices, or you can have them made to your requirements by a local sign company for a slightly higher cost. When having signs made, think them through carefully so you will have a sign that can be used again.