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‘Tis the Season

Make sure your store is the place to shop for quilt related gifts this holiday season. Check out this quilter’s buying guide for ideas on what to add to your store.

  • Travel steam iron. Not only is the quilter in your life going to love this gift, but you’ll stay well within budget with this item costing just $20.00.
  • Foldaway cutting mat. Whether you quilt on the go or occasionally at home, storing this foldaway mat won’t be a problem (and is the best part about this gift).
  • Quilt organizer. This gift is going to take a little bit of intel to know what exactly your recipient would use the most. Do some investigating to find out what your loved one is wanting or what they already use.
  • Quilt caddy. Organizing is the name of the game this holiday season, if you’ve got room to splurge package this gift with the quilt organizer to make your quilter’s day.
  • Thread. A classic gift never goes out of style and is guaranteed to be something they use (and need).
  • Quilt starter set. Definitely targeted to the younger crowd, this gift is to inspire children and grandchildren to get in with mom and grandma on all the fun.
  • Mini quilt kit. Give an easy project to keep your loved one busy this winter with a kit to make a mini quilt. If the quilter wants to share the love they could easily regift this mini quilt, too.
  • Rotating cutting mat. Long time quilters will have no idea this is what they’ve always been needing, surprise them with this new take on a conventional tool.

Figuring out what the best gift to give someone can be one of the hardest decisions around the holidays. Make sure your store helps to make the process easier for customers.


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Holiday Window Display

Can you believe it’s that time of the year again? The holidays will soon be upon us and the spirit is already in the air.

It may seem too early to start planning your holiday window display but by the time Thanksgiving comes it’ll be too late. Here are some window display that really stand out:

  1. Lord & Taylor: Less isn’t more, more is more! With 9,000 feet of garland, foliage, and lights, of course this window display takes the cake. Not to mention the hand carved statues of dancing raccoons and smiling polar bears, kids and adults alike found this display a delight.
  2. Barney’s: Another nod to childhood, this window went with the theme of love, peace, and joy, and we’re able to capture that in three iconic pieces. (What word do you think the featured photo is trying to convey?)Barney's new york
  3. Bloomingdale’s: This display had all of the lights. Visual artists created different chandeliers that were auctioned just before the holidays with the benefits going to charity. Although this display stacked third on the list, it wins in community mindedness. (What a cool idea—how could you include a charitable component into your holiday display?) bloomingdale's
  4. Tiffany & Co.: Simple can still be beautiful. Of course you could expect something like that from Tiffany’s, but keep in mind what brand your store has. If you’re known for going big, it’s okay to keep it that way. Tiffany & Co
  5. Saks Fifth Avenue: Think Candyland meets the Nutcracker, this window display captures the magic of the holidays with its breathtaking, beautiful, and perfectly executed curation. Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 7.28.07 PM

I know our small businesses don’t have near the time nor the resources as these big-name companies do, but I hope this list gets you in the holiday spirit. Happy decorating, and have fun!

*Note: These displays were featured in New York stores in December of 2016. Photos courtesy of Jetsetter.


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Create your online presence

Now that Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday have all come to a close, you can take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for surviving the busiest week for retail stores every where.

And as you prepare for the continuing busy holiday schedule, one thing to keep in mind is your online presence.

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Developing an online presence can be intimidating; especially if your business has never had one. But one sure way to ensure you are getting the most success during the holiday season is ensuring your website and social media are as on-point as your store.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Plan ahead. Have a goal and outline for what you want your website to look like. Think of it as how you plan your store; your business’s website should be clean, welcoming, and easy to manage. Try to follow the three-click rule, meaning you shouldn’t have to click more than three times for customers to find the information they need.
  • Write. Write your own message but keep it short and simple. Feel free to use calls to action and advertise what sales you have going on. Make sure you tell customers what you can do for them even if you don’t have an online shopping option.
  • Seek help. Designing a website isn’t easy, but it is so important in today’s industry, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The most cost effective way to build a website is through a website builder rather than hiring a designer. Check out this article for an in-depth review on which website hosts are the best for you.
  • Keep it professional. Make sure your website is heavy on visual content; but most importantly, make sure you’re happy with the product! Take your time building the website and try to keep your online brand as consistent as the physical store.
platforms
Another important tip is to test your website on a variety of platforms. Ideally, your website should be transferable to all three. 

I realize the holiday season isn’t the best time to make a website, but with the new year comes new goals. If you already have a website, now is the perfect time to freshen it up! Creatives love to create, think of working on your website as another outlet for your creativity.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

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Winter Window Display

Continuing the theme of Heidi’s iDiscover chat—scheduled for next week on the topic of store design—is the often-overlooked window display. Believe it or not, window displays are still a vital element to retail merchandising. Outlined are tips to get you into the holiday spirit to spice up your window display; and maybe even attract some new customers during your town’s annual holiday festival.

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This window display does a great job at varying height and keeping the product featured at a minimum. Plus, the simple design reflects the company’s brand.

 

  1. Plan one month in advance. Many winter open houses are already less than one month away, but no worries, the sooner you start planning the easier (and more polished) your window display will look. This means sketching your idea, gathering supplies, and having a plan B if your craft doesn’t exactly pan out.
  2. Clean your window before you begin. Just because you don’t think anyone else will notice those dead flies sitting in the sill doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean your window! I know taking the old display down and storing it for next year is  a daunting task, but a clean window is the foundation for a stunning display.
  3. Have a focal piece. Preferably one of your more-pricey products, but try to keep the number of products in your display to a minimum. Be sure this piece is kept at eye level to grab your customers’ attention.
  4. Layer. Multiple layers of height will add more to your display than you realize, even if your design-style is simple and sleek. And don’t focus on blocking the view into your store, this just gives customers a peek into what they’re missing out on.
  5. Forget the “Sale Sale Sale!” signs. One sign should be plenty to get your sale across. Instead, focus on being consistent with your theme. Plus, the more crafting you get to do, the more fun you’ll have getting this project out of the way. Maybe a customer will even ask how created what you did (aka the ultimate compliment for a crafter)!
Bear
The time spent on this bold window display is evident; don’t be afraid to go big—just start planning now.

The holidays provide plenty of inspiration for what to include in your display, the hard part is deciding on how to narrow that down. Don’t be afraid to be daring; this is your business’s chance to show off just how awesome you really are! Think of your store’s window as the pitch to get customers inside.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.