Arrange Your Visual Merchandising With Care and Precision
By Mackenzie Nichols
The store has four full-length windows, two on either side of the glass front door. The structure of the shop itself is quite brilliant. Two of these windows open out to the street and allow customers to walk in and out from three different entrances. During the summertime, these doors are constantly open to create a fluid atmosphere that is inclusive of both the storefront and the merchandise inside.
What really inspired me while working for Fern was the owner’s attention to detail. Each morning, I would first take out three wooden carts and a wheelbarrow. “Put them at 45 degree angles!” the owner would say. Very precise. One shelved cart would go at the far left of the storefront, the wheelbarrow would go to the left of the front door, the largest wooden cart would go to the right of the front door, and the last cart would go to the far right of the storefront. Next, I would place the fiddle leaf ficus trees, the dracena plants, and the mass canes behind each cart to create a foundational backdrop for the rest of the merchandise.
The fresh cuts build the storefront. Buckets of alstroemeria, mums, and more expensive flowers, such as oriental lilies or gloriosa stems, line each side of the wooden cart. In front of these buckets, there were shorter gerbera daisy buckets placed side-by-side, creating depth and variety. The next addition to the storefront: the petite plants. These four-inch plants live in larger cardboard trays, set either lengthwise (to create more space) or portrait style (to take up more room).
To disguise the cardboard, we placed three or four plants side by side in front of it. Each tray contained a different plant: bella palms, pothos, ivy, croton, and so on.
There was a core belief behind the chaos of setting up in the mornings: make the storefront look like an arrangement. Each section must reflect a semicircle of lusciousness. The fullness of fresh cuts and plant foliage was key to attracting customers.
I can’t tell you how many times a customer passed by the shop and exclaimed at the beauty. A storefront reflects the merchandise inside the shop, and illustrates the owner’s and employee’s knack for attention to detail. It shows a certain passion, and gives the customer a sense of how their product will look. It gives the customer an opportunity to pause from their busy day and treat themselves to an arrangement or a plant. My advice to employees and shop owners looking to attract more street traffic would be to start from the outside of the shop, take the customers by surprise, and show them that you’re there — and you’re beautiful.
Mackenzie Nichols is a floral designer for Tiger Lily Weddings in Charleston, South Carolina.