Mind your P's & Q's


My sign & promotional offering pet peeves… and remember this is coming from a Veteran Visual Merchandiser who has worked in corporate marketing … I was once the person who made up the promotional offerings!  BUT, I still believe that people need to be happy with their purchase… a lesson I learned from a very smart lady, my FIRST retail boss (about a billion years agoJ).  As a store manager in a world of ever increasing sales goals & making plan, she taught her staff that you never tell someone that a skirt, or shirt, or pant looks good on them just to make a sale.  She wanted us to sell people merchandise they really liked,  then they would become return customers and tell their friends…. And now she is the VP of a national retail chain.  I think of her & her wisdom often and I know that she is one of the reasons I have ethics and high standards today.

At first, retailers tried to trick us into thinking we are getting the deal of a life time … 50% off…(actual sign says: UP TO 50% off) or $4.99 (actual sign says: STARTING AT $4.99) with the key lettering so small you had to use a magnifying glass to read it.  I think we all know this tactic now days and I often over hear customers ask for clarification before they get to attached to anything on the rack –“ is EVERYTHING? 50% off?” .

AS customers are appearing to be well versed in promotions and how they work, the signs are becoming more vague.  As retailers want to save printing cost and everyone is so aware of what goes into our landfills, marketers have started printing generic signs that are to be used several times over.  Now stores are putting up signs that best explain the promotion, but are often technically wrong.  Example, they will put up a sign that says ENTIRE STORE 50% OFF ~ when in fact they apply only the racks that are signed  or TAKE AN ADDITIONAL 50% OFF when the merchandise is regular price so it is in fact just 50% off not and additional… MY REAL BEEF AND INSPIRATION FOR THIS BOG ENTRY IS WITH AMERICAN EAGLE WHO KNOWINGLY PUT MERCHANDISE ON A SALE RACK, MARKED IT ALL AS AN ADDITIONAL 40% OFF AND THEN WOULD NOT GIVE ME THE ADDITIONAL SAVINGS…

You know I am not new at this, I always make sure that an item is not the only one on the rack because, yes, customers move stuff… and there was at least 5 more of these in a variety of sizes –that means the staff in the store placed the shirt on the rack and I should be able to purchase it at the price listed on the sign……. Instead, the sales person rudely said “yah, NOoo – not all the stuff on that rack is an additional 40% off… So,ooo, do you still want it?”.  I decided to decline as it was not the price I had intended on paying, and then I heard an ill-mannered sigh as I turned to leave the store.  Well, if the store marketing team & the merchandisers did their job, the sales person wouldn’t have had to go through the extra effort to void the sale *sarcasm*.

Thank You for letting me rant…and reading it to the end! lol

Have a wonderful day & wishing you all happy shopping experiences!

Laurie Kron


MY Spring Fashion week 2011… LA to New York

Part 1 Fashion Island

Despite all my throwing around of the word ‘LA’,  we actually spend very little time in the actual County of Los Angeles  – we spend about 5 weeks a year visiting with our friends who live in Orange County California and MAYBE a day or two out of that we drive through or go into LA for a day… we don’t even fly in & out of LAX anymore -we use the local airport  – it’s great!  We can be on the freeway within 20 minutes of landing at the John Wayne Airport – we can’t even get our bags at LAX in that time! 

As a Visual Merchandising Consultant I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration for store layout, merchandising, displays and window design.  This morning I woke up early and wandered around Fashion Island in Newport Beach.  I fell in love with this mall a few years ago because of its outside shopping center style and the large cabana style seating areas – not to mention all my favourite stores.

Unfortunately, today I only had my husbands 7D camera… not exactly a discrete camera to take photos where you are not supposed to… taking photos in a store or mall is a BIG NO-NO, security often acts like it is illegal… I’ve been given the choice many times to either put away my camera or be escorted out of the store or mall, so I have learned to be careful not to get caught… and this time I didn’t get may good photos… I, like all the other visual merchandisers, marketers and designers have to pretend we are checking messages on our Blackberries to snap a photo on our phones or gather in groups to hide the camera to quickly grab the shot… we all steal ideas!  I remember working in catalogue marketing years ago and we would order the competitors catalogues & flyers so we could look through them for ideas on layouts and product shots.  What was really great was when we see our ideas being recycled in THEIR catalogues!  I took it as a compliment!  and I still do today – I saw Lululemon using MY idea in their window this winter!


I just LOVE these Anthropologie widows – they made two dresses out of drycleaner hangers! The widow doesn’t have any of products they actually sell but it’s so creative and fun!




I LOVE Kate Spade…

But.,. even with a great marketing campaign:

Colour is a cleaver thing.

It makes the world bolder, brighter, better….

I still can not embrace the florescent colours… twice.  I was part of it in the 80’s and I will not be participating this time around.

 This was not the only store I spotted the florescent colours – they were EVERYWHERE… i am beginning to think i might have to come around on this one and pull out my oversized Frankie goes to hollywood RELAX tee. 

But those aren’t merchandising & Display trends… stores are still selling though the winter stuff , so today I spotted lots of sale windows still… as the new product comes in the windows are starting to transition into wonderful spring inspired themes.  RENOVATIONS are a HUGE theme this year… in ladies & men’s fashions… do you find that odd too?   

Many of the stores had ladders, paint cans and one store went as far as a pile of staircase spindles and mannequins were planted amongst them – it wasn’t a particularly attractive window and me with my BIG camera, I didn’t want to get kicked out by taking THAT photo.    


This is just one of its nearly 40 restaurants in Fashion Island… there’s also a CheeseCake Factory!!!!  I love that it feels warm to me but they have the patio heaters on for the native Californians!

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