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  • Welcome to the Retailworks Blog!

    Our close-knit team has over 250 years of experience in art, design, branding, visual merchandising & display, architecture, general contracting and cabinetry work. We're here to impart information that will make you think, laugh, and wonder. If you are looking to strengthen your "customer's experience", and increase traffic, sales and profit, then follow us. You'll never look at your environment the same way again. Read, learn, and enjoy!

AWWnings: Making a Charming First Impression

Your storefront makes a first impression to customers and those passing by, so be sure to always keep it looking its best! This is where your brand makes its first introduction, and it’s important to make sure it’s a good one. Awnings not only add a little extra pizzazz to the face of your retail space, but also provide dimension, color and polish.

Read on to see nine awning looks we love!


Awnings add a polished look to any storefront, creating clean lines that look crisp and inviting.

scalloped awning

They provide a place to introduce your brand and your color scheme!


An awning on either side of an entrance helps give a store balance and symmetry.


A fun, patterned awning can convey a brand’s personality before customers even step into a store.


Awnings can double as additional signage, and are also great canvasses to adorn with your logo.


One of the key elements of marketing is telling your brand’s story. Awnings create a space to sharing your story from the outside in!


In addition, they make your storefront three-dimensional and add texture to the building.


Awnings are both decorative and functional. They block sunlight from fading your product and furniture while still allowing crucial natural light to flood your store.


Because awnings are part of your store’s first impression, it is important to keep them clean! Make sure they are washed regularly. Your bottom line will thank you!

At Retailworks, we love sprucing up the exteriors of retail spaces, whether it be for entire main streets or individual store products. Visit to contact us for help with your next design project! To learn more tips and tricks for improving your store and increasing sales, follow us on social media.

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What’s Trending: Autumn Retail Décor 2016

We’re heading straight towards one of the best and busiest times of the year – autumn and the start of the holiday season! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning fall décor for your retail space. Read on to learn Retailworks’ favorite trends for Autumn 2016.

Painted nature

Give your pinecones, acorns and wooden risers a fun twist this year by adding a pop of color. This rustic trend is especially great if you’re working on a budget, however, multiples of your favorite nature items can also be purchased online. Gather some nature, mix some paint, and you’re good to go! Paint leaves and use them to create a print or brush color on the edges of pinecones and arrange them in a bowl as a centerpiece. Don’t forget that glittery acorns look great in a vase!

Painted Nature Blog

[The painted acorns on the far left were handmade by Retailworks!]

Pop of Pink

Put a twist to the typical fall color scheme by adding pink! A splash of this bright color will enhance your fall color palette and make your store stand out. Pair it with hues of orange, green and brown – the contrast of pink amongst the more natural shades will automatically draw your customers’ eyes.

Pop of Pink Autumn Blog

[The pinecones in the center were handmade by Retailworks!]

Utilize yarn

The cozy feeling that yarn elicits pairs perfectly with autumn – the temperature is dropping and the amount of hot chocolate being consumed is increasing. Use décor that makes your store feel warm and inviting. A vase of yarn-wrapped wheat amongst your merchandise or a yarn-ball ceiling mobile will help produce this effect.

Yarn Blog 2

Do a wheelie

Wheels add the perfect rustic charm to your array of fall décor. They make for unique display props that can be hung, propped up, painted and wrapped. Happy memories of hayrides and wagons filled with fresh-picked apples will fill your customers’ minds when they spot these props in your retail space.

Wheel Autmn Blog

Rare plants

Bountiful floral arrangements are well known for drawing consumers in, so be sure your fall bouquet stand out! Weave feathers, succulent plants or painted corn into your arrangement to make it uniquely autumnal.

Unique Florals Fall Blog

[The florals in the second and fourth panels were handmade by Retailworks!]

The Retailworks props used in this blog are part of our Seasonal Display Program. Call or e-mail us for more information on how to get this program into your store! We make holiday decor that your customers and bottom line will love.

Phone: 262.238.1860




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How Soon is Too Soon to Put Up Holiday Decorations?

The short answer is before Halloween. The majority of consumers are still enjoying fall in October. Those who don’t like winter are hoping to stave off the cold weather and the holidays that come with it as long as possible. So, appeal to the masses, and keep any hint of the “big” holiday out of your space until November. This includes Christmas carols!

So, when in November? If most of your business is done during the holiday season, then it is certainly important to decorate during the first week of November. Ideally, everything should be up by November 15th. This will still give you time to focus on getting shelves stocked, promotions polished and additional holiday staff trained before Black Friday.



The key to getting your store or business looking great without excess stress is planning. Depending on the size of your store or business, you may have to start thinking about your holiday décor the spring before. If you’re a smaller outfit, then starting your plan in September is okay.

holiday blog 2


Here’s a quick checklist to help you with your planning:

  • Determine theme (traditional, contemporary) and color scheme
  • Determine props (trees, wreaths, garland, oversized presents, snowflakes, holiday scene, florals, etc.) and create your shopping list
  • Identify who in your business will be responsible for doing what
  • Place orders and/or go out and buy locally (we favor the latter!)
  • Determine the date for installation and make it fun for you and your staff – order pizza, open wine, turn on some upbeat music. Some retailers will close early and decorate all night so customers come in the next day to a decked-out space!
  • Keep traffic flow in mind when adding decorations. Stores tend to get much busier this time of year, and there’s nothing worse than hearing CRASH because someone bumped into an inconveniently placed holiday tree.
  • There’s always a possibility of your fire inspection occurring during the holiday season (oh, humbug)! Be mindful when it comes to hanging ceiling decorations or blocking exits.
  • If your display goes up as early as the first week in November, then tweak a few things (if you have time) in the first week of December. For instance, change out colored lights, change décor around your cash wrap and add new graphics/signage in your windows.


The holiday season is often a mixed blessing for a lot of retailers. It’s a LOT of work, but the rewards can be great.

Stay tuned for our blog in early November on how to deal with the holiday stress if you’re a small retailer!

holiday blog 6

Display prop created by Retailworks!

Repeat After Me: Using Repetition to Create Eye-catching Window Displays

Sometimes, more really is more. That’s why this week, we’re excited about window displays that use multiples of the same item.

One paper plate, old paint brush or scrap of paper is often meaningless on its own. However, when one arranges several of the same object, they can create shapes, focal points and even movement in a design!

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 5.04.20 PM

In this display, the pinwheels’ repetition and bright colors create an eye-catching design that is sure to make consumers look twice when passing a store. Adding a small fan to the display would create movement, adding contrast that would further ensure a second glance.

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Several colored paint sticks hung from the ceiling form a multi-hued backdrop for simple merchandise. The same item is reused over and over again, but changing the color of the sticks results in a beautiful design.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 5.06.26 PM

Displays using repetition can turn a cheap object into something gorgeous, which can be very helpful when working on a budget. For example, this window features dozens of marshmallows hung from clear wire to create the illusion of falling snow without breaking the bank.

Blog multiples 5

A hundred grouped Polaroid photos add dimension in the photo above. Each individual picture is different, but layered together, the entire brand’s story can be told.



In this handbag display, arrows are repeated and arranged in a way that highlights the merchandise, creating a focal point that will immediately draw the eye. Attractive window displays are one of the easiest ways to invite consumers into a store, increasing the change of making a sale.



This design’s repetition of clothespins creates valuable movement, making a passerby more likely to take notice of the display. On its own, a single clothespin would just be a piece of junk. However, when creatively arranged, a multitude of clothespins can create a whole new design.

rw repetition

Retailworks is proud to have created this summer window display for Kesslers Diamonds in Milwaukee! At Retailworks, we love developing beautiful window displays and understand how to use repetition to suggest movement. For help with your next display project, or to learn more about us, please visit us at and follow us on social media!

Create beautiful, inexpensive window displays using only one key product: Paper!

Window displays are crucial for attracting consumers to your retail space. Not only do they provide free advertising, they help set the tone of your brand before your customers even cross your store’s threshold.

Whenever you need a fresh idea for decking out your windows, you can turn to paper! It comes in many forms, and almost all of them can be used creatively to design bold, colorful and captivating window displays. Paper is easy to find, easy to manipulate and easy on a budget.

Mackinac Window DIsplay

Our Social Media Strategist enjoyed this fun window display featuring colorful papers in Mackinac Island, Michigan. Strips of pastel paper hung from clear wire create a whimsical display, making the store’s merchandise stand out.

envelopes window display Merch Mart

Our founder spotted this intriguing window display at Mart News. This is a great example of how paper can be used for decorating no matter what form it comes in. Envelopes arranged in a vibrant color pattern make a statement and add dimension, livening up the display.

sticky notes window display

Paper is an excellent option when you have a large window space to cover. It can change the shape of your window display and control how much light gets into your store. Post-It Notes arranged in in the shapes of different profiles draw interest and, in this wavy pattern, create movement, which is a proven method for grabbing attention.

wreath window display

Switching out your window display for the holidays can be pricey, but not if you use paper as your main attraction! This display incorporates the theme of gift giving by using gift tags as its paper product. Paper can easily be overlapped to create texture as shown in this cheerful display.

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Another great thing about using paper in your displays is that you can use recycled materials, as well as recycle your entire display when you are ready for something new in your windows. This will help your business be more eco-friendly, a value that may be important to several of your customers. Anthropologie always provides wonderful display inspiration, and we love their window display created from the pages of recycled books!


If you’d like help creating a custom window display for your store, whether it be made from paper or any other materials, visit us at! We can help you showcase your brand and increase sales by designing a window display that will draw consumers in. For more display inspiration, follow us on social media.

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