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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!

Valentine’s Day Display Inspiration

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that shoppers are browsing for the perfect gift for their special someone. Not only is this an enjoyable holiday for which to decorate, but window and visual merchandising displays can make a big impact on consumers who are trying to find gift ideas. Read on for tips for creating fun Valentine’s Displays that will get noticed and draw customers into your store.

Two is Better than One

Combine your winter and valentines display pieces. Nothing makes a red heart pop like a background of evergreens and snow. Merging Valentine’s Day and winter into a single display is a great option for retailers who are trying to save time and money.


Display props created by Retailworks, Inc. for Kesslers Diamonds

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Showcase your merchandise by using it as a display prop that is directly incorporated into your display’s design. For example, these windows use their merchandise as the sweet treats in a scrumptious box of “chocolates.”

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Enveloped in Love

Sometimes, the easiest and most affordable displays end up being the most beautiful. These displays used paper envelopes to create designs that are sure to remind viewers of the sweet, nostalgic feeling of getting a valentine’s day card in the mail. For more advice on making window displays with paper, check out our previous blog on paper displays here.

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An Old Fashioned Kind of Love

Give your shoppers a feeling of romantic nostalgia by creating a display using vintage or old-fashioned elements for Valentine’s Day. We love the black and white photos and vintage font used in the window displays below.

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Bee Mine

Get creative, and think outside of the box of traditional Valentine’s Day icons. If your concept includes a play-on-words, use signage to help express the idea.

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Visit our Valentine’s Day Window and Visual Merchandising Displays page on Pinterest for additional inspiration!





Mannequin Adaptations that will thrive in the Changing Retail Environment

As the retail environment continues to shift and change, retailers need to adapt to ensure their brick and mortar spaces will survive. Mannequins are a prominent element that can help both the exterior and interior of physical stores stand out. Read on to see how retailers are getting creative and making a statement with their mannequins:

Personality is Everything

By giving a mannequin personality, you transform it from a static object to a dynamic character living with your products in your store. Mannequins should be bold and make a statement in a way that relates to your customers. They look almost as good on Instagram as they do in-person, and thinking of them as characters with a story to tell will create an attraction buzzworthy enough for your shoppers to share on social media.


Tech Takes the Cake

To best reach customers, retailers need to interact with them on their preferred platform. Shoppers are attached to their mobile devices, and frequently use them in-store. Retailers are taking advantage of this by using mannequins with beacon technology. When customers are near the mannequins, they’re able to not only view the clothing the mannequins are wearing, but get additional details on their phones, such the cost of the garment and where to locate the items in the store. This technology provides a more seamless and interactive shopping experience.

Perhaps in the near future we’ll be seeing mannequins that use augmented reality to “switch” outfits, or even mannequins that directly interact with consumers.

Make a Statement

A mannequin is large enough to be considered a sculpture in your store, so why not make it artistic? Mannequins made with mixed media or abstract prints are expected to be frontrunners this year. Customize your mannequins with branded elements that will make an artistic statement in your store.


For help picking the perfect mannequins to make a creative statement in your store, visit our website. For additional inspiration, check us out on Pinterest.




Visual Merchandising: What’s Trending in 2017

With the changing retail market and advances in technology and art come fresh trends in visual merchandising. A new year is the perfect time to update your store’s look and keep your brand in the front of customers’ minds by incorporating up-to-date trends. Retailworks is predicting we’ll be seeing a lot of the following in displays this year:



Tech is increasingly being woven into the retail experience. Consumers constantly interact with their digital devices, so retailers can engage with them by bringing the digital space into their stores. Think touchscreens, kiosks, and responsive displays!

LED Tunable Lighting

Tunable light technology uses both warm and cool LEDs, allowing retailers to easily customize the lighting in their space throughout the day. Lighting has a significant impact on shoppers’ mood, so retailers who adjust lighting to match their desired ambiance will have a significant advantage.

Check our our earlier post on tunable lighting here.

Source: Topstalker


Sustainability is becoming increasingly important, especially for the millennial market, whose spending power is on the rise. Showing makes a bigger impact than telling, so get creative by repurposing common, everyday materials into beautiful displays.

Balloons and cupcake wrappers were repurposed to create this display at Anthropologie. (Source:

Balloons and cupcake wrappers were repurposed to create the display shown.


The millennial market is also leading a trend of focusing on shopping local and supporting small businesses. People are placing importance on returning back to their communities and their roots. Engage with consumers by incorporating tribal patterns into displays and encouraging customers to shop local.


Brass and Gold

All that glitters will be brass and gold this year. These metallic colors catch the eye and also reflect light, making any space more dynamic.

Custom winter window display created by Retailworks, Inc. for Kesslers Diamonds

The above window display was custom created by Retailworks Inc. for Kesslers Diamonds.


For help incorporating 2017’s visual merchandising trends into your store, visit us at Follow us on social media for more tips!


Sources: GearFuse, TopStalker,

The Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions every Independent Retailer should be Making – Part Two

Last week, we discussed five New Year’s resolutions that would help an independent retailer thrive in 2017 (click here if you missed it). If you’ve got those goals down, here are a few more to tackle for added success:

De-clutter, fix and update.

Grab your team and spring clean…now. Clean your desk, your inventory room and your store from top to bottom. Walk around outside and clean up the garbage. Sell any furniture or equipment you no longer need. Repair the broken fan in the bathroom. Replace faded signage. Paint that dingy, faded wall. Start the new year with a clean, fresh feeling.

Freshen up your social media.

Make sure you’re keeping up with your online presence. Update your profile and cover photos if it has been a while. Write down how many followers you have on each platform, and how many you’d like to gain by the end of the year. Be sure you’re responding to customers’ comments and reviews, whether positive or negative, on your social media pages.

Plan a vacation or time off.

It’s easy to resent your retail operation when you’re staring at its inside walls 60 hours per week. Figure out a way to take time off in 2017 and get away for a while. To make this happen, you’ll need to make sure staff is properly trained and available. Or be prepared to close your store for a week (if your lease allows it).

Reflect and Redo.

Hone your retail operations. Are your prices sustainable? Do you have the right people in place? Is your marketing plan effective? Is your bookkeeping set up correctly? A new year is the best time to reflect and redo.

Take care of your wellness.

Put your health first. Go get your physical. Visit your dentist. Check in with your mental health provider. Running a retail store is stressful. Be sure that you’re at your best so your store can be, too.


Don’t worry if you need a little help achieving your small business goals this year. We’re here to help – visit us at to learn more.

Image sources:,,

The Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions every Independent Retailer should be Making – Part One

Happy New Year! The craziness of the holiday season is coming to an end, and it’s time to start thinking about what you want for your small business in 2017. Do you want to grow 10%? Sell the business? Open a new location? Start a retirement account? Making the following New Year’s resolutions will help you become closer to achieving your objectives.

Write down your goals.

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Armed with a journal and pen, camp out in the back corner of a coffee shop and start reflecting. What went right in 2016? Be honest. What went wrong? Be even more honest. Write down what you’d like to improve and create a game plan with a realistic timeline. Take it one step further and tell your goals to your loved ones – those who share their goals externally have a 90% greater success rate.

Reassess all your third-party contracts and vendors.

While January can be slow for business, it’s also slow for third-party partners such as insurance agents, bankers, payroll specialists and more. They have new higher quotas to hit, so keeping your business will be important to them. Now is the time to gather all your contracts and review them. Can you lower your insurance? Can you renegotiate your credit card processing fees? Can you lower your credit card rates? Ask. Don’t be shy. If they can’t help, start looking at new partners or at the very least, collect new bids. When your contracts are up, you’ll know where to go next.

Set Up your emergency plan.

What if something were to happen to you tomorrow? Do you have enough life insurance so your family could pay off your lease, settle your debts and pay your employees? Would they have access to your bank accounts, landlord contact information, attorney files or tax records? If you were hit by an ice cream truck tomorrow, would someone know what to do on your behalf? Develop an exit plan so your loved ones won’t have an additional burden. Find a point person…perhaps someone who doesn’t like ice cream…and make sure they know what to do.

Start a SEP or savings account.

Start planning for a rainy day or your retirement. You’ll either experience the pain of doing it…or the pain of not doing it. So, you might as well pay yourself first. Talk to your local financial expert and discover what tax deductions you’ll earn. By the way, when you sell your business someday, prospective buyers will be thrilled to see you were able to provide for your future. A true selling point!

Get more involved with your community.

Join your Chamber of Commerce. Sponsor a charity. Attend a business expo. Volunteer with the local schools. Hire a college intern. Increasing your presence in your community will open doors, improve your visibility and create what marketing experts call the “halo effect.” People will be more likely to shop at or refer your business because of the warm fuzzy feeling your brand gives them.

Visit us at for help making your small business goals a reality. Click here to view the second half of this blog.


Image sources:,,

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