Creative Merchandising With Gayle Maccia

Stuck in a Display Rut? Improvise!

Sometimes it’s hard to get creative with merchandise you see every day. That is what makes a display artist’s approach so different. “Let me give you a peek into my mind’s eye,” says Gayle Maccia of The Style Ranger. “If I were creating a fall-themed window, I’d think, ‘What comes immediately to mind with fall? What do I think interests customers at this time of year?’ That’s the most important question,” she states. “What do I think of? The colors of fall, and then perhaps how things are crisp and chilly.  The branches are bare, leaves are falling, the days are shorter, and the skies change.”

Once these images come to mind, Maccia underscores the theme with merchandise. “I start thinking about the theme when looking around in everyday life. I believe that is another personal secret of a good window dresser, taking the most ordinary things that everyone sees and overlooks, and then spotlight them. Look at how Andy Warhol gave emphasis to everyday objects such as Campbell Soup cans and Brillo,” she says. “Hey, there’s a great idea for Chrome lights: stack boxes of Brillo in the window ala Andy Warhol!”

According to Maccia, there are many things that can be done to create interest and visual appeal. “Themes for displays are fun and often work best,” she remarks. “For example, let’s say you wanted to use magic as a theme. How would I do a magic window with lighting? Well, depending on the physical window I’d be working with, we could fly all the lamps in the store window as if they were levitating magically and have a seated mannequin look like a genie,” she suggests.

“Don’t forget to use proper spotlighting in the window, especially if lighting is your business. You must be on top of this,” Maccia warns. “Composition is another important component. Balance is not always good; sometimes there is something special in a deliberate imbalance. Use your personal eye and style, and ask others for input — no one person is a genius! The best stores have creative employees that work together as a team,” she concludes.

Creative Merchandising with Gayle Maccia

“When styling this photo shoot for Brides magazine in New York City, we set the table and it looked flat. I ran out to Canal street to Industrial Plastic and got some small round mirror pieces to add some life,” Maccia explains. “I needed a third size and they only had two…so I improvised and got a ladies’ room emblem and snapped off the small heads for the tiny mirrored pieces, making this a more impactful image.”

Read the full length article with Gayle Maccia: Seasonal Display Ideas With Gayle Maccia

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