I Do Windows

Help a reader out!

Posted in Inspiration, Learn from the Pros by Arcadia on May 22, 2012

Dear readers, below is a question sent to me from a fellow visual merchandiser, with a tricky situation.  I decided to post it here while I ponder my own response.  Please post your comments or advice on how a fellow reader can solve her dilemma.  Thanks!

Hi Arcadia,

I have recently moved to the southern hemisphere AND very recently landed my first VM role having previously been a buyer for a department store chain in London. I have been reading your blog for the last few weeks and have found it really useful in helping to prepare me for my new role.

One thing that’s been on my mind since starting my new career (and new life) in New Zealand is Christmas! It’s in the middle of Summer here and I just can’t think how to portray strong Christmas windows and in store display when everything that I would normally connect with Christmas (snow flakes and icicles, cosying up by roaring log fires, wrapping up warm in coats and gloves and scarves) won’t be relevant here. Do you have any tips or suggestions on pulling together strong themes and display for Christmas in a hot climate?

Many thanks


I will say  – the first thing that comes to mind is does it have to be a “wintry” Christmas?  Why not do “fun in the sun” as a Christmas theme.  I know many folks who travel to the islands, mainly Hawaii during Christmas, trying to escape the cold.  I need to think about this some more, but I and Emily would love to hear your suggestions.

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5 Responses

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  1. Janice said, on May 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Arcadia,

    You were kind enough to provide me with your advice two years ago when I landed my seasonal VM job at Nordstrom! I still follow your blog and thought I’d add my suggestion for Emily.

    What would Christmas be without presents? Forgo the winter wonderland. All stores have planned items or brands they want to push for the season. So let’s say that the little black dress was the push (in time for the holiday parties), adorn the mannequin with a small gift box upon the head, as if she was wearing a pill box hat. Or for high fashion mannequins use a stack of 3 graduated sized gift boxes as a statement hat. How about the use of a New Zealand Christmas tree bloom as a mistletoe and a pair of mannequins with presents behind their backs?

    String lights also scream Christmas. You don’t need a decorated evergreen to express the Christmas spirit. Bare branches wrapped with twinkling lights always gives me that holiday feel.

    If Emily is crafty, she could take literal holiday items and fashion them out of something appropriate to the location i.e. a wreath made of starfish or seashells.

    Emily didn’t mention specifically what she would be merchandising. So these were my broad suggestions.

    On another note, I did get that job offer after the seasonal stint at Nordies. I had to turn it down since my priorities are with my pre-school aged daughter. It was very flattering to be offered the position and I had to really think hard about turning it down.

    Thanks again and I hope these were helpful suggestions for Emily.

  2. Dimity said, on May 30, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Don’t be afraid to have the classic christmas elements there… trees, snowflakes etc.
    I work in Aus for a major department store and all our collateral uses snowflake inspired graphics and our windows for christmas… although embracing the summer feel occasionally are predominantly traditionally themed.
    Our customers prefer the traditional ideal of christmas… the modern elements and summer feel need to be light on or they don’t feel christmassy enough….
    hope the insight helps…

  3. judi townsend said, on June 17, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I suggest you look at window display boards on Pinterest for inspiration. Our company, Mannequin Madness has window display boards by category – Xmas, Valentines Day, Halloween, Wedding, Jewelry etc which you might find helpful. Of course all of the window displays we like have a mannequin in them 😉 Here is the link: http://pinterest.com/mannequinmadnes/

  4. Calix said, on July 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    My company Mannequins For Sale (http://manneqins-for-sale.net/) has seen tons of window displays over the years, and I agree with what Janice said above. String lights are such a great way to get that “christmas” feel. You don’t need to use the multi-colored ones either. Here in Downtown LA, they have string lights draped on one of the streets year round, and they always make me feel like it’s December!

  5. Sandra said, on September 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I agree with a few other posts, that Christmas is Christmas. Do some research on Christmas in your area…I did a quick online search of the area and it seems to be celebrated and decorated quite similar to anywhere else, other than it being a tropical area. Santa is front and center as he is everywhere, holiday cards, tree decorating, family dinners were all mentioned as New Zealand’s main concerns at holiday time. I also agree with lights, lights, and more lights! Can never go wrong with strings of white lights and green, red, and white everywhere!! They have a national Christmas tree there as well, that could be incorporated as well as beach themed displays with that tree and the three holiday colors (that they also use there, they just mean different things). If all else fails, just use a lot of stacked gift boxes to suit whatever the display (ie: colors, textures, patterns in your ribbons and wraps)….I do believe they still give gifts on Christmas in New Zealand. 😉 I’ve done displays in the southern U.S. as well as the north, it’s the same no matter where the location really, just have fun with it and be your creative self! All the best!

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