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Retailers | Summer Merchandising

Niki from Birch Michigan & Pentwater Candle Company gives us a look into merchandising the shop. What's hard to display? Tips for creative blocks and much more is unpacked in this Q&A!
birch michigan unique merchandising, pillows in antique bathtub | Foreside Home & Garden Blog
Image Credit: @birch_michigan
What is your most unique or crazy merchandising solution? (something unexpected!)
Niki:  I have an antique Amish bathtub in which I display some of my pillows. I also have an antique stove that I display kitchen items on. I'm not a utilitarian person. I like to find unexpected items to create displays. I've even been known to use old farm parts to display home decor items in!
I also like to hang items from the ceiling in brick molds or baskets. Gotta use up all that real estate!
birch michigan storefront window with hanging decor | foreside Home & garden blog
Image Credit: @birch_michigan
What advice would you give a fellow retailer who is feeling "stuck" with their display?
Niki: I would say utilize height by stacking or layering. I like to place crates or trunks on larger tables to create more unique merchandising space. Or place a bench or chairs on my window counter, using them as additional display space. I believe layering makes items look more interesting. I also use all the dead space under tables or shelves, by filling baskets with extra plants, pillows, or throws. (No real estate goes unused in my shop, trust me!)
birch michigan store display, vintage painting and candles | foreside home & garden blog
Image Credit: @birch_michigan
What items or pieces do you find you use often for building displays or merchandising?
Niki: Crates, baskets, wood boxes, old books, and wicker, wood, or brass trays. Anything to add additional space, height, or texture.
What props in your merchandising work best for your product? Favorite greenery or prop that helps the customer envision pieces in their home?
Niki: I add faux floral, plants/greenery, or succulents to every vase and pot in my store. My store is completely merchandised, so I don't simply have rows of the same items. I have vignettes. I feel the vignettes help people visualize how they can use the item in their own home. I also keep taper candles in all of my candlestick holders. I think it helps people visualize the actual height, as well as what it would look like in their space.
birch michigan store display, plants with greenery | Foreside Home & Garden Blog
Image Credit: @birch_michigan
What are your hardest items to merchandise? If you have a solution, please share!
Niki: Round coasters! They are always coming untied. I usually have to re-package them by putting a square piece of cardboard under them with small slits on each side to catch the jute twine. I also struggle with tea towels, just for the simple reason that people think they need to shake every one of them out, then wad it up and throw it back in the basket or worse, on the floor! (side note: Older women are notorious for this. The same women that I'm quite sure would go bananas if someone went into their linen closet and randomly started unfolding all of their linens!)