Visual Merchandising expert Paula Taylor will lead Winter Institute 14’s Small Business Management Seminar “Design for Strategic In-Store Merchandising,” an intensive, three-hour deep-dive into key strategies and real-life applications of traditional and nontraditional visual merchandising (VM) techniques.
Taylor is a fashion and retail industry executive, visual merchandiser, and consultant who owns and operates Paula Taylor Productions, producing local, national, and international fashion shows as well as pop-up shops and trunk shows. Her career has included visual merchandising for nationally branded retail stores, independent boutiques, and pop-up shops around the globe. She has worked with many iconic brands, such as Bill Blass New York, Betsey Johnson, Mercedes Benz, and Project Runway. She is the author of How to Produce a Fashion Show from A-Z (Pearson) and is working on a new publication that will provide workbooks for use in day-to-day visual merchandising.
Bookselling This Week recently spoke with Taylor about visual merchandising and her upcoming educational session at Winter Institute.
Bookselling This Week: Your background is in fashion, retail, and visual merchandising. What interests you most about the book industry? How do these interests intersect for you?
Paula Taylor: I believe we are in the midst of a retail revolution like we’ve never seen. It’s time for all channels of retail to connect, with a wholistic approach looking toward other industries for inspiration and collaboration. I think booksellers are one of the most affected retailers facing changes in our economic environment. The consumer is fundamentally shifting from the way they view books and reading. I see this as a great challenge and opportunity for visual merchandising to be at the forefront of change. Studies show the new generation of shoppers (Gen Z) are attracted to connection, touch, and feel as part of their shopping experience. They refer to it from time to time as a “vintage experience.” Booksellers are poised to be the leaders in attracting these shoppers.
BTW: What aspects of visual merchandising will your session focus on?
PT: I approach visual merchandising as a conceptual process that is based on theory and strategy. I will focus on the premise that one must approach VM strategically, as it is a key component to the success of any retailer. It cannot stand alone. So, rather than focusing solely on display techniques, I will provide tools to empower the retailer with a deeper understanding of the fundamental role of VM and how to create displays with specific intention and goals. Pinterest boards, blogs, and creativity in-store can develop amazing and unique displays. The bigger question I ask is how and why will this display support your end goal, which can’t be sales alone.
BTW: What do you hope booksellers will take away from the session?
PT: Specific strategies and techniques that strengthen their ability to display and use visual merchandise with purpose and intent, as well as the ability to ask the right questions and target directly the potential consumer.
BTW: Who is this workshop geared toward? What types of learners would this be best suited for?
PT: Great questions! I think it’s geared toward anyone interested in understanding the role of VM in the new retail environment, especially active learners willing to participate in an exploratory dive into the importance of display.
This seminar will take place in the Cochiti Room in the Albuquerque Convention Center from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22. Pre-registration is required. There is a $45 fee per person; space is limited. Attendees must be attending Winter Institute 14.
Winter Institute 14 is made possible by the general support of lead sponsor Ingram Content Group and from publishers large and small. See the full Winter Institute program here.