By  on February 13, 2009

When niche brands are hard-hit by a recession, what is a niche retailer to do? “There is very little margin for error in this economy,” says Robin Coe-Hutshing, founder and creative director of Studio at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif. That means many indie retailers are looking within for innovation, revving up in-store events and displays to offer consumers a sense of newness and present their brands in the most enticing light.

“There are ways to take everyday [beauty] products and present them in a new way,” says Claudia Lucas, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty for Henri Bendel, citing showcasing oldie-but-goodies in fashion displays as one example. Lucas notes that clients are bored with the now ubiquitous sale sign, which gives her an opportunity to attract them with innovative displays. She hopes an April exhibit on the history of fragrance will pique interest in the category.

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