over50feeling40: My Day As A Retail Display Designer!
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Aug 10, 2011

My Day As A Retail Display Designer!

Could it be possible that despite the wrinkles, the backaches, the hot flashes, the bunions, and the economy that people really are happier over age 50?  According to a Gallup Poll released last May and reported in this New York Times article, it’s true that more adults just may be experiencing joy and not stress as they age.
I know for me the stress has lessened simply because I have been able to return to some of my first loves as my children left the nest.  Now, I have the time to do things just for the fun of it…like I did yesterday.
Blogging has taken me into the community and brought me a new group of friends on and off line.  One of those is Marilyn Caskey, owner of my favorite resale shop Garment Exchange.  Marilyn is a single mom of two and a small business owner trying to make it work for her family.  To say she is overworked and overwhelmed is putting it mildly.  The minute she shows up in her shop she is confronted with moving merchandise and processing merchandise and all of the logging and billing with her consignment customers and purchasing customers.   I thought she could use some encouragement and assistance, so I volunteered to re-do some of her displays…just for the FUN of it.  And it was fun!!

Basic retail marketing tells anyone the importance of window and storefront display….her mannequins were sad little women who just needed some loving attention.  I had a blast perusing the store and styling outfits for the window which were trendy and geared more toward fall.  I made sure they included accessories with shoes or boots and even discovered a Jimmy Choo Bag hidden on her purse rack.  She really has some great designer pieces in her store and I suggested a vintage chalk board to list daily items in the window which might draw the customers in.  She sits near two restaurants and does have decent foot traffic going by especially close to meal times, so such a board with a great window look could be very important for her shop.

I do have to add that working with those mannequins is NOT easy.  They fall apart just when you do not want them to and will not hook back together when you do want them to…I can see why working with them might hit the bottom of a list of things to do.  After I worked the front window, I fashioned a front display table with a Western Chic theme…she had leather jackets, denim, belts, fabulous boots, and western leather purses which styled a beautiful table.  At the top, I found a gorgeous Nicole Miller original….I put the straps down on it, puffed out the bottom, and tied a fun bow on the side. 
All I did here, was take add the scarf and the fun
shoes and move it from inside the store to
the window.

I loved this Betsy Johson skirt, but the style
did it no justice. So I have a purple T which
matched a stripe in the skirt, and took off
this black T.  I added a fun denim jacket on
top of that with a long, thin necklace. At the
bottom, I selected some booty, strappy heels
and on top a black messenger leather bag.
It is currently in her front window

Glare madeit hard to photograph, but I added five
well dressed girls...to replace three sad girls!
I added lots of accessories where none were

Becoming a window display designer for a day was so much fun!!  Hopefully it blessed her…because it certainly blessed me.  This was something I would not have had the time to do as recently as last year….but this is my first year without my own children in school activities so I plan to have more FUN!
If you could go out today and do something really out of your box, what would it be??

Of course, what help would I be unless I relieved her of
some merchandise!!  I took these boots and the bracelet
below home with  me!!  I also took home a great scarf
you will see in future posts.


  1. Pam, I think you found your second (third?) calling! I love the displays you thought up, and I loved the suggestions you gave Marilyn--especially the chalkboard to write about "daily specials," that is a genius idea. If I was stepping out of the box today, I think I'd want to be on set somewhere, doing costume design for a film. I think it would be an exciting challenge. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Pam, you did a wonderful job! Your displays are so fun and would definitely have drawn me into her store. And your idea about the "daily specials" chalkboard was inspired.

  3. Wonderful job, Pam! You are so multi-talented. You have a great eye, and know how to add zip when it's needed. I wish this store were around the block from me, b/c I would be there today! Love your new goodies too.

  4. You did a great job! Especially if you haven't had any retail merch experience. It looks like you are blossoming and there's no stopping what you'll do in your 50 plus years!

  5. You did a terrific job,Pam!!!!
    As a former retail gal and mannequin co-worker ;), they are very hard to move to your groove!!!
    I so miss dressing up the ladies! So gald you had fun and maybe you've given me an idea to ask some folks if they'd like a re-do for fun,too!
    PS, love those boots!!!

  6. You did an awesome job and man, I ADORE those boots!

    If I was going to do something out of the box for today, I would go be a floral arranger for the day - you know, make floral arrangements at a shop. I took a class in it once and loved it.

  7. pam, i am so blessed that we crossed paths. your help yesterday was so very kind and today i actually have a spring in my tired step. my store looks much brighter and i can't wait for your help again. thank you for your suggestions and for taking pride in my store. please know i will pay it forward when my kids are out of the house and i have more time on my hands to give back like you did yesterday. you are inspiring!
    Marilyn Caskey

  8. You did is great Pam, the window display is great! If I've to do something of out the box I would...I can't choose, they're many things I love.

  9. What great ideas and how much fun you had! I would love to dress windows too. I remember fondly doing real "window shopping" in the 60's and 70's when store's really did do display windows beautifully. You are so lucky to have a store like that in your area. Thank you for sharing your fun with us.

  10. I'm kind of a debbie downer these days. I am 53, and I am single, and I am more stressed than any time in my life. I was laid off, and I am terrified that I won't be able to find another job because of my age. Once my unemployment runs out, then I'm really not sure how I am going to be able to afford health care. I almost at this point feel like going without it because I have to spend $7500 before I can even put in for copays. I can get a lot of health care for that kind of money (I mean doctor's visits). Maybe just get an emergency type coverage that would cover hospital stays. That's scary. But then, I am like what if? I don't qualify for anything, and every time I read the news -- they just want to push the age for qualifying for Medicare or social security even higher. I have time, but I would much rather be working. I dunno ... today has been kind of a rough day for me ... I try to keep it off my blog, but it still.

  11. I love the displays that you created. They look great and make me wish I lived close to this store. She has awesome merchandise. I always thought it would be fun to be a food stylist. Arrange the food and table settings, etc. for cookbook and magazine photo shoots.

  12. Those boots that you bought are really cute.

  13. Cute mannequin styling! I bet it is hard to work with these plastic ladies - what with them falling over all the time or coming limb from limb!

  14. Hi Pam! I am happy to read that your are back to yourself! you did a very good job. Working with mannequins is not easy, i did some window display for the thrift shop at the YWCA and it was lots of fun but not easy. Your western display is fab you do not see that kind of display in Montreal.

    Take care your friend from Montreal - Ariane xx

  15. Styling those windows looks like fun.

    I'm sure if it's your shop and you've got a gazillion things to attend to it's just an item on a list. Just like running a restaurant is a lot more than sitting around with celebraties suggesting they try this or that wine from your cellar.

    You'll have to check back with her and see whether it helped sell items.

  16. how fun! i would love to be able to do that! i actually considered visual merchandising years ago...i think it all started with the movie mannequin!



Thanks so much for joining in our conversation today! I appreciate your time and love hearing from you!