Spice up your store displays—and your winter sales—this February with a little love-inspired decor. It’s easy to celebrate Valentine’s Day in this business. Take it from Deanna Magrane, owner of Dance In Dancewear in Oakdale, NY. “I love that Valentine’s Day works well with the traditional dancewear color, pink. And ballet makes me think of romantic things,” she says. What’s more, come February your customers are ready to shop again. “People have recovered from Christmas,” she adds. “They are shopping for competition and starting to think about recital.”
A new display will help to ensure customers also leave with a little something for the dancer they are sweet on. Look around at what you have already—with a little creativity you can turn almost anything into a Valentine’s Day display. Here, we share a few of the best props and tips for creating an eye-catching display this month.
Tip: Group your pink and red merchandise together.
Waterfall racks with rows of pink, magenta, red and white leotards will quickly get your customers thinking about Valentine’s Day. Beth Misek, owner of Attitudes Dancewear, Etc., in Wichita, KS, even has a feature wall made out of tin that is painted pink. Last February she hung light and bright pink leotards on that wall and placed pink-spattered dance booties on the shelf below.
Misek also added love-themed dance apparel or accessories with heart details to all the displays in the store. “Throughout the year, when we receive merchandise with hearts or ‘love dance’ themes, we save it for our February displays, so that we have enough to build on throughout the store,” she says. “Cute leotards, skirts and shirts with hearts, for example, become prime centerpieces.”
Must-Have Prop: A tabletop tree
Don’t pack your holiday decor away just yet. If you have a small tabletop tree, you can remove the Christmas ornaments and decorate it with heart-shaped ones. Misek used a gold wire and jewel tree form on her checkout counter. It is not shaped like a traditional Christmas tree, which makes it easier for her to use after the holiday season passes.
Tip: Shop your local craft stores.
You can keep your budget low by looking for inexpensive holiday items for your display. “I go to places like Target, Hobby Lobby or the craft store first, see what they have new for the season that inspires me, and put together the window displays from there,” says Erin Wigzell of Saratoga Dance Etc. in Saratoga Springs, NY. “Garlands and paper products are easy materials to work with. Garlands especially add a lot visually to a window with minimal effort. I keep a budget, usually around $50.”
Must-Have Prop: Valentine’s Day cards
Pretty pink and red Valentine’s Day cards make a beautiful backdrop when they are clipped to lines and hung across your front window. That’s what Wigzell did in the windows of Saratoga Dance Etc. last year. “I found the cards as a boxed set along with the string of lights at our local Target,” she says. “The bright colors were what drew me to them. We have large hanging frames in all our windows that make it easy to create fun and seasonal backdrops. I attached thin florist wire to the frames to hang the cards in horizontal rows and then hung the lights in front of them. We luckily had the perfect leotard, tutu and belt that color-coordinated with the cards.”
Tip: Organize a sweet sale
If you have merchandise that’s moving slowly, adding it into a pink and red display during a sale or event can speed up sales. Magrane likes to get her customers’ attention with catchy phrases, like “The Sweetest Sale” or “Gifts With No Calories!” To drum up extra traffic, she often will hold a pointe shoe decorating event at the same time.
Must-Have Prop: A box of chocolates
To avoid a melty mess, re-create a box of chocolates with cardboard, an old egg carton and some cupcake wrappers. That’s what Magrane did for her Valentine’s Day window display last year. “I painted the [upside down] egg cartons to look like candy, and I wrapped some in foil,” she says. “In the back I put batting and glued red satin on that, and added a big bow.” A large heart was the focal point of the display, and many people remarked on it, she says. The rest of the window featured mannequins in bright red and pink leotards with pink tutus and floral ballet skirts. Magrane says the chocolate box was such a hit that she packed it away carefully to use again.
Tip: Create a frame around a simple window display to make it stand out.
For her holiday windows this year, Holly Bertucci, owner of The Dance Bag in Modesto, CA, created snow globes by taping six-foot circle-shaped stencils she had made out of butcher paper to the window and spraying around them with snow paint. Behind each clear circle she placed mannequins dressed in Nutcracker costumes that a local professional company was getting rid of.
You can give this snow-globe window display a Valentine’s Day twist. Swap the Nutcracker costumes for pink and red leotards, dresses and tutus, and stencil large hearts around each item. Add a few extra hearts to make the message hit home.
Must-Have Prop: Window paint
Use tempera paint and a sponge (a brush can leave too many streaks) to create love-filled designs in your windows. Add hearts, Xs and Os, or another love-inspired message.
If you don’t trust your freehand drawing skills, search for window decals. For example, UK-based SirFace Graphics sells reusable clear vinyl window stickers with heart shapes or “Love” on them. You can also look at your local craft store for white spray paint that is specifically made for creating snow and ice on windows.
Remember, February is a short month, but you can increase your sales and make the most of the slower winter period if you think creatively and put your heart into your Valentine’s Day store displays.
Photos courtesy of the retailers