It’s all in the presentation: Visual Merchandising for Fashion!

It’s finally here my copy of Visual Merchandising for Fashion the labour of love of Jonathan Baker and his co author Sarah Bailey. Knowing how hard he has worked on it and the multiple amendments that were necessary I wish to congratulate you both on bringing it to fruition.and getting it released.

Visual Merchandising for Fashion provides a 360 degrees view about visual merchandising with chapters about display design basics, space planning principles to the future of Visual Merchandising There is a chapter in there for every retailer and retail professional with beautiful sharp  images of retail environments to compliment the advice being given.

Many small businesses believe that they know all they need to know about visual merchandising and categorise it as simply about making something look pretty, this books challenges you to think again and educates you to a deeper understanding of this very creative yet highly competitive industry.

As if I wasn’t thrilled to receive my copy of the book, a few days later I received my Invitation to the book launch. Presented in a branded tin of M&M’s. Attention to detail was evident in the choice of coloured M&M’s. with such precision and consideration with the invitation you can begin to understand why this book needs to be part of the retail industry reading curriculum. Happy reading!











Happy New Year

A happy new year is wished for all our clients and everyone else who continue to support all our creative business endeavours. Whether you have liked what we do, re-tweeted our post or shared a link every bit counts!

May 2014 bring everyone wealth, health, success and happiness in it’s truest form

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” — Helen Keller











The right group: RedBorder joins Revive & Thrive

Revive and Thrive

Revive and Thrive for all people passionate about place.

When I started RedBorder Ltd in 2006, I always knew that it was going to be hard, business is never easy and retail never sleeps. Understanding if you wanted something in life, the effort needs to be put in, often for not a lot of initial success, but satisfaction that you are going in the right direction. Along the way, you learn new things and meet some very colourful and interesting people some of whom you take with a pinch of salt and the others you build long lasting relationships with.

You may join various fee paying networking organisations, some which will give you great connection and some don’t, initially you feel like you are simply hemorrhaging money, you wonder what’s it all for and then one day you stumble upon the network which is right for you and then everything starts to slot into place.

After years of being a subscriber to a good few of these organisation, I stumbled upon Revive and Thrive as I read through their website and what they aimed to achieve it soon became apparent that the basis of this organisation is a genuine passion for town and city centres. Members subscription fees (although it helps)  was not the driving force behind the momentum of this campaign there is a high level of integrity that is evident when you connect with Mark Barnes (Director Revive & Thrive).

RedBorder ltd joined the campaign in September 2013, pledging our Visual Merchandising expertise to the winning town or city who will receive up to £150k of bespoke business support. We have recently just agreed a corporate package for The Retail Calendar (identified by the Guardian  as Marketing and PR excellence) where the first 50 to subscribe and join the group will receive a hard copy of the calendar and the subsequent 50 will receive a downloadable version. To find out more click Revive & Thrive.


Small businesses need to think big and test the marketplace!

A few  months ago I blogged about the rise of the Pop up shops and its ability to provide small businesses with the opportunity to trade on the high street.

The next step for these small businesses is to learn from the big companies and test as many markets as possible. It can be so easy to secure your space in a pop up shop and think well I am here now, I don;t need to do anything else. You would be very wrong for thinking that. You will soon find that if you don’t start thinking big, customers will treat you accordingly and token gesture purchase your products.

No business should ever aspire for sympathy purchase, it is an insult to all your hard work!

I do believe that when Pop up shops are popping up that alongside providing small businesses with a physical presence on the high street that they also look to educate these businesses about transitioning from their bedroom to the shop floor.  It is a totally different environment even though the aims may be the same.

So if you are a small business either currently or considering trading from a pop up shop here are few words of wisdom:

  • Make sure your products are packaged and presented nicely.
  • Refresh your products regularly especially when a new season approaches.
  • Keep an eye out for what is selling, what isn’t selling remove and replace with your most popular items.
  • Try and get your products in the window display, if needs be, be proactive about it and speak to the store manager about which products lines you wish to promote. Correlate this with key calendar and seasonal events, it demonstrates that you are thinking ahead and most importantly commercially.
  • Analyse your customer profile and build a database. Understand your customer needs and supply it to them., attend different events, you just never know who is your next customer.
  • Build relationships and extend your network.
  • Do carry out comparative shop, compare yourself to other products on the market and differentiate yourself. What makes your products unique?
  • Test other markets/ locations! As a small business believe it or not, you have a unique opportunity, so make the most of it. The Pop up phenomenon will not last forever and rent will not always be this cheap.
  • Research where other pop up shops are opening, look into the demography of that area and see how you can supply to that target market. Remember if something isn’t selling in London doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for it in Birmingham. Expand your business,  If it’s good enough for Marks and Spencer’s, Next and all those other high street retailers then it’s good enough for you!
  • Only set up in a pop up shop if you are serious about your business and you want to grow / expand and ultimately succeed. Retail isn’t for the faint hearted.
  • Ask your store manager, where you can access training, it may be a case that they offer training in house or that you may need to register with business support agencies either way it is knowledge that will prove invaluable to your business.success.

If after reading this blog you are interested in testing your merchandise to new markets then click on the image below, which will direct you to a wonderful opportunity!



The Emergence of the LIP GLOSS high street…

The LIP GLOSS high street: phrase coined by RedBorder Ltd to describe high streets that have seen an influx of chicken shops and the result of eating a piece of chicken resulting in greasy lips.

Over the past few weeks I have been up and down London, and it has suddenly caught my eye how many chicken shops there are on our high streets. Whether it’s KFC or any of the other 25 letters of the alphabet FC’s where are all these chicken wings coming from? The ratio of chicken wings to the actual chicken seems a bit unbalanced and as we are on the subject of unbalanced, have you seen the sizes of these beastly wings? They dwarf the body of the actual chicken! Dare I say it but I detect fowl play!

Never one to dismiss a challenge or indeed set myself one, I am on a quest to find the full alphabet of chicken shops.  Wish me luck and of course if you find a Chicken shop with an FC at the end please send images to and I shall add it to the blog.

To start the challenge off I have obtained the image below online so I am still on the lookout to capture a representative of the letter A: The Fried Chicken Challenge begins…:

Nb: The order in which we put images up may not be alphabetically

A is for: Afghan Fried Chicken

The Fried Chicken Challenge: A is for Afghan Fried Chicken








T is for: Tim’s Fried Chicken

T is for Tim’s Fried Chicken


Think Global act Local!

Thinking Global, acting local!

TSB going solo with their Local marketing.

This phrase has been bandied about for decades, but now more than ever it is important for retailers who desire to have a global presence, need to understand and maintain a local relationship with their customers.

Businesses need to immerse themselves within the community of which they hope to gain and encourage patronage. The first move has to always come from the retailer, the locale does not owe you anything and are by no means privileged to have you set up shop in their area. Businesses, you are required to start the conversation.

My first foray into visual merchandising, I was alerted to the importance of understanding the cultures of the market of which you wish to enter and gain as much knowledge about that area. One of my first Visual Merchandising roles was working for Uniqlo, the obediently regimented Japanese retailer who sell few items in an array of colours at very affordable prices. When they launched in the UK in the mid 2000’s they had a massive expansion plan to open 50 stores around the UK. Their initial flagship store in Knightsbridge was a whopping success, frequently exceeding the daily and weekly sales target.

The momentum continued as staff bolstered around the UK opening new stores with corporate guidelines in tow. What was apparent was that in order to replicate the success of the flagship stores in London, other factors had to be taken into consideration when opening a store in Leicester or even Liverpool. Minute details like the preference to specific colours, inspirations and aspirations of the demographics, regional dialect and imagery used are just a few of the factors which are required to be taken into consideration.

As a Visual Merchandiser I believe some of the key components to a successful global expansion lie in building relationships within that locale. Utilising the knowledge and skills of the community in which you wish to enter, constant communication, become a servant to that community and get involved with as many relevant programmes and initiatives as possible. Celebrate the events which are indicative of the area that you are in, become a part of their conversation.

The TSB Hello Ilford image above reminded me even thought you put it in words your actions will speak louder. So hello back to you TSB however, how will you become a part of the Ilford community conversation, how will you serve your customers so that they know that you are taking the needs of the Ilford customer into consideration and not apply a generic corporate approach?



The power of the celebrity and retail.. going Gaga for the Sea Shells

Retail has always had a love, hate, love relationship with celebrities.

*** Celebrities have the power to multiply the sales of a retailer by a mere retweet. so no wonder retailers are clambering to associate themselves with the hottest celeb of the moment.

It is also no surprise that celebrities will do almost anything to keep themselves relevant, current and in the public eye. The pay package not to mention the freebies, perks (or to the inland revenue expenses) is too much or a golden nugget not to make their eyes twinkle and their palms itch.

As a small independent retailer unless you know someone, who knows someone or you have the financial credentials to employ a PR agency gaining access to a celebrity endorsement for your retail outfit or merchandise could be as tricky as getting Miley Cyrus to keep her clothes or keep her tongue in her mouth. (We’ve all seen the images from the 2013 VMA’s)! eek!!!

Sometimes retailers are gifted a great opportunity and if they are quick off the mark they can make a killing.

In steps Lady Gaga, currently in the UK in Camden playing a very intimate gig at the Camden Roundhouse. Her little monster are absolute devotees of their leader, they worship the ground she walks on and defend her like a parent defends their child. This type of loyalty you simply can’t buy once a Little monster always a little monster.

Retailers are aware of this and this is where as a retail business your retail savvyness can come into play and benefit your company.

Lady gaga is renowned for her fashion statement pieces none other than the Sea-shell bra as sported in the image below.






Knowing this a very cunning retailer in Camden, Escapade’s (fancy something different) fancy dress retailer have capitalised upon this and are promoting and selling out of their equivalent of the Sea-Shell bras. I have never heard of this brand owing to the fact that I don’t wear fancy dress however this has changed since I saw a report on this company on the ITV news a few moments ago. The store owner commented on the positive sales impact of the Gaga.

This is another great example of reacting to the current news, hottest topic and tailoring your services accordingly. Once retailers understand why and how to do this there will always be opportunities like this one which Escapade seized with both hands.

Well done guys, you have done retail proud!




Disclaimer: *** Celebrities endorsements can help or hinder your brands. The trick is to associate yourself with the right celebrity.



The rise of the Pop Up Shops

Over the past year I have noticed a surge in pop up shops popping up on the high street.

In response to the economic downturn and the daily closures of retail outlets on the high street, the pop up shop movement seems to be bringing a much needed injection of life to our once thriving otherwise gloomy high streets.

I was first introduced to the pop ups concept via an organisation called meanwhile space. As a visual merchandising company I have often looked at empty shop fronts as a waste of space which can be a advertising revenue source for landlords if only local councils and government would relax the laws. A compromise seems to have been reached and Pop up shops appear to be the way forward for shops and commercial buildings which are waiting to be leased.

The Pop up shop concept is a great initiative not only does it breathe life in to our ailing towns and high street but it also provides small businesses with an opportunity to stock their products in a shop. It may only be for a few weeks, sometimes longer but the opportunity to access this level of exposure is not to be missed.

The products within these stores are so varied, it isn’t uncommon to find stationery, Jewelry, handbags, home wares, to toiletries all nestled next to each other yet the organic nature of the pop up concept makes it all appear rather seamless and compliment each other very well.

From Pop Up Britain, Meanwhile space, Established East and Box Park, UK’s First Pop up Mall, (to name a few but you get the gist) all these shops are dotted around London for consumers to peruse and purchase some quality British manufactured products at it’s rawest.

This is a perfect opportunity for any small business with a product to get their items stocked within a store located in a high footfall area. For more details on each of the mentioned Pop Ups please click on the relevant image which will direct you to the website























A baby is born and retailers rejoice… is the new Prince’s name a nod to George at Asda?

(With a title like that, I wished I could have used the slogan “Every Little Helps)”, thwarted!

So by my reckoning if Kate Middleton and Prince William have 5 more kids, we may just get out of the financial deficit which is looming around the UK.                                              The retail sector will he hailed as the saviour of the British economy.

The reaction to the birth of our third in line to the throne, was to spend, spend, spend and of course retailers were only too happy to encourage, supply and capitalise upon this mass spending hysteria.  Supply and demand is what retail is all about and it is an occasion like no other which guarantees a feel good factor and of course people spend when they are happy.

So retailers have cottoned on to the benefits of reaction Visual Merchandising and in this case they had to be very reactive. The three seminal moments of the birth of  Prince George were: The Date, The Gender and the Name, this gave the media a plethora of headline opportunities but also gave retailers the perfect opportunity to celebrate, run promotions and engage with their customers.

Mamas and Papas of course were off the mark with a celebratory Westfield London Event:

Mamas and Papas @ Westfield London

Now plans for the Christening is underway, this will no doubt be another opportunity for retailers to showcase the best of their product range:

So if you are a retailer and want to know how to maximise the sales potential of these opportunities then look no further than the ultimate retail resource  click The Retail Calendar for more details


The Retail Calendar 2014

It’s finally here.

The 2014 edition of The Retail Calendar, the essential trade resource for retailers.

We are really proud of our latest edition of The Retail Calendar. We have worked really hard to ensure that we listed the pivotal commercial dates, which retailers should try and capitalise upon and provide credible advice and tips in order for retailers to achieve this.

So what will retailers get for their money?

  • Colour coded listed commercial events and dates
  • Critical path planning and reminder notifications
  • Retail Tips for: Calendar events, promotional events, Reaction visual merchandising opportunities, additional information, Colour trends for the seasons ahead, Did you know factoids and keep a look out for reminders. The Calendar also allows space for you to jots down your notes.

To purchase your copy please visit