Words by T&W Head of Styling, Jessica Bellef
If you showed at Life Instyle last week, you are probably still buzzing from the event, busy following up on leads, unpacking stock and/or periodically soaking your sore feet and resting your voice whenever you can. It’s a huge couple of days right?! So much goes into showing at a trade event, from getting your samples sorted and priced in time, to updating your printed material and social media channels. On top of that, you have to style a stand in a way that draws potential stockists in and gets everyone excited about your brand. No pressure!
To help you out with your stand design for your next venture into showing at Life Instyle (or maybe you are thinking of showing for the first time at Life Instyle Melbourne), I have put together a highlights reel of stands that did many things right at the Life Instyle Sydney 2018 event.
Lightly do drool-worthy home wares really well. They also do colour really REALLY well, as evidenced by their latest collection, Le Jardin, and the stunning catalogue images they created for the range; what a delightful thing to have wash over your eyes. Their boldly hued set up at Life Instyle followed through with their mission to inject deep colour into our lives, and just like their product, the beauty of their stand was found in the simplicity of it all. Cindy and the team didn’t undertake any complicated set builds or gimmicky merchandising elements – they simply played on the colours of their range and let the product shine. A rich green wall was the perfect backdrop for the clean white shelves that featured the product merchandised in strong colour stories. A low table in the middle of the stand was topped with a coloured panel and verdant leafiness added extra lushness. 10 outta 10 on the use of colour here!
Those of you who have shown at First Instyle know how tricky it can be to showcase your range effectively on the surface area of the plinth provided, especially if you have bulky goods to share with the world. You want to display everything in your offering but a cluttered stand will totally work against you. Trust me. Emma McNamara of Sunday Folk Textiles drew on her interior design background when it came time to map out the display for her range of cushions, spinning her spatial planning skills and addressing every surface area of the stand. An upright board with mini-rails attached gave her the opportunity to neatly hang multiple unfilled cushions, with their prints visible from a distance. The board was painted navy to complement the palette of the Winter 2018 range and the plinth was finished off with a piece of vinyl flooring. Sunday Folk branded collateral featuring beautiful images and product details (on postcards, business cards, catalogues) reinforced the brand’s story without making the space feel too cluttered. Maximum impact with minimum space.
Like a well-tailored suit or an impeccably knotted tie, no detail was left ignored in Peggy and Finn’s display situated in the shows first Men Instyle area. This dapper Victorian brand was showcasing their range of handcrafted wooden bow ties and cuff links, as well as their Australiana range of printed pocket squares and ties, detailed with beautiful Australian flora motifs like the eucalypt. The duo behind the brand obviously are not scared of woodworking tools, so they were able to build themselves an upright frame that gave them a structure to hang their poster from, giving them visibility from a distance and reinforcing their leaf motif in a striking colour combination. I particularly love how they used neat leather straps to hang the poster and the frame’s timber is the same they use within their range. I know it’s a pretty daggy thing to say, but ‘retail is detail’ and these guys are on top of it. Gold star!
If you are a brand that sells life-sized brass dogs and brass shark jaws, you can’t just plonk your wares down on any old surface and call it a day! Mr Pinchy & Co’s stand was spot on for the high-end brand and its unique product offering. The menagerie of brass figures stood proudly on custom black shelving, which created a completely eye catching display as the light picked up on the luxe finishes and intricate detail of each piece. The floor space was broken up with clusters of aqua plinths, built by the co-owner of the brand, featuring neat collars of brass to cap off each unit (got to love that attention to detail). Their corner position gave them the opportunity to open up the space to the crowds and allowed for an easy peruse of the wares, while the black slatted screen element contained it all without a boxed-in feeling. Awesome planters, a new addition to the range, were filled with tall, glossy fiddle leaf figs and strelitzia and dotted around the space, adding drama to the already impressive branded environment. When it comes to sleek style, these top brass guys get top marks.
No word of a lie, the energy of the Milk & Soda stand grabbed my eyeballs from across the hall and made me immediately spin my heels toward it (sorry to whoever I crashed into in my tunnel-vision haste). The Milk & Soda team is hungry for inspiration and often travel internationally to inspire their collections and campaigns, taking the world of high fashion and reinventing it for the kids accessories market in Australia. When you break down the elements of their stand, it’s a very simple set up that plays on the power of directional line and high energy colour, a look that would also be at home in a beyond cool European fashion-house-meets-art-gallery space. The orange lines were created with coloured tape, which is genius because if it meant a placement mistake was made in set up, it was easy enough to rip up and start again. No ‘uuhhh ohhhh’ moments here. There was a lot of product on show but it was neatly merchandised into categories and ranges on shelves and pegboards, and broken up with their uber-cool lifestyle imagery. Head of the class for these guys.
Ideas that caught our eye!
Top marks on signage for natural skin care brand Rohr Remedy, with their large format printing on the back wall and freestanding signage done in an interesting way. Dedicated to educating their customers on the benefits of Australian bush botanicals, it was important for the brand to be able to share their knowledge and passion in a visually effective way.
News flash: paper is flat- gasp- and stationary often gets lost on tabletops and other flat surfaces unless the product is merchandised in units that hold it all upright. The people of The Study Collective understood the importance of elevating their range, working with a bespoke store fitting company to create freestanding shelves that sat on their First Instyle plinth.
Clean, simple branding calls for a pared-back display and The Luxury Tea co did this really well. Trailing foliage and florals extended the display beyond the parameters of the plinth, ply boxes elevated the product and a beautifully styled lifestyle image clearly communicated the brand’s offer. Too easy.
Reinforcing your branded colours on any available surface area you have is a surefire way to make a strong statement about who you are. We loved the way select leaves in the foliage display have been painted in the colours in Miss Lilly’s logo- it’s subtle but it draws it all together.
Feeling inspired? Get more inspiration from the world of Life Instyle straight to your inbox. Join our community here.