Sue Storer Display
There is a well-known approach by retail managers if footfall is a little slow: change the window display and see what happens. They are hedging their bets on the introduction of some activity will help entice the inquisitive shopper. There is a much better approach: have a great looking window in the first place.
The successful promotion of products and brands in the retail environment is nothing short of art and science harmoniously combined. Truly effective displays (both main windows and in-store) don’t just happen by accident, and they are invariably the work of a visual merchandiser.
Certainly in the world of outdoor brands, Ingleton-based Sue Storer (www.suestorer.co.uk) has become the ‘go-to’ resource for such services: Patagonia, The North Face, Inov8, Craghoppers, Salomon are just a few of the brands who regularly call on Sue for creating the attention-grabbing displays in flagship stores and trade showrooms.
“It’s all about challenging yourself and being open to new challenges that the brands throw at you.” says Sue over a coffee and teacake in a Kirkby Lonsdale bakery. “The whole idea of retail display is to stop people in their tracks, present something they weren’t expecting to see. If you can do that then you’ve got them hooked!”
It’s an approach that works time and again, with a diary booked solid with commissions months ahead testament to her skills.
“I know it sounds corny, but I really do love my work. The outdoor clothing industry is just great, so many interesting people and lots with pretty inspiring backgrounds.”
Inspiration is a big thing for Sue, something she captures wherever and whenever it strikes: “I always have pen and paper close to hand – I’ve never been one for computers; my notepad is where all of my concepts start, usually whilst sat with a client where we can throw ideas back and forth before I work them up into a final solution.”
Designer? Artist? Creative? Marketing? Engagement? Where would a visual merchandiser’s role sit?
“I’d never call myself a designer, but I do know what will work. Window displays are tangible, 3D presentations and it’s not always easy for people who design for print or the web to get their head into this space. I may not always know how the graphics can be printed or installed but that’s where the guys at Absolute come into their own.”
Sue has been working with Absolute Digital Print since they started in 2003, a collaborative approach which consistently delivers stunning displays in leading outdoor stores such as Ellis Brigham in Covent Garden, George Fisher in Keswick and Gaynors of Ambleside.
I’ve never had any problems as Absolute have always delivered on their word
“It’s not uncommon for me to sit with Jon at Absolute, talk through my sketches, pass over the brand’s images and then the next time I see it will be on-site when I’m creating the installation. I’ve never had any problems as Absolute have always delivered on their word – quite reassuring when you are stood in a store window in Covent Garden unpacking the graphics for a main window!”
The wide format printing capabilities of Absolute are undoubtedly a bonus for Sue, with a huge range of substrates and materials which can be directly printed onto with the reproduction quality (usually of stunning outdoor photography) never an issue.
“These inspirational images have been achieved at great expense to the brands and are such a key part of their marketing activity, so being able to print them consistently across all media (digital, litho and wide format) is a given.” adds Jon Wallbank of Absolute Digital Print.
“Sue has a great eye for what image will work in each setting and with which products. She may insist she isn’t a designer, but she’s incredibly creative and very switched on to new materials and print techniques, always willing to embrace whatever can achieve the best result.”
Sue continues to develop her creative skills, recently undertaking fresh courses in Edinburgh: “It’s been great to be an art student again!”
Why does she enjoy working with Absolute on these projects? “They are always approachable, personable – it’s something you don’t always get with printers. Even though they work with some very big names you never feel like it’s too much trouble if you just need a few business cards or letterheads, every job is seen as important as the next.”
The relationship we have with Sue is very open, very much a partnership and one where we both seek to deliver the best display for our clients. If she comes to us with a new concept or even just wants to run an idea past us then we can start challenging ourselves to deliver on her promise.