As brick-and-mortar stores continue to evolve how they present their registry and other home merchandise, they continue to turn to modern tastemakers to help them do so.
Many are often those that are ready and willing to share their industry knowledge be it from their years behind the scenes at retail or perhaps years spent studying and writing about an industry for the pages of a magazine.
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For example, Darcy Miller, book author and editor at large of Martha Stewart Living Weddings, has spent several years covering the bridal industry and as such has emerged as a knowledgeable voice for industry insiders seeking to understand just how the needs of registrants are changing.
Her book, “Celebrate Everything,” is a party guide dedicated to celebrating everyday life moments— a theme that retailers are embracing not just for its registry strategy but also its merchandising efforts.
Bloomingdale’s recently tapped Miller to launch “Celebrate Love,” a curated collection of love-themed gifts in celebration of Valentine’s Day. The capsule collection was part of Bloomingdale’s popular Carousel program which offers new and emerging designers and tastemakers the opportunity to curate a selection of gifts, home goods, fashion and other items to present to consumers for a limited time.
Miller chats with HOMEWORLD BUSINESS about how retailers can utilize tastemakers such as herself to add creativity to their in-store and online merchandising efforts surrounding giftable goods.
HomeWorld Business: How can a retail “event” such as your Celebrate Love Collection, help stores market and merchandise their registry offerings to the modern consumer?
Darcy Miller: My motto is “celebrate everything,” and what better thing is there to celebrate than love? First, I collaborated with great companies with whom I created original product featuring my artwork that could not be bought anywhere else. For example, the Darcy Miller x Lenox Celebrate Love Tidbit Plates are in my kitchen cabinet and have already been used 75 times. I also chose what existing product to sell in the shop itself. I started by organizing my curated product in a “heart of gold,” picking all of my favorite metallic products. But then, of course, there was no end to all the love merchandise that I fell in love with. It’s great for retailers to collaborate with designers and artists to create unique experiential opportunities to bring something new to draw shoppers, both in-store and online.
HWB: Do you think there are more opportunities out there to market registries in a new way, such as focusing on life moments?
DM: General gift registries are a great concept— you basically get to pick out things that you love and need, and your friends get to give you something that they know you want. Baby showers, birthdays and other milestone occasions are other moments in your life where friends will want to send gifts and will appreciate the guidance. Because no matter what stage you’re at, as you go through life, there are always moments when friends and families will want to get you gifts and there will be things that you want and need, so why not get what you need instead a third glass pitcher which you don’t have space for anyway?
HWB: How do you think retailers can better merchandise their goods to suit registrant’s interests?
DM: There are so many options out there for setting up your home and I think people are looking for that advice, and seeing a curated selection of products all together. Oftentimes, people can describe things they like, but need direction in picking our gifts, whether for themselves or for their friends.
Part of the merchandising, in this case, was the in-store experience of shopping there. I wanted there to be something fun for guests to experience together, which is why I created a life-size love card for people to pose and get photographed in— it could itself then be used as a card or shared. Whether you bought something or not, everyone got a little piece of love!
I also love the idea of having really unique activations, so at the shop, we had people reading your lipstick fortunes, incredible paper flowers made in front of people’s eyes, and Lewis Miller installed a giant heart Flower Flash incorporating my artwork which, when shared on social, raised funds for Joyful Heart.
Having this 360-degree experience which allowed you to buy products, but also to come in-store and feel the love, made the whole thing extra special.