It may start with receiving a catalog, finding a site online, strolling down a street viewing store fronts or walking through a mall. However it finds you, it has the ability to draw you in time and again. What I am referring to is the power of visual sales.

According to Wikipedia (my go-to for definitions these days ) Visual merchandising /visual sales is the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximize sales. Both goods or services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. I believe it also is meant to draw emotions from us – a response, a comment.

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anthropologie, burlington mall

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anthropologie, burlington mall

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fishs eddy, nyc

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abc carpet & home, nyc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I love about visual sales goes beyond the products the retailer is selling, it is the artistic displays within the space (or the photography & styling in a catalog). It is creating the environment that features and highlights the products. It can be quite minimalist (think of an apple store) or as detailed and at times overwhelming because there is so much to see and experience (abc carpet & home store in Manhattan). The main objective of these presentations is to attract, engage and communicate with the potential customers. Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second.  One simple visual element, such as color, can catch a shopper’s attention and also greatly affect their mood, it could also be an aroma wafting out of an open door (LUSH) that draws you in as well, or the music playing within the space.

Working as an interior designer, I find that my own experiences in retail environments can influence the purchases or selections I make for myself as well as for my clients. Sometimes having a wonderful visual display makes it easier for the client to envision the final outcome of the objects within their own home as we shop together.

Window displays are important because they provides us with a first encounter. If it is not interesting, creative or eye catching – we may not go in. (Of course, there are many stores we shop at out of utilitarian purposes and as far as window or merchandising displays, they are critically lacking i.e. Market Basket. But I am not talking about that kind of store right now). Some of the reasons the following are my favorite stores (and catalogs)  – Anthropologie, Sundance, Free People, Urban Outfitters, West Elm, Aurhaus – are because they have taken the time to create attractive visual displays that evoke emotion from their customers and create an experience upon entering.

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I also love to look at the lighting within a store. How a store works with their lighting is important as well. I used to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch with my daughters, I hated that experience. I loved the scented fragrance wafting through the store, but that was about it. The music was always too loud, the space was so dimly lit I really could not see what they had selected and all of the table displays seemed identical. I know it was branding, but it did not work for me.

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Walking into Anthropologie as well as abc carpet & home is a totally different experience for me. From the moment you walk onto the pebble flooring, look up to see an interesting hanging fixture, look to one side and see home goods and glance to the other side of the store with clothing and then in the middle all things mixed – it is like walking around a museum and experiencing everything. No road map needed, just start on one side and enjoy strolling through the space. Not only are the products wonderful, but how they are displayed, gathered together, set off by something unexpected at times. It just works for me.  I don’t want to forget to share that being in that store touches most of my senses as well. To me that is a full experience.

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curly bed frame, Anthropologie

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spindles of color, Anthropologie

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glittering glass globes, abc carpet & home

Another aspect of creating a total shopping experience for me is the bag  – I am not sure if this falls under marketing materials and/or visual sales as well, but I always love a great bag with my purchase. Many years ago, I would collect bags from my favorite stores and display my collection over an entire wall in my kitchen. I considered them artwork.

I am sometimes called upon to create a space for a client based upon an object they found in a store or an image they may have seen online. I like to tap into the emotions the client experienced upon the initial sighting – as that is what will draw them into the space long after I have finished my work with them. This seems to be why I am drawn into my favorite stores time and again. It is the emotional connection I make to the products and the visual displays. Let me know what stores/catalogs evoke these feelings for you. I would love to grow my favorites!

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It has been slightly over a year since I last posted a blog. A lot of changes both professionally and personally have occurred since June 2012. I thought I would make this initial blog posting for 2013 one of reflection and catching up. I suppose the best way is to jump right in sharing images and updates.

lmk interiors, ltd.

• Launched refreshed website on 1 June 2013 www.lmkinteriorsltd.com – so happy to have had family and friends contribute their talents and time to make this refreshing change to my site. More images to be uploaded in the coming weeks of completed projects.

• I will be participating in Art Grows Here with a pouring paint installation July 12- 21, 2013 at 77 Main Street Wenham

• volunteered with Habitat for Humanity – NorthShore’s Women Build event building a duplex home in Danvers, MA.

• working on many projects with Cummings Architects and Open Meadow Construction designing kitchens throughout the NorthShore.

• took on a seasonal part time position at the newly opened The Container Store in Peabody late November (decided to stay on since it is such a fun place to work).

•lmk interiors, ltd. took over entire space at 77 Main Street in October when Matt Ulrich and Rebecca Bachand moved their offices to Beverly. I have installed a beautiful kitchen vignette to showcase the cabinetry line I am representing. Please stop in to see the changes to the space – I love pop in visits!

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• completed several kitchen and master bathroom renovations, living room furniture installations along with many window treatment installations. (check out the website for more images)

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• attending many networking groups – meeting great contacts for passing and receiving referrals.

• participated in the Wenham Museum’s Annual Heart of the Home Kitchen tour event with one of my client’s beautiful kitchens that I had the privilege of designing.

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Lisa Kawski

• my son graduated from RIT May 2012 and is currently working at Spine Frontier in Beverly, MA as an industrial designer.

• traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico with my family (highlights included zip lining and snorkeling with sea turtles)

• to celebrate turning 50, I traveled to: NYC to celebrate with grade school girlfriends, to the Berkshires with my sisters and recently to Amherst with husband and college friends. (the year is not up yet, still some traveling to do)

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• attended several car shows – featuring beautiful antique classics.

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• discovered the joy in the music of Sugarman (Jesus Rodriguez) and the movie Searching for Sugarman.

• been doing standing Pilates, Nia dance and several yoga classes and continuing to eat the Paleo way as best as possible – no gluten, lean proteins, lots of veggies & fruit (have not cut out the dark chocolate)

• got my motorcycle license (no, I do not have a bike – yet!)

                                               cool bike   (a girl can dream)

Here’s to a great summer filled with wonderful projects and new adventures! Please check out the website and stop in for a visit if you see my car out front!

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This past weekend, I attended ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) held in NYC at The Jacob Javitz Center. I also attended Wanted Design (an International Design Event) at The Tunnel down the street from the Javitz Center.

Initially, I planned to attend Wanted Design to view my son’s senior project he had created for his industrial design program. He, along with several other students had been selected to present and display their products created for a competition sponsored by Corning Museum of Glass. When I went to register, I discovered that the ICFF was happening at the same time. Perfect opportunity for a business trip!

I met up with a friend once I arrived in Manhattan Friday afternoon and we ventured to FishsEddy and ABC Home & Rug down near Union Square.

These were two places I had heard of and had wanted to visit for quite sometime. Both have great accessories for use in the home. FishsEddy, more practical and somewhat understated, playing off of themes from the past. ABC Home had an eclectic variety of everything from light fixtures to vases, trivets and cutlery to jewelry, seating and area rugs of amazement. I look forward to returning again.

Saturday morning was spent at The Tunnel for Wanted Design. Located across from a Porsche/Ferrari dealership, I was able to see my son’s project presented along with his classmates in a professional environment. It was great to see them in their element, engaged in conversation with fellow designers/professionals as they begin their journeys into their careers.

As I walked the length of the hall, I came upon unique designs for lighting, furniture, wall papers, jewelry and functional home products. It was just a taste of what I would see in a few hours down the street at the ICFF.


I traversed the rows of the Javitz Center with my husband for 2+ hours. Each aisle presented something new and unexpected. Whether it be a unique wall clock, use of a color in an interesting way, rug designs or seating that appeared to be sculptural rather than a functioning piece of floor dressing or furniture, I was captivated by the amount of wonderful designs I was encountering. I was like a kid in a candy shop – I wanted to be able to use most of what I saw within my clients homes or businesses! For now, I took many photos, business cards, postcards and literature for the office. I am looking forward to connecting with several designers via Facebook to see their new product launches and updates.


If you hover over an image – you can click on it to connect you to the designer’s website or a larger image.

Here are a few websites to other designers that you might enjoy:

www.jujupapers.comwww.modernmaine.comwww.debrafolz.comwww.davidtrubridge.comwww.akkefunctionalart.comwww.motawi.comwww.graypants.com

The shows were fantastic. I am looking forward to attending next year and perhaps venture to some other venues to gather more resources. The weekend proved to be not only inspirational for my business, but we also happened to catch an off, off Broadway show in Union Square purchasing RUSH tickets!

I LOVE NYC.

It appears we get to open our doors and windows a few weeks earlier than usual this spring. With the mild winter we experienced as well as the unusually higher temperatures the last several weeks, transitioning into spring is on everyone’s mind. Not only does that mean searching for lighter clothing options, but in many households with colder winters it means cleaning the home to welcome the warm temperatures.

One might be tempted to reach for cleaning products off of grocery store shelves. That’s okay, as long as they are not the toxic/chemical laden products that shout out to us with promises of doing this and that. By purchasing some basic ingredients at the grocery store you can make all of the recipes to follow to create natural cleaning products for your home. You might also find them to be more economical as well. I have selected some of the following recipes from Natural Home and Garden’s March/April Issue.

house clean

Ingredients for creating your own cleaning products:

  • baking soda – bicarbonate of soda can be found in the baking supplies aisle
  • citrus seed extract – powerful antimicrobial agent, often sold as grapefruit seed extract, available at most health food stores
  • essential oils – available at health stores, my favorite oils are Young Living Essential Oils. (contact me if you would like to purchase this brand). Make sure that you purchase pure oils and only use what the recipe calls for,  do not add more – it will not make the formula stringer, if anything it may cause skin irritation. Common ones used for cleaning are citrus (grapefruit, orange, lemon or lime), rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, thyme, citronella and peppermint.
  • lemon juice – available at grocery stores
  • liquid castile soap – this is an olive oil based soap available at grocery stores or health food stores
  • salt – kosher salt for scrubbing
  • vinegar – purchase vinegar labeled grain alcohol or neutral grain spirits, you want to avoid buying one with petroleum byproducts.
  • washing soda – sodium carbonate or soda ash, can be found in the laundry detergent aisle
  • plastic or glass spray bottles – you can purchase 24 oz. plastic bottles at Staples or smaller one are available online
  • plastic squirt bottles – reuse from another product or can be purchased online

orange oil

Let’s start in the kitchen –

Sink Cleanser for Stains

  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 8 drops of essential oil – rosemary, eucalyptus or tea tree
  • 3/4 cup vinegar for rinsing

Combine washing soda, baking soda and essential oil in an airtight container and shake well to blend. Sprinkle a small amount in the sink and scrub with a damp sponge. Rinse the sink with vinegar, then with hot water. For stubborn stains, allow the formula to sit on the stain for several minutes, then scrub and rinse with vinegar and hot water.

Citrus Dishwashing Blend

  • liquid castile soap
  • 20 drops lime essential oil
  • 10 drops orange essential oil
  • 5 drops citrus seed extract

The wonderful lemony/citrus aroma is not only great to smell but it has benefits as a natural degreaser. Fill a clean 22 ounce bottle with castile soap (dilute according to directions if using concentrate). Add the essential oils and extract. Shake bottle before each use. Add 1-2 tablespoons of liquid to dishwater and wash as usual.

Automatic Dishwasher Powder

  • 3 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda

Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. If you find your glassware has a residual buildup, reduce the amount in each use to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Herbal Disinfectant

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 10 drops thyme essential oil
  • 1/4 cup washing soap

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

Kitchen Wipes

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ounce liquid castile soap
  • 6-8 drops of favorite essential oil

Instead of using paper towels to wipe up spills or clean counter tops, store multiple squares of cotton cloth (old T shirt or pajamas). Fill a container with all of the ingredients (you may want to use a large glass jar), shake when ready to use, pull out a cloth, ring excess liquid back into jar and wipe surface. The cloths can be washed and returned to jar for reuse. Cap jar between uses.

Tough jobs:

  • For very greasy dishes, add 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice to dishwater.
  • To loosen baked-on foods from pots and pans, immediately add some baking soda to the dirty dish and wait 15  minutes before cleaning. If the pan has cooled before you have had a chance to add the baking soda – boil a solution of 1 cup water, 5 drops cedar (or other essential oil), and 3 tablespoons baking soda directly in the pot or pan. Allow mixture to stand until food can be scraped off easily.

Controlling Kitchen pests:

  • Ants – wipe cabinets with a damp sponge and 6-8 drops of peppermint or citronella essential oil. Then place 3-5 drops of the same oil on window sills, doorway cracks and in the corners of cabinets under the kitchen sink.
  • Centipedes, Earwigs and Silverfish – Place several drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or citronella essential oil in the areas that collect moisture – basements, garages and cabinets with plumbing fixtures.
  • Mice – place sprigs of fresh peppermint between pantry items in your cabinets, or make a solution of 2 cups water and 3 teaspoons peppermint essential oil and spray it wherever you find mouse droppings.
  • Mites and Weevils – Place a few whole nutmegs in flour containers.
  • Other insects – place loose bay leaves in kitchen cabinets.
Moving on to the bathroom –

Germs-Be-Gone Toilet Cleaner

This antibacterial spray cleaner is specifically formulated for cleaning the general surface area of the toilet, and under and behind the seat.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

And Let’s Not Forget The Laundry Room –

Talk about chemicals and artificial ingredients – let’s talk the laundry aisle at the grocery store! I can not walk down it without a sneeze attack. The fragrances alone trigger a reaction in me. I began using fragrance and dye free laundry soap years ago. I don’t use fabric softeners nor dryer sheets with fragrance. Here is a simple recipe for washing powder and some additional tips.

Simple Washing Powder

This recipe makes enough powder to last a typical family of four for one year. You can easily reduce the amounts to make a smaller quantity for your use.

  • 16 cups baking soda
  • 12 cups washing soda
  • 8 cups castile soap
  • 3 tablespoons lavender, lemon or grapefruit essential oil

Combine baking soda, washing soap and soap flakes. If using, add essential oil and mix with a whisk. Use 1/8 cup per load.

Helpful tips

  • Eliminate the use of fabric softeners by using 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle.
  • Pre-treat stains with a combination of washing soda, water and baking soda.
  • Forgo dryers sheets. For fragrance, add a few drops of essential oil to a damp rag and throw it in the dryer with laundry. Use dryer balls (www.ecosisters.com) to reduce drying time, wrinkles and static.
  • Make sure your dryer vents outdoors and clean out the vent periodically.
  • Rid the washer of bacteria, soap scum and grease by running a cleaning cycle with white vinegar and hot water.
  • NEVER combine bleach with vinegar or ammonia – it produces a toxic chlorine vapor.
  • line dry your clothes. They smell great and don’t use any energy!

laundry

If you don’t want to make your own recipes for cleaning products, there are several nontoxic lines that you might want to try:

Keep things simple and healthy – we are bombarded by so many chemicals and toxins, keeping our cleaning products as natural as possible within our living space is essential. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or 978.335.1140. Happy Spring!

 

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