Follow five salon owners as they shop for merchandising inspiration.

a little guilty pleasure that so
many of us share. And, while a
purchase may offer a bit of relief
for what ails us, too often the
long-term impact is a bigger dent
in the credit card.

As the leader and cheerleader
for your salon and spa though,
your shopping adventures can
serve a higher purpose. You
can shop for retail ideas and
inspiration—and that’s just what
five SALON TODAY readers
did when we sent them window

our Facebook pages, we invited
five salon owners and managers
to take us along as they window
shopped at boutique stores they
know frequently put together
clever, creative and beautiful
merchandising displays. We
asked them to photograph
the displays that were most
inspiring, urged them to analyze
the displays and asked them
how they could transform these
ideas into displays for their own

Conte, salon director of Avalon
Salon and Day Spa in Deer Park,
Illinois; Linda Beach, owner of
South Carolina Massage and
Esthetics Institutes in Bluffton,
West Colombia and Myrtle
Beach, South Carolina; Susan
Skelton, retail director of Rocco
Altobelli Salons and Spas in
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Kim
Baker, owner of Bijou Salon
in Skaneateles, New York; and
Kimberly Pine, brand manager of
Ruby Room in Chicago, Illinois.

G. Whiz in Deer Park Town Center; Deer Park, IL

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Owner: Jan Cunningham

Window Shopper: Bonnie Conte

Focus of the store: Women’s accessories and unique gifts

Eye-catchers: “The colorful display all on one wall and
how everything was perfectly coordinated to match,” says
Conte. “Secondly, the ‘Marie Osmond’ sign drew me in…I
didn’t realize she had her own line of women’s handbags
and jewelry.”

What “hooked” her to linger: “The ‘hook’ was the number
of matching items that worked beautifully together, from the
handbags to the wallets, coin purses and jewelry!”


After Conte was finished browsing around G. Whiz, she
concluded the displays she encountered would be excellent
examples of retailing in her own salon. One of her ideas was
to create a “wall” of color. “We could make bigger sections
of our retail products,” she says. “Since the bottles are not
as colorful as the prints shown here, we could spark it up
by purchasing a print fabric with the same colors as the
packaging of our bottles (brown, gold and orange).”

She believes the loose draping of fabric under the
products will help draw the eye over the display. “I also liked
the way they mixed up the handbags with the jewelry,” she
says. “We might use this concept by adding small baskets
with combs and other men’s favorites like the Blue Oil or Lip
Savers in a featured men’s display area.”

Olivia’s Past Boutique; Long Grove, IL

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Owner: Lynne Jankovec

Window Shopper: Bonnie Conte

Focus of the store: Upscale women’s clothing and
accessories. Features trendy vintage-inspired apparel,
jewelry, shoes and accessories.

Eye-catchers: “The blocks of color and attention to
detail. Everything that was used in these displays was
carefully thought out and each item used was available
for sale.”

What “hooked” her to linger: The branding that
started outside the store. “The quirky vintage bike,
the overflowing flowers, the four outfits hanging at the
door, including shoes…made me want to go in and do
further investigating.”

After visiting Olivia’s Past Boutique, Conte believes she can transfer the look by creating little “vignettes” of product that would include a start-to-finish concept. “Maybe I could start selling caddies to house all of my products in! What I really love about this boutique’s marketing is that every little attention to detail has been made to show off their unique brand,” says Conte. From the displays outside to the vintage-patterned tissue the owner wraps her clothing in were selling points to Conte. “I will take a closer look at the ‘branding’ we do in our salon displays…this will set us apart from other salons,” she says.

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Judith McGann and Friends; St. Louis Park, MN

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Owner: Judith McGann

Window Shopper: Susan Skelton

Focus of the store: An eclectic shop that sells women’s clothing and gifts.
Eye-catchers and what “hooked” her: This store incorporated several non-related
categories drawn together cohesively. “I was drawn to it by the uniformity of the book
stacks, positioned in a triangle in the display area,” says Skelton. “The stack of books
in the lower left and lower right hand sides of the triangle helped my eyes travel from
one side of the display to the other capturing the shirts and socks in the middle.”


Skelton believes that she could create a similar display in her own salon, on a nesting
table display.

Anthropologie; Chicago, IL

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Window Shopper:
Kimberly Pine

Focus of the store: Higher-end home goods and women’s

Eye-catchers: “Everything is organized, visually balanced,
appealing and systematic.”

What “hooked” her to linger: The colored wall. “Your eye
follows throughout the space easily. The item placement allows
for a customer to be exposed to items from all departments at
once (jewelry, home goods, clothing), and props create interest
and also communicate the brand’s distinctive image,” says Pine.


Using the concept of shopping all areas at once, Pine would
like to create set-ups where items from multiple areas are
displayed together in a way that would create a “package” for
her customers. “Use props to create a story and visual interest.
This is especially effective if the salon is street level with a large
front window,” she says. “It also further strengthens your brand
identity and distinctiveness.” Pine believes this display is clean
and streamlined. “Creating both styles of displays creates
dimension in your space and shopability,” she says. “It keeps
the customer moving through the space.”

The Greenery; Hilton Head Island, SC

Lisa Kiggans

Window Shopper: Linda Beach

Focus of the store: Antiques and garden collectibles

Eye-catchers: “Even if you were just stopping by for
a few flowering plants or herbs for your garden, the
beautiful Southern-style home in the middle of this
garden center would beckon you to explore,” says
Beach. “It is filled with unique displays and surprising
finds. The rooms display a variety of antiques which
serve as backdrops for the myriad of small treasures
placed on top, around and inside each piece.”

What “hooked” her to linger: According to Beach,
each cabinet, drawer and cubby holds items for sale
that are grouped together by a common theme. “Not
only is the display pleasing to the eye, it allows the
shopper to ‘discover’ its hidden gems.”


After spending some time evaluating this display, Beach
thinks it would be a good idea for a salon/spa owner
to scour the local flea markets or garage sales in their
area, and pick up a couple antiques to use as displays.

“Choose pieces that have cabinets, cubbies, or drawers
which will hold retail items,” she says. “Sideboards and
wardrobes would be good investments. Tuck some
items into drawers with just a corner peeking out to
invite discovery.” Beach advises to place a displayed
price tag on the antique so you can change your
displays from time to time.

Ann Taylor; Minneapolis, MN

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Window Shopper:
Susan Skelton

Focus of the store: Women’s clothing store.

Eye-catcher and what “hooked” her: “I was attracted to this display because
it was a unique way to feature one item,” she says. “The open book page with
the hand written information felt like a personal invitation to view the items.”


Skelton says that she could see using this display idea to feature a new skincare
product in her salon. “The product tester could be placed on the book page
using a calligraphy pen. We could write the features and benefits,” she says.
“We might also use the book to invite clients to comment on the new item.”

Scents of Hilton Head; Hilton Head Island, SC

Julie Lewis, Michael Watson, Mardy Burleson

Window Shopper: Linda Beach

Focus of the store: Carries a dizzying array of fine fragrances for both the body
and the home.

Eye-catchers: “The first thing that hits you when you enter Scents is…well, the
scents! It smells divine and draws you in to explore,” says Beach. “The shelves are
stocked from floor to ceiling with beautiful candles, sumptuous body lotions and
fragrant soaps.”

What “hooked” her to linger: The free samples in the store. “A favorite display
of mine allows shoppers to choose from a dozen jars of scented bags and fill
shimmery bags with their favorite mix,” she says. “Shakers filled with coffee beans
allow the shopper to refresh the nose and continue shopping.”


Salon and spa owners should encourage shoppers to experience the products for
sale. “Make sure to include a sanitary way to dispense the item to prevent cross-contamination,”
says Beach. This display should be full, neatly organized and
re-arranged on a regular basis to keep the regulars interested. Beach says she will
consider offering complementary gift-wrap as an added incentive to her customers
to buy one for themselves and one as a gift.

Paris Flea; Skaneateles, NY

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Kathy Kitchner

Window Shopper: Kim Baker

Focus: Home furnishings, antiques,
new treasures, with a dash of jewelry.

Eye-catchers: “The use of nontraditional
objects for decorating;
“Look at the ladder and how instead
of a shelving unit, they stacked
keepsakes that have so much
personality on each rung, it’s really
brilliant, I want everything in this

What “hooked” her to linger: Like
a museum, you cannot stop looking
and searching for what they have
displayed, so many little nooks and
crannies, yet everything is placed


Incorporating outside-the-box
thinking, Baker is planning a display
for necklaces and incorporate
branches and vases into her retail

Skaneateles 300; Skaneateles, NY

Geraldine Lantier

Window Shopper: Kim Baker

Focus: Accessories and clothing

Eye-catcher: “This store’s display is the view
from the stop light at the corner. The simplicity of
it makes me want to visit the store, just because I know it will be relaxing and
easy on the eyes.”

What “hooked” her to linger: “While there are outfits and they look
fantastic, there are also sunglasses, belts, shoes and jewelry. The simple display
can help you focus sharply on what you want for a great put-together outfit!”


Baker says that she could use this idea at her salon in some of the smaller
areas. “Simplicity is really key in some displays, especially when the bustle of
summer is over and people want a bit of peace and sanity, keeping it simple
appeals to many!”

Art Effect Ltd.; Chicago, IL

Window Shopping, Merchandising Inspiration

Home, gifts, women’s clothing and

Window Shopper: Kimberly Pine

Eye-catchers: “The store is playful, bright,
witty, and interesting with a variety of
products,” says Pine.

What “hooked” her to stay: “The
merchandise sits in the center of room. It’s
displayed around a table, but at multiple
heights. Also, the display included a variety of products, which creates curiosity
and interest.”


Pine says that she would like to create a theme and use a variety of products,
props and signage to create the same visual interest. “Themes can be anything
from seasonal and holiday to style (voluminous hair, products, tools, accessories,
images, etc.),” she says. “Merchandising at different heights and a 360° set-up
(when possible) is key to building an effective display.”