How to dress your shop window

25 Jan 2019

Laura Allen, owner of The White Collection bridal boutique in Somerset, details how to create an eye-catching shop window by drawing on the company's viral success story

When it comes to our boutiques, window displays are so important and this is why: The bridal industry is a very particular market. A lot more people are going to see the exterior of your boutique than the interior and you want to be making the same impact on those walking past that you do with your bridal customers. A great window display is a way to do this by bringing the inside out.

In this market, we don't get a lot of repeat custom so as well as social media, many customers come from word of mouth. Having a feature window that is a little different attracts everyone's attention. It's almost like you're providing a service for the local community. Most importantly, it gets people talking about your business. 

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First steps to success

When my business partner, Sarah, and I opened our first bridal boutique, we took over a boutique that had had been closed for a while and didn't have a presence. Our first aim was to show people that we were there, and we were open to welcoming in brides.

We decided to put a bicycle outside the front of our shop with flowers in the basket and this attracted a lot of attention locally. We found a lot of passersby were taking pictures and sharing them, so something which was originally supposed to be temporary turned into a permanent feature. It's almost become a signature of our boutique now; our bike even has its very own hashtag!

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Changing our window displays

We always try to keep up with what is current and change our window to reflect this. We don't just celebrate royal weddings, but royal babies too. The day Prince Louis was born, we celebrated with a vintage Silver Cross coach-built pram and a balloon display. It was only there for a few days, but the conversations that it started and the sense of nostalgia that it created certainly made a positive impact on a lot of passersby. 

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At Halloween, we had a Cinderella themed display which we updated at Christmas by adding a snow machine that created the most beautifully falling snow, which we switched on to coincide with the town's Christmas light switch-on event. The crowds of people outside our boutique that night was overwhelming. Everyone seemed to want to film this snow falling, which was great.

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Our windows went worldwide

Following this, we wanted to strip it back and just have two mannequins; one of them in a wheelchair. This was the window that we thought would make the least impact, we didn't photograph or make any comments on the display, however someone did and it went viral.

Within a couple of days, we were bombarded with press enquiries and being interviewed live on TV. It just goes to show that you should never underestimate your window display; it's your opportunity to be creative and really show what your business is all about.

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My top tips for a great window display: 

  • Be original; it's very easy to go along with what other boutiques are doing, but originality is what will make people look twice.
  • Collaborate; if you don't feel confident to be creative with a window display, speak to someone who is. There are a lot of wedding stylists out there who would love a chance to style for you, effectively using your space as their own window to show off their talent.
  • Be current, involve the community, keep up to date with trends, think on your feet and be proud of what you have created. 

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The White Collection has two stores in Clevedon, North Somerset, and Portishead, Bristol. Find out more at thewhitecollectionbridal.co.uk.

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