Shop Spotlights feature shops and boutiques with inspiring displays, merchandising and branding.
Hunter & Hare is a carefully curated consignment shop with a cozy, inviting atmosphere. I visited the shop on a grey, rainy weekday morning. I found the tiny boutique filled with customers, and was greeted by a cheery hello from the associate at the back of the store. The natural materials, warm pools of light and intimate setting made the shop feel like a cabin – a welcome refuge in the heart of the city.
Besides running Hunter & Hare, owner Jo Meehan teaches Visual Display and Entrepreneurial Skills to fashion students at John Casablancas Institute. I asked Jo to tell us about her approach to merchandising, and what she wants her students to learn.
Q. Please describe your store.
A. Hunter & Hare is a women’s retailer in Vancouver, with two locations focused on selling consigned trendy clothing as well as wholesale merchandise such as accessories, millinery and beauty product from brands we love and want to share.
Q. When did you first open your doors, and what was your inspiration?
Our first store was opened on May 24th, 2014. Inspired by cultivating personal style as well as playing our part in the world of fast fashion, it made sense to open a consignment store, where we could resell good condition clothing to promote recycling and embracing personal style.
Q. What makes your shop different than other consignment or thrift stores?
Attention to detail is key. Most people who walk in usually can’t tell we are consignment, we ensure the store looks good, smells good and is visually pleasing overall.
Q. Describe your typical customers, and what they’re looking for in your store.
Our core customer is between 24 to 34 year old females who are aware of trends, and don’t always adhere to them, but use them to cultivate their own unique look. They shop at Hunter & Hare to cultivate their style, at a lower cost to buying things new from retailers. She’s also environmentally conscious and loves to support local, which is why she also seeks us out to purchase gift items from our selected vendors that we carry.
Q. How would you describe your approach to visual merchandising/ product presentation in your shop?
We lifestyle merchandise quite a bit, and use cross merchandising to our advantage, balancing hard and soft goods as well as feminine and masculine. We use recycled fixtures, so we get a very cozy, woodsy feel, and we have real cedar tree poles that are used as frames for the shelves, you’ll also see a huge moss wall at both locations, we want to create a ‘lost in the forest’ vibe.
Q. What attracts customers into your shop?
Our branding is strong, people who have never heard of us will see our logo and be drawn in. I think our social media does a good job of bringing new customers in as well, its well branded and cohesive.
Q. What keeps your customers coming back over and over?
I think it’s our customer service, we try to be genuine and real while still respecting our own policies. We have so many regulars that we know by name and cultivating those relationships sets us apart. Our product selection. We are selective with the things we carry, and we know our target market well, so we know what she wants and we consider that every time we select clothing and accept new vendors.
Q. What do you consider a successful window display?
Low budget, beautiful, and stops someone and causes them to either remember the store or walk in right then and there. Creativity is valuable in business only when it promotes measurable result, such as a sale or positive word of mouth.
Q. What merchandising challenges do you have when selling consignment?
We have to colour coordinate everything, otherwise the store looks hectic. Also making sure everything is shoppable and the store doesn’t feel cluttered. We never want customers to feel overwhelmed or anxious when they’re in our stores.
Q. What have you learned about display and merchandising since you opened?
If it looks good but doesn’t sell, then it doesn’t matter. You have to balance both.
Q. You also teach visual merchandising to fashion students. If your students only remember three things about visual display and product presentation, what do you want those three things to be?
Learn to react quickly – if something isn’t selling where you put it, move it, and move it again until it sells.
Balance – balance elements that are hard and soft, masculine and feminine etc, it’s always more appealing and creates cohesion.
Use strategy – visual merchandising is 2 parts business strategy and 1 part creativity, know when to showcase what based on market trend, time of year and who your target market is. If you know who she is and what she wants, you can bridge that gap of merchandising your product well to making a sale – which is the sole purpose of displaying.
Shop Spotlights are profiles of independent retailers, and do not represent my work.
I interview retailers to share their approach to display and merchandising.
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