Island Trading undergoes switch-over’
It was all hands on deck at Island Trading this week as the store underwent one of its twice yearly reconfigurations.
With the summer months now gone, the shop has brought its indoor products to the fore. It is a seasonal switcharound modelled on a technique observed by many North American retailers.
“We had seen stores in the US and Canada do switch-overs. We got inspired by that, and it makes sense; we are providing the home decor and furniture that works for the season,” said Laura Farge-Lowe, vice-president of Island Trading.
Outdoor furnishings that had pride of place in the shop during the past six months have now taken a back seat, although not completely, as Mrs Farge-Lowe noted: “We always want to have some outdoor furniture out as Bermudians tend to use it all year round.”
Transforming the shop floor is not an overnight job — it generally takes a week to accomplish. To make it happen requires all members of staff, and a few outside helpers, to pitch in. The entire team has been involved in this week’s “juggling” of inventory.
“It can feel overwhelming on day one, but at some point it all comes together.”
Mrs Farge-Lowe believes it is important for retailers to undertake regular transformations of shop floor displays, and she said it is something customer appreciate.
“None of us want to go to a store that always looks the same. Also, people get excited about a new collection,” she added.
To provide a finishing touch this year, a representative of North Carolina-based Stanley Furniture visited the shop during the week to offer advice and guidance. Stanley Furniture and fabric company Rowe are key suppliers to Island Trading.
Having a senior representative from Stanley Furniture visiting the shop on Reid Street East is a boost for the business. Mrs Farge-Lowe said: “We love that commitment from suppliers to come here. They fly down here to spend time with staff and connect, offer tips and meet customers.”
This season the shop is favouring lighter-coloured indoor furniture that is a mixture of contemporary and traditional.
Upholstery is predominantly from Virginia-based Rowe, and includes the company’s full range of “kid-proof” fabric. Mrs Farge-Lowe said this is, as the name suggests, a highly robust fabric that can also handle spilt drinks, mould and strong sunlight.
A key element for Island Trading is combining items of furniture and upholstery to create interesting display settings, provoking ideas for customers as they browse.
“It gets customers inspired. They get ideas from the way things are set up, and we get ideas when we see customers photos of what they have at home.”
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