I recently road tested the Pareo on my vacation in Mexico and little did I know this was more than a wraparound skirt.

I used this all day every day on my trip and have to say it was probably the best item I have ever packed.

pareo purse

Since we packed light I wore this on the airplane to Mexico as a scarf.  We brought our 7 month old baby along and this transitioned as a great blanket for her on the airplane.

pareo scarf

Here I am finally in the sunshine in Mexico.

pareo kelsie

As you can see I’m super pale and it was pretty sunny out.  For the little one and I this was great to use as shade.  Not only that, but the fabric stayed cool in the sun and dried fast when I washed it.

pareo 1

I regularly used this as a swimsuit cover up and skirt, but also as a towel-shown here by Elanore (who is a much better model).  I have to mention that the many colors in this fabric happened to match several items I packed, making outfits easy!

hidden pocket

Our designers are very thoughtful about hidden pockets and this has a perfect little pocket large enough for a credit card or a few pesos.

In store the merchandising opportunities are best shown on mannequins.   Here are my favorite merchandising styles!

pareo with army jacket shoulder wrap

knots wrap around neck

rosette pareo

If you don’t have mannequins I like to make little “roses” with the scarfs.  Twist them up, wrap around your hand and secure the end through the center.

folded pareo

When I look back at the pictures of my vacation the Pareo is in 90% of them.  Obviously I love this item and hope that sharing this with you inspires you to road test some new Toad&Co pieces for yourself.



Toad&Co Shop-in-Shop: Backwoods Austin,Texas

We are so excited at Toad&Co with the results of our Shop-in-Shop installation at Backwoods in Austin, Texas.  We worked hard to bring our new Spring collection of Life+Style and Modern Travel clothing to life and we want to share the results.  We hope this inspires your merchandising on the sales floor!

wide shot

We had our Ambassador from Backwoods, Erica Cicero search high and low for vintage props that defined our Spring Collection.  We provided her with pictures of example props to begin the search.


The two big items we were looking for was a vintage picnic table for Life+Style and a vintage car bench seat for Modern Travel.  Erica did an outstanding job searching craigslist, eBay, junk yards and vintage shops.  If you have an idea for your store for a larger prop, just keep searching online sites like these daily and you can usually find something well within your budget.

Entry table

We had these pipe fixtures built with a little twist on the usual design by adding the shelves that clamp onto the sides for accessories and the reclaimed wood base.  The base is great at hiding the wheels and adding rustic charm!

Rolling Rack

We custom designed the wall bays, opting for one long shelf fitted with piping to match the pipe rolling bars.  We were fortunate to have someone who worked for Backwoods who was able to build this for us.  We were pleasantly surprised at his handy work on the car bench seat below.  Check it out!

Wall Bay

Using reclaimed wood from a shipping pallet Andy built the base for this car bench seat!

MT Mens

Using props that fit the story has always been important to Toad&Co.  I like having a collection of ‘Spring’ props and ‘Fall’ props to aid in the seasonal transitions.  Suitcases and crates (wood or metal) are also some of the best items to invest in for your store and easy to find online.  Last touch – get a few medium sized plants (my personal favorite spot is Home Depot).   Remember that you are selling items meant for outside so it’s nice to bring that life indoors!

Enjoy this new season and keep on looking for inspiration!

Outdoor Retail merchandising trends to take to your sales floor

Another great show in Salt Lake City this year for Outdoor Retail!  As I walked around I saw several merchandising trends pop up. Not only our booth, but several others had great ideas you can take to your sales floor to highlight product and create interesting displays.


Several booths were highlighting product using a shadow or display box.  Whatever the scale or material used, all of them served their purpose: highlighting specific product and making it special.

shadow 3

At Toad&Co. we were inspired by our sweater offerings and the beautiful colors and patterns our design team came up with.  By framing each piece it’s like you’re viewing a museum gallery wall.  This would make a traffic stopping window display or work well for a shoe display.

filson 2

filson 1

Filson also used a shadow box to highlight vintage heritage pieces.  Adding branding to the glass makes a great story telling piece for your employees.

photo 4 (12)

snow 6

giga power

Snow Peak took a modern approach with their shadow boxes.  By highlighting one item and repeating it they turned fuel canisters into an art installation.  The hidden lighting done inside the box was beautifully executed!


Olukai featured a capsule collection of footwear at the new Venture Out zone.  These wood crates are easy to source and stack in your store or hang on a wall.  Instant shadow box!


wood stack

filson cord of wood

Our design director (the lovely Kate Larramendy) had several pictures of stacked cords of wood throughout her design inspiration.  This is a great solution for covering a tired wall, filling dark corners and stacking high to the sky in your window.


Two booths created environments that really intrigued me.  What did they do?  They played with angles of their structure to give the passer-by glimpses into another space.  These glimpses left you wanting more-like when you’re on vacation and you pass a doorway open to something you never would have guessed existed from the street outside.

filson wood

filson tent 2

filson tent

Filson again was showing some great merchandising trends.  By creating showrooms within a showroom they raised my awareness.  I needed to see what was inside the tent!

nau 3

nau 2

Nau’s booth is an extension of their aesthetic for design.  The A-Frame structure has been carefully crafted with visual views that revolve all the way around.  You want to keep looking because it’s so darn interesting.  For a small footprint they have used space extremely smartly.


toad lighting

Carve light

I can’t stress enough how important lighting is to set a mood.  It’s vital to keeping people comfortable in your store.  We actually named our lighting structure above our booth ‘Fantasia’ because we love it so much.  This other example comes from Carve Designs and I love how soft and bubbly the light was.  It definitely put me in a good mood.


If you weren’t able to go to the show this year, then here are a couple more pictures from our Toad&Co. booth that will hopefully inspire you for next Winter.

life + style 2

life + style fireplace

This was our Life+Style display and we wanted it to feel like a cozy ‘Hygge’ Cabin.  What does ‘Hygge’ mean you ask?  Hygge (“heu-gah”). A Danish word to express the art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive.  Pretty good word.

Searching for props I looked high and low.  High being a random western vintage shop where I found my favorite piece-that rocking chair!  Finding one piece that really anchors your story will help when building your display.  This chair was built by a Vermont family from Norway in the 20’s.  It’s still as strong as the day it was built.  Searching low meant my favorite place on earth-Goodwill.  I found that side table, books and film camera at various Goodwill’s and spent $30.

If you saw great merchandising at the show please send pictures our way to

Hope these booths inspire you for planning next winter!








What’s in Season

Fall is my favorite time of year!  Not just because the trees are changing color or that I get to wear my favorite warm layers of clothing, but because of all the fruits and vegetables that are in season again!  Squash, pumpkin, pomegranates, and juicy apples!  Food can actually make a great window display and using some inspiration from Pinterest I got some smart ideas.

Using “apple picking” as my search word on Pinterest I found these images to help me think of what props to use….then I fell down a rabbit hole of ideas!

apple picking 1

apple picking 2

apple picking 3

apple picking 4

All the items in these images are relatively easy to find-you may even have them in your garage, or a neighbor’s garage.  Try going to a farmers market, grocery store, or feed store.  Ask them if you can borrow or buy some of their used boxes and baskets that they display their fruit and veggies in.

Here is a list of props that are great to have in your store all year long:

  • Old Bikes
  • Ladders
  • Baskets
  • Wood Crates
  • Plaid Blankets
  • Burlap Bags
  • Thermos Bottles
  • Ice Chests
  • Wood cutting boards

Then add in some pumpkins or apples to complete the look!

LL apples

The Lizard Lounge made their fall entry display using pops of red and black color that catch your eye.

ryan store

Doug’s Sports in Hood River, Oregon used burlap as a great background to their window display.

pumpkin heads

I drove past this men’s suit store while I was in Chattanooga and I had to pull over to get a better look.  Bruce Baird & Co. did an awesome job with these straw and burlap men-so clever and well executed.

Time to Gather

Why not take your window display theme and turn it into an event.  Throw a party, offer a discount and have some prizes that play off your props.  Serve some apple themed cocktails and put a prize basket together with accessories from your store.  Engage your customers with some social media picture opportunities and ask them to post pictures with the best picture winning the basket.  Or maybe just do a drawing, but most importantly remember that fall is a season to spend time with your friends and family and have fun!

apple picking 5

apple picking 6

Please share your fall inspiration with me at  and enjoy the season!



Well it isn’t such a huge secret if you know me, but I’m obsessed with shopping at Goodwill.  Often I’m asked where I find so many great vintage props.  I stop into Goodwill about once a week and I find treasures just about every time I go.

My last trip I lucked out by finding all these paper umbrellas for only $7.99 each (they were $10.99 and I asked for a group discount).

buying umbrellas

I’m sure you pass a Salvation Army or Goodwill all the time and haven’t thought of shopping for props for your store, but you should try it!

Here are some tips:

1)      Go down ALL the aisles.  I found the umbrellas with the tools.

2)      Check the furniture section for old trunks or furniture that just needs a coat of paint or stain.

3)      I always find old hardbound books and cool frames that are great for merchandising.

4)      Check out the kids area for vintage games.

5)      Ask for a discount-anytime you shop vintage.

hanging umbrellas

The Lizard Lounge hung these umbrellas in their entry to create a very beautiful summer display.


The great thing about these props is that you can sell them for more than you purchased when the cost is so low. Customers often want to purchase these items for their own home and this allows us to keep interesting new props rotating throughout the store.

final view

Happy Prop Shopping!

Put Your Windows to Work

Feel like your windows are plain and boring? Have large windows that are hard to fill or windows that don’t get any attention? Maybe you should consider looking into window graphics. They aren’t just for your store name and hours anymore.  The windows you’re about to see show creative ways to reach out to your customer and make them pay attention to you.

‘Made You Look’ Window

Although these next two windows express complete opposite statements, you can’t resist looking inside. Curiosity really does kill the cat.

don't look image

look window

Express Yourself

Very simply describe everything you can offer your customers.  Cool fonts help as well.

description of store window

description of store window 2

Stop and Smile Window

Using a well-selected quote like this one shoots straight to the heart and emotionally connects the dots between cooking and shopping in this store.

stop and smile window 2

How clever to take a window and make it so much more.  Although we don’t know what the name of the place is or what they are doing, we all would probably stop, point and look inside.

stop and smile window

‘Hey You … Yeah You’ Window

This graphic tells you exactly who should shop here without any mannequins or product.  Think of it as another silent sales person.

customer focused window

Social Media Window

Shamelessly create a selfie opportunity like Hugo Boss did with this marketing campaign. What a clever and fun idea to have customers use your window to take pictures (and post your store on social media for free).

social media window

If you’re out and about and see a window graphic that makes you interested in going into the store then take a picture and send it to us!

Happy Window Shopping everyone!