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! kmorrow@hornytoad.com

Happy Window Shopping everyone!

It’s Elementary

As I was shopping the other day, I saw Free People’s logo and remembered making something like this in elementary school.  The crafts we did as children are not only easy (I mean, they are for kids), but they are also great resources for your displays all year long.  All it takes is a simple idea with the right materials to make a beautiful display.

free people sign

yarn circles


Embroidery hoops are a great tool for hanging in your window or above a table.  They come in many sizes, and these pictures show just a few ideas of what you can put inside them.  Endless possibilities!

embroidery hoops


whole foods

Whole Foods Display

It doesn’t get much easier than making paper fans.  Using the right paper for your display is the key.  I love this J.Crew window that looks like they used magazine pages while highlighing a seasonal color pop!

jcrew fans

J.Crew Display

paper fans


Remember making ice pop stick cabins?  Maybe you just remember eating the ice pops?  This store made a great display stringing up several painted ice pop sticks.

popcicle cabin




Using the right materials, such as vintage book paper, makes a string of paper airplanes so fun and interesting.  I love how the store below made a travel theme with these simple airplanes.

paper airplanes


paper airplane travel


If you have some kids craft ideas that can turn into a window display please share them with us @ kmorrow@hornytoad.com


Anthropologie Windows: Inspiration and Education

Anthro butterflies 500px

Anyone in visual merchandising is aware of the lengths to which Anthropologie continues to go to create eye-catching and unique window displays. They are truly works of art that take time and planning to execute. Here is a great video showing the start-to-finish creation of Anthropologie’s Earth Day message window display.

Anthropologie: Metamorphosis – The Making of Our Earth Day Windows from Anthropologie on Vimeo.

Light it up!

Our Horny Toad store in Freeport, Maine underwent a makeover in which the team updated fixtures, painted walls, and focused on an often-neglected feature in retail stores – the lighting. Store merchandiser Liz Winter explains how you can come up with creative solutions to add interesting light fixtures that are both affordable and fun.


When you consider the overall look and feel of a store, lighting doesn’t simply refer to the placement of lights but also the color of the bulbs, the way in which they are presented and materials used in showcasing the bulb. It’s imperative to consider:

• What atmosphere do I want to create for those who enter into the space?
• Do I want warm lights or cool?
• Should the lighting be a focal point or blend in?
• Will lighting be hung from overhead or be at table height?
• What items, racks and bays will be highlighted?

In the Freeport store, we have a combination of track lighting and large overhead halogen lights. Aiming for a rustic, industrial feel, we selected vintage oil funnels, sap buckets and a circular cheese grater to become unique light fixtures.

We found most of our materials at local antique shops, and they ranged in price from $6 to $12 apiece. Even if the goods you want are hard to get where you live, you can use online resources to track them down. We purchased the electrical wire we needed from Sundial Wire (www.sundialwire.com), a great website for lighting materials. I chose the cloth-covered braid wire in black, but you can pick from a variety of styles and colors to find the right fit for your store. The wire ranges in price but is roughly $1.75 per square foot.

These funnel fixtures took minutes to assemble and cost roughly $8 each.

From the store entrance, massive halogen lamps (about 4 feet across, mounted from the ceiling) throw a lot of light into the front section of the store but don’t provide a strong visual aesthetic. Additionally, 8-foot fluorescent tube lights behind the wood banners run the perimeter of the store. This provides focused light into each bay without showcasing a florescent bulb.

Cheese grater light fixture cost: $12

The track lighting in our store is a combination of floods and spots. This year we added new tracks in the landing and converted almost all the heads to LED. When picking LED lights, make sure you focus on the color of the bulb. This will provide you with the warm or cool lighting you desire.


The front of our store has an extremely high ceiling, so we added indoor/outdoor string lights to bring the focal point back to eye level. I wanted to give our customers the feeling of being at a garden party or on a friend’s porch. I purchased three strands of vintage metro lights from Table in a Bag, a company I found through an online search. Each strand was roughly $50 and came with bulbs. We have since replaced our bulbs with LED, so our lights are now more energy- and cost-efficient while still providing a warm glow.

Small canning jar lights in the windows add both light and store personality. They have low-wattage incandescent candelabra bulbs in them now but will soon be converted to LED candelabra bulbs. We liked the look and feel of the jar lights so much we decided to add a small cluster of mini mason jars to an empty focal space.

Small canning jar cluster is used to emphasize light and adds interest to a pillar in the store


The store lounge offers shoppers a place to relax and soak in the Horny Toad vibe. Thanks to another antique shop find, I recently assembled and added this wire basket light to the center of the room. It took little effort to make; the most difficult part was choosing the right bulb to be showcased.


Old sap buckets get a new life as overhead lights in front of the fitting rooms. These add a warmer feeling to that section of the store with an added bonus of providing a flattering light for fitting-room mirrors. All for a total of $45!

If you have any great lighting DIY ideas please send them our way to kmorrow@hornytoad.com

Store Inspiration: Rock/Creek Outfitters

I recently took a trip to see Rock/Creek Outfitters new shop at what is known as The Block in Chattanooga Tennessee. What is The Block? An amazing reuse of an old theater turned urban climbing gym with a massive climbing wall on the outside of the building. Definitely a perfect location for an outdoor store to be neighbors with.

the block

While visiting with Rock/Creek I saw not only some great merchandising happening, but inspiring craftsmanship and resourcefulness. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from their store.



Josh Legg head of merchandising for Rock/Creek built some cool display units that are also mobile and work great as a window display background.



Reclaimed wood made up their gorgeous new register.


My favorite idea from this trip (that is so simple and brilliant) was the reuse of hangers, which Josh took a sander too and distressed to make uniform. If you have some old hangers or miss-matched sets, by distressing them and removing old logos they can be used throughout the store and look great.


Here are some more simple hanger make-overs!

color hanges


When wrapping plastic hangers in scraps of fabric use a tiny bit of hot glue to make sure the fabric doesn’t move around or get loose.

wrapped hangers

Having a fabric cover over your hangers is so great for items that slip off easily.

fabric hangers

If you have any merchandising DIY ideas please send them to kmorrow@hornytoad.com

Nevermind the Weather

The first day of Spring is March 20th but after looking at the national weather report today, all I could see was snow and rain.  Since you ordered Spring/Summer product six months ago without knowing what the weather would be like now, it’s officially time to put some hard work into your displays to attract attention.  By creating vibrant warm displays, your customers will at least get a burst of Spring inspiration that they won’t get by looking out their windows!  Here are some colorful ideas to get you going.

P.S. You may need some paint.

If you ordered a selection of colorful product  this season, pairing it with matching objects of the same color creates a very noticeable display.





These two paint can displays are great attention-getting-conversation-starter-stop-you-in-your-tracks displays.  Which is the goal!






The way the store below re-used their boxes as a center accessory display is awesome!  The next image of the painted triangles would be a great staff project, and placing them against the window hanging above and behind mannequins would look stunning.






Sometimes party decorations are the easiest simplest window display.


The window below is excellent… I’m sure it took a LOT of work and planning.  Sometimes the last thing we have time to do is execute a rotating display, and doing so seems daunting.  My advice is to schedule yourself some inspiration time.  Spend a few hours to go do something that will inspire ideas specifically with the purpose of taking them back to your store.  Using Pinterest, going to some new shops you haven’t had time to check out, going to your local art museum or a craft store are all great ways to get ideas.  Then talk about it with someone to help you execute those ideas and put them on the calendar.  Planning far in advance will keep you from running dry, which as we look at the weather report, won’t be anytime soon. :)



-via Kelsie Morrow, Merchandising Manager at Horny Toad Clothing

If you have a great Spring display idea you’d like to share, drop her a line at kmorrow@hornytoad.com