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July 27, 2011

I can't get enough of this image!

Renewing my love of  Provincetown again this year, I was reminded of the importance in having a point of view – something I talk a lot about.  We all have individual DNA and I love seeing it at retail!  Last year I fell in love with MAP and praised owner Pauline for her editorial ability.  MAP is still amazing, by the way.  Being a retail anthropologist, I love bringing independently owned retailers who have an amazing eye and a true sense of self in their offerings and environmental experience to light.

MAP, Provincetown

id.  – fell in love with the COLOR of this store last year and the belt buckles from story books I bought and now even more.  What fun!  The store is bright, amazing color use and curated carefully in nooks and cubbies.  Sian is so busy she was multi-tasking like no one’s business running from customer to customer.  At one point she called on her walkie talkie for her side kick, Rey who seemed to come from nowhere – he popped in from a side door – I assumed from an office.  When I saw him leave to go back to this place – it was a door just to the outside!  So I asked, ‘what, you keep him in the yard on the ready?!’  Nope, there IS an office behind the store!  Still loved the idea of him waiting in the back yard!  Sian Robertson, a lovely British woman, has a great perspective finding one of a kind artisanal things from the aforementioned story book belt buckles to cufflinks, purses, bags, decorative home accessories and writing instruments.  Love it!

id, Provincetown

I love these belt buckles!  I own 3 now!  The designer who does these makes a donation to her local library and gets discarded children’s books.  She cuts out pieces from the covers and makes belt buckles!  if you’re lucky, you get the book too!  I have 2 with, 1 without!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Yates and Kennedy – found this store intriguing last year but embraced it this year.  Small store with a lot of great stuff.  What I really love about this store is the experience.  The counters are kind of ruff hewn, great top of counter fixtures, great use of cloches all with a slight nautical touch.  Great jewelry collections, belts, apparel and decorative home accessories.  Edited to be appropriate for the small space.


Rogues Gallery – this store is amazing as an environmental study – rustic and cool with fixtures, displays, cabinets, flooring – everything that really embraces the product – all under the Rogues Gallery name.  Shirtings, pants, shorts, Ts, belts, bags, jewelry – truly a destination and those windows!  LOVE them!                                     



a GREAT bit of fun from Euroshop 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany

July 13, 2011

with my friend and colleague, David Patton, Director of Design and Owner/ Designer at Ferrochie,

also, check out,

GREAT trip.


June 29, 2011

Someone sent me a picture of The Naked Cowboy while in NYC today.  She was surprised by this guy.  I’d seen him before in NYC several years back and even saw him at a trade show in Salt Lake City more recently at the Outdoor Retailer Show.  Made me think, ‘what’s your shtick’?  I talk a lot about individuality and standing out.  I’m not saying go stand on a corner in your BVDs strumming a guitar wearing a cowboy hat, but…………think about it.

Mental Leap Frog led me to the Potato Peeler guy – sold his wears for years on the streets of NYC, $5 or so a pop and lived on Park Avenue sending his kids to college!

The Naked Cowboy, NYC Times Square

Mental Leap Frog led me to the Potato Peeler guy – sold his wears for years on the streets of NYC, $5 or so a pop and lived on Park Avenue sending his kids to college!

Joe Ades, The Potato Peeler Guy

Watch footage of him:

I walked through some Paris flea markets with my friend David Patton last year and we stumbled on this guy making furniture.  The guy was just working away unaware anyone was watching him wearing a long white lab coat over his clothing.  I said to David, ‘that’s part of his shtick!  That should be part of your shtick!’

What’s your shtick?  Make it yours!

Just in case you didn’t know…….

A shtick (Yiddish: שטיק) (or schtick) is a comic theme or gimmick. “Shtick” is derived from the Yiddish word shtik (שטיק), meaning “piece”; the closely related German word Stück has the same meaning. Another variant is “bits of business” or just “bits”; comic mannerisms  A shtick can also refer to an adopted persona, usually for comedy performances, that is maintained consistently (though not necessarily exclusively) across the performer’s career.

In common usage, the word shtick has also come to mean any talent, style, habit, or other eccentricity for which a person is particularly well-known, even if not intended for comedic purposes. For example, a person who is known locally for his or her ability to eat dozens of hot dogs quickly might say that it was their shtick.

WHO ARE YOU? what makes you, you?

June 13, 2011

Johnathan Sanders Green Poppies fabric, Hermes leather pen case and the three pens that go everywhere with me – 2 THINK (1 Rollerball and 1 fountain) and my Lamy chartreuse fountain pen (my only souvenir from a trip to Milan), two bracelets I wear every day – John Hardy and King Baby, one of the roughly twenty five pair of glasses I rotate through every day, two Pumas, one Paul Smith and one ‘no name’ shoe, an Hermes box, canvas Klein Tools bag – I have a BIG collection of them, three important trend colors, two Johnathan Sanders bow-ties, a Johnathan Sanders Citrus Basil candle, a picture of a Woody, my One Book, Pantone 390 thread, one of my collection of sewing machines.  Really, just SOME of my favorite things!


“ONE BOOK” – one of my favorite things

April 15, 2011
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I was recently asked to put together a compilation of my favorite things for a marketing piece.  I’ll share a copy of that post later.  I felt this ‘favorite thing’ deserved a post of it’s own.  As I was considering my favorite things, I looked at one of my favorite books, a journal really that goes everywhere with me.  It’s small and compact and easy for me to write in while walking but beyond that, it has a story and several ‘cool factors’.  Making it even more special to me, it was a gift from the artist/ designer/ craftsman who created it, Steven Kidwell.

4" X 5-7/8" black leather with an antique African Trade Bead at the bottom and the Venetian Glass beads at the top.

its in the details - Steve and I were together in Hong Kong and bought these glass beads - he stole them from my desk and the knot you see - in my signature color of course!

more of Steves handiwork

The following letter accompanied my gift and all of them he gave.  I love this!


a philosophy, Steven Kidwell

For years I would have multiple books for various purposes.  I had a small Journal, a personal sketchbook, a note taking book, and work sketchbook.  That’s a lot books, and I never seemed to have the right book with me for what I wanted to do.  Because of this fact, I rarely remembered to go back and “catch up” once I had access to the book I needed…ie. I didn’t write personal journal entries in my work sketchbook, so I almost never wrote about my wonderful trips because I left THAT book at home.  So, I decided to use ONE BOOK, for everything, and  I do mean everything- personal journaling, work notes, drawings, sketching, phone conversations, reminders, whatever.  Anything that would go on a post-it note or loose piece of paper, I would write in this book.  I found that I never lost phone numbers, reminder notes, important task notes, etc….it was all in my little book.

THIS little book, can be that for anyone.  It’s small enough to keep in your pocket, cool enough to want to carry around, and cheap enough to replace inserts often.

Not everyone sketches, journals, or writes down thought provoking quotes, but everyone has “Life notes”; grocery lists, appointment reminders, task lists, directions, phone numbers, shopping research, whatever…And, on occasion, an amazing idea may enter your brain, and you have the book to jot it down.  You have it, because all the tiny little nothing details that will never make it into your Blackberry or iPhone, are in your little book and are crucial to you living your life.  The book captures a time period in your life, it’s not something you write in once a month, it’s something you have with you and you USE for the stuff that doesn’t make sense to go digital on, and for the stuff you don’t want to go digital because you would like to read it again in 20 years.  Digital information gets purged, written over, or loss to a computer crash.  Your handwriting will endure the ages.  How many of your blog entries do you think your grandchildren will read?

Lastly, this leather gets more beautiful with age. I’m sick that I’ve just filled up my latest RA Sketchbook because know I don’t get to carry around my beautiful book anymore.  The leather on my sketchbook is worn, soiled with my sweat, scared with my drops, and now I have to start over again. The “One Book” is actually “One cover” with replaceable inserts.  The thing I like about the Cahiers is that they are, for all practical purposes, a stitched signature from a larger book.  So, when you use the “one book”, you’re actually writing a 1000 page book, 64 pages at a time.


April 14, 2011

Sounds like an easy request, right?  Well, I’d like you do more than help the economy, though that’s appreciated.  I want your eyes to do the shopping for me……and yourself.  After more than 20 years in all aspects of Retail from all levels of management, store development, merchandising and buying, I can’t shop like a ‘normal’ consumer.  I “READ” a store.   Whether you realize it or not, so do you.  Now I want you to know you’re reading it!

BILLY REID, one of my favorite stores


Stand in front of a store before you go in and look at all of the layers you see.  First you’ll notice it in its entirety then you’ll suddenly start dissecting it and you’ll do it in layers.

Layer #1 – the front – windows, entrance and maybe the first thing inside the door

Layer #2 – the entrance itself and what is immediately inside

Layer #3 – you’ve entered and you hear the sales person greet you – likely that’s where it ends – you don’t hear anything else.  You’re reading.  You’re reading the front table or first mannequin or first T-Stand or highlighter of product

Layer #4 – the snapshots start.  You’re surveying the store in small increments and this is when you decide – I’m staying or I’m leaving.  This store speaks my language or doesn’t.  Listen to what your eyes tell you.   If you’re outside observing – watch the consumer – guarantee this is exactly what you’ll see and it happens fast, but, watch!  It’s fascinating!

Layer #5 – the music, the smells


Shanghai Tang - another favorite

If you’re in Retail, do this and encourage your staff to do it.  This happens in a mere 7 seconds and you have them or you don’t.  If you’re a consumer who’s never worked in Retail – think about it.  Did the store get you or lose you and why?  What did you ‘read’ in the experience?  What did you ‘hear’?








How are you conveying your message?  What are you ‘saying’ to the consumer?   As a consumer – what are you hearing?


and she walks with her purchases.....what's next?



You’ve made a purchase or the customer has.  What’s next?  Where does that shopping bag go?  Does it get thrown away?  does it line the trash can in your bathroom (ewe) or the kitchen trash receptacle under your sink?  Does it live on?  Does it carry things to and from your office?  Do you re-use it?  How do you feel about it as you walk with it?  A brilliant woman I know in Canada made a great comment to me about her company’s bags versus the competition.  “and besides, wouldn’t you rather carry a little pink bag?”  She was right.  It was and is part of their living iconography.









Lastly, buy something!  Our economy needs your help!

Really, lastly, TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE.  I want to know!

I love Toronto!

October 20, 2010

To me, Toronto is a nice mix of old and new – both contemporary architecture and old and old world meets new world.  I thought I loved Vancouver but, I have to say, I’m now a Toronto convert!  Just back from IRDC (the International Retail Design Conference) which was an amazing event!  It’s our second year sponsoring and the group of  incredibly talented creative people you’re surrounded by fills you with creative energy.

The conference as I said was incredible!  Part of the advance information included a walking tour which I only partially followed considering myself a retail/ cultural anthropologist – I like to wander and just see where I land!  As a side note, I fell in love with a small Children’s Store called KOLKID on Queen Street KOLKID – it’s going to get it’s own post!

The ‘Femme Fatal’ window – how could you not stop and look at this one?  Toronto window dressers and visual merchandisers take their windows VERY seriously – as they should!  It’s a GREAT walking city!  From the entrepreneurial stores to the grande dames!

Sydney’s window!  Clearly speaks bespoke!  Loved all of the tailor’s sheers on the wall!

CLASSIC menswear.  Classic.

Even with almost dead Alstromeria Lillies in the window’s vase – this was a storybook tale in the making…..

Holt Renfrew’s ‘Icon’ windows (Tracey Peters images) – we all know how I feel about the importance of being an icon!

Holt Renfrew’s American Gothic/ Ralph Lauren Icon window – I loved this!  AND they two guys are wearing wedding rings!

One of the windows – included a ‘Naomi Campbell’ mannequin HOLDING A CELL PHONE, hair blowing in the wind – come on, how funny is that?

Holt Renfrew’s Paul Smith Icon window

Holt Renfrew’s Burberry Icon window

Holt Renfrew – isn’t she fun?!?  She’s had several incarnations apparently!  The folks at Holt Renfrew – very resourceful!!!  Reuse, repurpose, borrow and so much more – is this a new take on being green?

Holt Renfrew chopsticks on the wall!  AMAZING!

Holt Renfrew’s handbag department – stellar!  Loved this wall!

The Bay’s British Invasion window

‘The Room’ at the Bay

The Bay’s bathroom tissue sponsored breast cancer awareness window – all of the ‘clothing’ worn by the mannequinswere made from bathroom tissue.  Cashmere Bathroom Tissue was the sponsor.

NADEGE patisserie – I’m not a sweets person but I loved their point of view!  Liked the Lemon Tarte and Russian teas too.

Toronto, I can’t wait to see you again!  I made many new friends who are residents too.  What a GREAT experience!