Most of us put a lot of energy into creating a home we love. We may obsess over throw cushions and curtains and follow Pinterest for new ideas to bring warmth, comfort and peace to our personal space. Good design in any space is a combination of several elements that must work in harmony to create a lasting impression of balance and well put togetherness, but it isn’t limited just to the hearth and home.
If you happen to be a business owner, it can be tricky to pull this off because there are so many different types of people to please. Your diverse clientele, as well as staff, must ultimately feel as though your shop is a place worthy of spending their time and money in.
But how do you create that feeling, exactly?
As a designer and former gift shop owner, there are a few tips I have gathered over the years to help you craft a store or business that will keep people wanting to come back for more. Creating the right atmosphere can work wonders in making your business a staple in the community.
Tip 1 ~ Clean & Clear
This is always my first tip for any decorating, design or renovation project. A space that is not clean, clutter free, and organized will have people turning around at the front door (if they don’t trip on something first.) For many small businesses, space is a precious commodity, so ensure that your floorspace is kept free of boxes, overstock, and the mop you were using that morning. There is a fine line between keeping stock looking full and making your store difficult to navigate. I myself love shops with plenty to see, but if there are so many things that moveability is hampered, reconsider a stock rotation or you could end up with customers either breaking valuable items, or too afraid to touch anything. Do a daily sweep of dust also, and each day you open up the doors invite blessings in by sweeping the entryway and visualizing a busy, prosperous day.
Tip 2 ~ Flow
This ties directly into tip 1 and has a lot to do with keeping the energy moving around your business. Just like in your own home, you should be aware of how the flow of energy is working in your business space. Not only will this make you and your staff feel good to be at work, but it will also increase the incoming of good fortune by moving out stagnant, old energetic “stuff” to allow new things to enter. In order to create good flow, play around with the placement of furniture, displays, and stock items and practice walking through your store to seek out those spots where things seem to grind to a halt. Many small stores have those “back corners” where there is no way to go through, leaving an awkward place where customers cannot share space comfortably.
Tip 3 ~ Refresh
As a business owner, keeping things fresh is a key to success. Stores that keep stock exciting are likely to bring new customers regularly, and keep the regulars coming back. Rotate items seasonally to create interest and line up with people’s natural desire for change at key times of the year. While it’s nice to be known for some continuity of staple goods, a little something new here and there is a key to business success. Variety is the spice of life, after all!
Tip 4 ~ Light and Air
Every room needs fresh air and good lighting, and the effects of this on mood, mental health and overall happiness has been well documented. While some businesses are blessed with big windows, others are cramped and will rely on good overhead, task and ambient lighting. Make sure you assess your space at all times of the day during your business’s open hours and see that there are no dim sections hampering the visibility of your products or taking away from the store’s overall impression of accessibility.
Be mindful of air quality indoors as well, and if opening windows daily is not an option, ensure your building is up to snuff (and code) for proper ventilation and air flow.
Tip 5 ~ Ambience
This is a great chance to really capture the mood of your business and let your customers get a sense of what you have to offer. A store that is properly lit, clean, but also knows how to stimulate the senses is going to make people feel welcome each time they walk through the doors. Having music playing is one of the easiest ways to achieve this, and rarely will you ever go into a retail business that isn’t playing their favorite soundtrack. You might also consider the role of scent in your store — assuming it is not food based — by using essential oils subtly throughout. If you sell product that is highly scented, make sure you’re not overwhelming customers and keep it to a minimum where possible. Keeping plants in your retail space is another wonderful way to keep the air clean and provide a calming environment.
Look at your business as an opportunity to create not just wealth, but a place to attract positive energies and share your passions with others as well. By making small adjustments on a regular basis, you can keep the flow of good things coming and realize your greatest potential as a business owner.