Inspiration is key, whether you’re thinking of starting a business or you have done already. We all need things to inspire us, ignite a fire and make us passionate. So I say look to the big boys and take inspiration from some of the coolest retail stores around the globe.

Merci used book café, Paris

Some of the major retailers fly their staff around the world to window shop places like NYC, Hong Kong and Paris to get inspired. It’s then filtered down and tweaked into window displays, VM designs even product designs so start snooping. You don’t have to get on a plane – internet browsing will give you almost all of the same inspirations and its not just the big boys we can learn from some of the coolest smallest stores even start ups offer up plenty of inspiration. Here’s what we can glean from them…


Offer up a ‘grab and go’ concept, like coffee, magazines, flowers, books, plants – pieces that customers don’t have to dig deep for or think about too much. You don’t right when you purchase a coffee or magazine or paper its an instantaneous reaction that is what I’m talking about. Things that make people come in immediately and buy. If you’ll online only you will have to constantly tweak and have new products coming into your store to make people return. If sales are poor then its one of two things – the stock sucks or not enough people know about you . OR (sorry thats three things) you’re just doing what others are and why would customers jump ship? They don’t simple as!


Have a monthly or bi-monthly theme (customers don’t need to know just you) at the mo in store we’re highlighting lots of greens and golds. Or have a story so you are bringing new life to your website or store. That could be a new product line or an interesting angle, a colour palette, a texture, a material. On and on I could go.


The coolest stores always bring something fresh to the table; it’s always about advancing, moving it’s relentless but its key. It’s what makes our days so long here. We are in the process of overhauling both the blog and the website right now – improving, changing, pushing things forward, we’ve got a zillion new products to add along with a new vibe. It is unrelenting, it never stops. I never feel satisfied, like as bad as this sounds I always always think I can do more, do better, push things further. Probably not a good characteristic to have but then if I had just sat back I’m sure we wouldn’t be where we are today.

MINT store, London


Put on an exhibition, support young designers, collaborate it’s a great way of bringing a new audience to your store or website. Host customer tailored events, workshops even – think outside of the box.

If you do have a bricks and mortar store make sure its multi sensory so that it tantalizes all the senses it will give customers so much more of an experience and another thing if you are bricks and mortar you have a major advantage over all the onliners out there. You can create an experience that cannot in any way be recreated or replicated online. Touching that roughly hewn chopping board, or picking your own collection of single stems to make into a posy cannot be recreated online so use it to your advantage, and play upon it. It will push you biz ahead far faster and quicker.

Have a lovely weekend everyone…

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