In this very special post, we speak with Lisa Roy of Spacelift, who designed the window displays for 13 stores at the newly expanded Guildford Town Centre. Lisa has a wealth of experience in retail design (past projects include Chanel, Oakridge, Metropolis) and currently also does home staging for “the spatially challenged.” We’re so excited to bring you this Q&A with a local retail design expert!
- How did you get into store design? I started right out of high school as a full time junior display tech with Tip Top. Their windows back then were like small stages. We were flown into Toronto 4-5 times a year to work together as a team, led by an extremely talented creative director. I learned so much in my 5 years with them. I then decided to start a freelance business and have never looked back. I have been able to continue growing my business to include hundreds of clients and can honestly say I have enjoyed almost every one of my projects.
- Which are the 13 stores that you worked on? The British Look, MVVZ, Affluence, Privilege, Funk & Frost, Brow Art, Forever Flawless, EB Games, Go Games, Beach Basket Gifts, The Cannery, KRC Perfume, Lazy One.
- Do you design the stores with the retailer in mind? I originally met with each of the retailers to better understand their target customer. Once this was determined and we were able to see the store front design they were assigned by the mall, a preliminary concept for the front window displays was formed. Each window display was designed specifically for that store, including the style of mannequin, signage and propping.
- What’s it like designing for so many different retailers? How do you come up with a range of designs that suit each retailers’ brand? 25 years of experience makes it a lot easier. Once we had the budget to work within, coming up with ideas is fun. It is really important to make sure that the displays reflect the retailer and their target market, so understanding that is important. The great thing about a project like this is that there were so many unique retailers, so it wasn’t hard to come up with different ideas for all of them.
- What are some interesting design elements for these Guildford stores that you’ve used? For the props, we had some fun with sourcing interesting pieces. Just about everything is a potential prop. Funk & Frost windows have actual carousel horses in the windows, painted to match their store colours, fun for a cosmetic store. We have some old tires collected from the tire recycling for EB Games as they were promoting Grand Theft Auto in the windows.
- What’s your favourite part of the window design process? Coming up with the initial concept is always fun and the most creative part of the process. But I think it is the very end for me, window completed and seeing the reaction from the store staff. It’s very satisfying to see the original idea come to life.
- What are your thoughts on Guildford’s new expansion? What are your thoughts on all the other malls’ previous or planned expansions (ie Oakridge, Richmond, Park Royal) The new expansion is beautiful! Guilford really stepped up and customers won’t be disappointed. The mall needed a lift, retail is so competitive and expectations are high. It is so much about the experience with today’s shoppers. They want to be “entertained” in every way, from the stores to the food court and even the bathrooms. Park Royal will be amazing when it’s done, a very much needed reno for sure. Richmond has a great new food court that is quite impressive.
- How do you like retail design compared to home staging? I love them both. The concept is the same, show something at its best so it sells. After taking interior design at BCIT for a year, I decided there were aspects of interior design that didn’t appeal to me. The parts that did were the space planning and working with furnishings and accessories. Home staging takes the part that I enjoy about interior design and combines it with the retail display and merchandising background which lets me love going to work every day.
Thanks for answering our questions, Lisa! We especially loved the theatrical designs at Funk&Frost.