As we wave goodbye to another year, it is as always a time to reflect on the achievements and perhaps also things that didn't work so well throughout 2009. As 2010 approaches me like a speeding bullet, and as I write this in my tiny hotel room in New York's Meatpacking district, the heating still continues to fry me and the cold air from the Hudson rushes through the my open window as I try to maintain a sane level of warmth and coolness in order to work. Soon I will be back in London ready for the new season, while the Sale period works its way out of the retail, commercial and creative calender. In the meantime, I thought I should look through my archives to identify perhaps some of the considerations for 2010 which perhaps can either be avoided or employed as part of the overall process of this industry. The 10 Commandments listed below are not necessarily in any order and none is any more or less important than the other, however, as an industry we provide a service, creativity, commerciality, individualism, entertainment, dedication and so on and I do hope out there somewhere some of these thoughts will be read, and possibly acted upon in order for us all to keep moving forward into the next decade. They can of course be discarded, ignored and ridiculed. Does it really matter? Well yes it does. We are customers and consumers ourselves just as much as providers within this 'industry' and unless we have an overall view of what is actually happening out there, in here, else where or at least some where then we are condemned to repeating the same mistakes over and over again, year in and year out, while the customer or consumer becomes ever more sophisticated and leaves us with often a very large space full of merchandise which we cannot sell. Anyway, below are just some thoughts.......
1. Thou shall employ, support and maintain the professionals in this industry.
Sadly over the past year or two countless visual merchandisers, designers, display crew have been made redundant from their jobs. These teams often work late into the evening and all through the night, indeed night after night. I have never really understood why these teams are usually the first to go whenever we hit a recession? Why do retailers not seem to understand that these specialists are crucial in presenting your product to the customer? I sadly, very often see the most talented people with years of experience being cast aside when the going gets tough. This is one of the biggest mistakes retailers make. These people then sometimes go on to other companies to whom they are ready to swear allegiance too and you have lost vital talent to your competitor. So, come on retailers, in 2010, please remember these people are the most important people in your company (as well as your gate keepers such the personal assistants and Secretaries, of course)
2. Thou shall not use coloured fluorescent lights horizontally, vertically or any other combination or multiple suspended light bulbs. (lamps)
3. Thou shall maintain retail standards.
4. Thou shall not use the same Mannequins for every scheme.
5. Thou shall not use Chandeliers.
Well, if there ever was an idea that has been flogged to death it must be the use of wooden crates in a concept. How many more times do we need to see these? I tend to cringe every time they crop up, particularly as they are such a dated concept. As we are two decades post-grunge can we please leave them where they should be - back in the crate place (wherever that may be)