After a dismal year for retail, the holiday season brings more than a little desperate hope to the hearts of all of us who make a living off this industry. But people like Paul Olszewski, director of windows for Macy’s Herald Square, can’t worry about that right now. He’s too busy overseeing the installation of state-of-the-art technology, traditional animation and god-knows-what-else for Macy’s always-extravagant, boldfaced CHRISTMAS IS COMING! window displays. [Update! Check out CNN's video of Paul and the Macy's windows behind the scenes.]
What – do you want to tell little Virginia that you’re sorry, but net sales were down 10 percent last quarter, so there will be no giant robotic Santa when she presses her nose to the glass?
Nobody does. Besides, as Olszewski explains, the Macy’s windows are a huge part of the store’s overall holiday branding efforts: “It’s just as important to us to create excitement for our customers in tough years as in good.”
More so, really. And the strategic imperative for New York’s streets to continue to glitter and glow with awe-inspiring displays to draw customers in is a win for everyone right now. A little magic and wonder and good cheer, shared with strangers from all over the world, standing on a sidewalk looking in on scenes of hope, laughter and joy. Count me in.
The fact that I get to experience this during New York’s winter market – presented this year as the NADI Retail Design Collective, December 9-11 – is pretty sweet, because I’m also a sucker for a cool showroom, and I love seeing how the retail suppliers switch things up each year. So much creativity, and so many fun, thoughtful people to reconnect with. Then, of course, there’s the jubilant PAVE Gala (December 9). Plus, this year, VMSD is presenting an educational session during the show, a visual merchandising panel guaranteed to be inspiring and laugh-out-loud funny: The boisterous inside stories of the legendary Raymond Mastrobuoni, former display impresario for Cartier, are not to be missed (December 10, 9:30-11 a.m.).
Hope, laughter and joy. ’Tis the season, so let’s make the most of it. All of us at VMSD and ST Media Group wish you a happy (and profitable) holiday season. So long, 2009. Onward and upward in 2010.