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Decoratives and Props



Melissa Hopf has paper flowers, and glue and lacquer and varnish, in her blood – and in her hair, in her pockets and perhaps under her fingernails.

The new president of Judith Von Hopf (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) has been working in her mother’s props and decoratives factory since she was a little girl, hand-drawing display flowers, cutting them out and, as a young adult, lugging her huge sample case around to retail clients.

Times and company leadership have changed. Unchanged, though, is her company’s creative approach to product development, its “what if…” brainstorming process that produces so many of what Hopf calls “strange accidents.”

“We don’t do a lot of drawings,” says Hopf. “We do more think-tanking and hands-on testing. Someone will say, ‘Let’s cut some burlap and see what we get.’ Or ‘What if we took some shrink wrap and melted it on this birch branch, what would it look like?’ ”

Now putting the company’s summer line together, Hopf’s creative team is looking at new ways to re-create grass. “What if we took this butcher paper, hand-dyed it, cut it into thick strips, mounted it on a backing and made this chunky, funky, thick paper grass that’s totally different?” she suggests.

They’ve come up with a way to emulate water, another popular summer theme, by spraying tulle netting with insulation foam. “It takes on a form of its own, bubbling and expanding,” she says. “Then we’re painting it with an ombre effect to create a multi-colored watery blue, like the ocean.”

Hopf’s innovations don’t end with paper and scissors. She’s about to unveil a new company website with an interactive designer showcase, which mocks up a digital store window with some completely original ideas.
The site will also include an ongoing trend-report blog for her designers and outside contributors.

“We’re so caught up in the process of making things, we haven’t always joined the world we’re part of, the retail and fashion world,” she says. “We want to inspire our clients, even if I can’t call on all of them anymore with my giant sample case.”




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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