Creativity is in store

At Eva's Sunday we place a high value on creativity which is why so much time, effort and above all LOVE goes into the visual merchandising of our three stores. We know you value it too - the "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" echoed by so many of you as you wander the stores are a bit of a giveaway!!  Thank you by the way - we love the positive affirmations. 

Danni Townsend O'Neil / Eva's Sunday Designer & Creative Director 

The presentation of the stores is, of course, a team effort on an ongoing basis but several times per year each store gets a unique makeover by the ES Designer & Creative Director, Danni Townsend O'Neil. It is an organic and to be honest somewhat excruciating process - at least it feels that way halfway through. But at the end - pure joy!!

Danni, where does the inspiration come from when you begin a store visual re-merch?

There is a degree of planning but its organic and it's in my mind's eye.  I don't sit down with a blank piece of paper and draw up a scheme.  It tends to evolve on site and can differ between stores.  Ideas are triggered by products we are carrying in each store, by colour, by texture.

Merchandising by colour provides a sense of cohesiveness to the store and allows the eye to travel to areas of interest.  It creates spaces which tell little stories.

How long does the process typically take?

Our last big overhaul at the Fitzroy store took me 2 solid days and it ran into each evening.  I am very often half way through and I just want to press the backspace or undo button. UNDO UNDO!! At that point, there is nowhere to go besides forward and it can be really really overwhelming.  It can be a difficult process for others to watch, especially when I pull down an area that is almost complete because I've had a better idea!! 

We get constant comments on the props, tables etc.  Can you share any sourcing secrets with ES customers?

Fitting out a store from scratch is a huge job and requires a concentrated search for the right pieces. We have some favourite suppliers and these include Red Ramia in Myrtleford (the town our head office is based in, 3.5 hours North East of Melbourne), Used Pty Ltd in Johnson St Fitzroy, Nook Vintage also Johnson St Fitzroy and markets like Camberwell, Mill Markets in Daylesford & Castlemaine. Lots of props have also come from my personal collection - I have been hunting and gathering for as long as I can remember!! 

In the Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn store an old mattress frame doubles as a floral installation and racking for the clothing.

Why do you think visual merchandising is so important in our stores?

I think customers draw a lot of inspiration from the experience of visiting our stores. Sure they are coming mainly to find a new clothing piece or an outfit but I think that the creativity speaks to people and perhaps give them the confidence to experiment more at home.  A lot of shopping environments are very vanilla, same-same. I am constantly looking for ways to mix it up.

What feeds your creativity?

In the last 18 months or so I have taken up photography as a creative outlet.  It has been an amazing experience.  My approach is organic, I am self-taught and very experimental.  It is addictive and has fuelled my creativity enormously which has an overflow effect into my work at ES.

See website downthelens.com.au for a look at Danni's photography portfolio 

The window installation at the Beechworth store is getting lots of attention.  Can you tell us about that?

I wanted to create something big, for maximum visual impact.  I also wanted to focus on the fabrics in our latest collection.  Fortunately, there are often fabrics left over from our sampling process so one afternoon I took to the pile and began ripping long strips, embracing the fraying edges.  I then began a simple weaving technique, freehand and without a loom.  It was tedious to begin with but quickly a very textural, loose and organic formation came to life and it now hangs in the window.  Customers have loved it and wanted to buy it!!

This loose and organic wall hanging fills the Beechworth Store front window.  It uses fabrics from the Poppy Collection.  

Tell us about the wire light shade frames also displayed at the Beechworth store?

I happen to think these are one of the most underrated items ever - and the older the better.  I love to strip the fabric off to display just the "nude" frames. They add interest and varying heights to a display and at the same time they don't block any line of sight. They are becoming trickier to find - we are not the only ones who love these simple, structural frames it seems!