Hand-picked by the Australian Giftguide from our Gift & Life Instyle (GALA) Retailer of the Year shortlist, LUC. impressively beat 28 contenders from 27 countries for this prestigious crown.
Still celebrating, we quickly caught up with LUC.’s Lucy Given to hear her perspective on the ever-changing industry, what trends are on the horizon, and what makes LUC. tick.
Read on …
Congratulations on your win! How do you feel, and what does it mean for LUC.?
Thank you so much, this award is a huge honour. The award was presented to me by Martin Pegler himself, an incredibly inspirational 90+ year old who has written over 80 books on visual merchandising and has been a professor at the NYC Fashion institute for over 30 years. He was so enthusiastic about my win.
I was just so grateful for the opportunity to even be there! It is a huge deal for my store, it is a huge deal for an Australian store (let alone a Tasmanian store!) to be the winner of such a prestigious award.
There were 28 global winners so I am enormously humbled, yet beyond proud to be the winner. I hope I can inspire others to believe that no matter what size your store is, if you are authentic and passionate about why you are involved in the industry then great things can happen!
LUC. has been touted a go-to source for design – from where do you get your inspiration?
I have been in the interiors/homewares industry for over 25 years, so I guess much of my inspiration comes from just being surrounded constantly by great design, by reading about great design and from travelling.
I have seen trends come and go and I now firmly stand behind the ‘buy once, buy well’ philosophy. I am inspired by design that has meaning, that has purpose, that is well-made, that does it’s job well. Rather than buy the copy/replica piece you love, save up and buy the original, buy the art piece you love, buy the shoes you covet – you will treasure purchases like this forever.
By far the most influential factor of my design aesthetic has been from what I have seen from around the globe. I walk into lots of retail stores, I glean ideas from galleries, from stores, from architecture. This trip I am on now has already been incredibly inspirational – Chicago is an amazing city filled with incredible architecture and beautifully presented retail stores.
How did you develop such a sharp eye for visual merchandising?
I think it comes down to having a confidence that less is more. It is important to let the product ‘sing’ when you display it. I like to add humour or interest in how I present things and pare back the product so it is not visually overwhelming.
I studied art at school and I am very influenced by how art is curated and displayed in art galleries and museums – but it is also important to me that good design is not intimidating or unapproachable, so I try to personalise how I display things by adding a natural element or presenting the product that will make you smile not feel like you can’t touch it!
What are the retail trends you are keeping your eye on at the moment?
Well I have been mentored by some of the best in the business over the last week. I have seen seminars and presentations on trends, on colours, on technology and all of these are important influencers in what will happen over the next few years. From what I have seen in Chicago and NYC (so far) there is a strong movement toward natural products, for being conscious of how a product is used (reusable products, recycling opportunities, products for growing plants etc).
The colours are all soft and natural – greenery is everywhere! And products for pets … not silly clothes, but products to keep your pet safe, keep your pet warm/cool, storing food, transporting them and providing them with great places to sleep!
There is also a lot of technology that is starting to evolve, a lot of tablet or other interactive involvement for customers to share their experience – giving customers more involvement in the process of the sale, educating them not just pointing out pricing – giving a story and authenticity to the product to engage the customer.
What’s next for LUC. in 2017?
I already have a whole new set of inspirational merchandising I want to do. I have quite a few new brands I want to introduce to the store, so after this big trip I plan to do a big revamp on the store and start to bring all these new ideas to life – new product, new ways of inspiring the customers.
I would love to add another aspect to the store whether that be an apartment concept or whether a bar/coffee area is involved I am not sure. I am certainly inspired to keep evolving and who knows what or who I will meet in the coming weeks to move that vision on a little further! It’s an exciting time for the business!