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Three ways to merchandise your vintage shop, straight from retail experts
Merchandise your vintage shop by creating an experience for customers. Photo: Niki Inclan/Pexels

Three ways to merchandise your vintage shop, straight from retail experts


Vintage products may be eye-catching on their own, but a little merchandising goes a long way to show customers how they can use vintage in their daily lives. Retail consultants The Retail Duo shared ideas for resellers in an Aug. 16 webinar

For most vintage and secondhand sellers, setting up a market table, booth or store isn’t as simple as unboxing your inventory and letting the items fall where they may.

Unless you are going for a stuffed-to-the-rafters junk shop experience (which, for treasure hunters, is certainly a fun way to shop!), chances are you are going to want to take some time to merchandise your products.

Merchandising includes everything from determining the flow of a space, to the fixtures used to display items, to the lighting, to the arrangement of products themselves, to additional elements that add a certain je ne sais quoi to the customer journey.

In an Aug. 16 webinar for the Vintage Sellers Community, retail consultants Karen Kritzer and Diane Spiridoulias shared practical advice on how resellers can use merchandising to enhance their booth, market and store environments.

“Merchandising is the silent salesperson,” said Karen. “All of the little things that we can do to spark sales.”

Karen and Diane are co-founders of The Retail Duo, a retail consulting firm that specializes in merchandising, styling, branding and online marketing to help businesses better their brand voice and showcase their products and services.

Visual merchandising creates an engaging and memorable experience for customers, Karen and Diane said.

They emphasized the need to appeal to customers' senses, create a visually appealing environment, and align the shopping experience with your vintage shop’s overall image.

“From the parking lot to the exit, it’s always about making sure you are catering to who we like to call guests instead of customers or clients,” explained Diane.
“Karen loves to say to have your space set up like company’s coming [...] it can be kind of an onerous thing, but it does have an effect on your brand.”

Here, we’re sharing a few of Karen & Diane’s tips from the webinar that are especially useful for vintage sellers:

1. Find a unifying element.

Vintage inventory can be disparate, with lots of different types of products and many items that are one-of-one.

When building displays, Karen and Diane suggested grouping objects by material, colour, texture or even shape to provide a unifying effect. You could also use the same backdrop colour against all items to provide cohesiveness.

Introducing white space is especially important for a vintage seller who has a wide inventory range, they said.

“It gives the eye a break and allows it to focus,” said Karen. “It’s okay to not jam-pack every inch in every nook and cranny of your [shop]. Especially when it's a beautiful product. Allow some spaces where you can have air around the product or visual.”

Download our free guide to merchandising a vintage booth

See our tip sheets

2. Create a reason for shoppers to want to look further.

Diane suggested using a dedicated corner of a store or booth for a temporary show-stopping display, such as a vintage mirror wall, as a way to draw customers in.

Setting up a section that’s for popular or trending items can bring people into your space and encourage them to look through the rest of your inventory.

For example, if it’s summertime, the front of a booth might have vintage patio furniture set with outdoor tableware, or a mannequin wearing vintage items that correspond to the latest TikTok trend.

The Retail Duo told Vintage Sellers Community members to lean into the fact that as vintage sellers, you curate your items. You might love every item in your inventory, but you can still style a “staff picks” or “shopkeeper’s picks” section with some of your favourites to highlight special pieces.

3. Lean into the history of vintage to tell a story.

Vintage pieces have history baked right in, and shoppers don’t always know that history just by looking at an item.

For higher value or special pieces, Karen and Diane suggested creating a sign, branded to your shop, that highlights the history, facts and possible uses.

Additional context not only helps to build a story for the customer, but also sells for you when you’re unavailable— for example at an antique mall booth, or at a busy show where you can’t be everywhere at once in your stall, or even in a quiet back corner of a bricks-and-mortar store.  

Finding fixtures that relate to your inventory can also help to create a story, said Diane. For example, if you source a vintage turntable, you could rig it to showcase the product on top.

“Wouldn’t it be so great to put a vintage shoe on it, and have it actually rotate and create movement and visual interest?” she said. “[Fixtures can be] something as simple as that. You might already have some of these tools in your toolbox, but you just need to look at using them in a different way for visual effect.”

Vendor booth merchandising: Event replay

The recording of Karen and Diane’s hour-long workshop is available to members of the Vintage Sellers Community.

Join our group of resellers who are actively investing in professional development and exchanging best practices.

You’ll get access to all of our events and webinars (and replays!), our exclusive content to help you run and grow your vintage shop and improve your skills, our private discussion boards and more.

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