A spring-and-summer interpretation of the Christmasworld trend ‘essential ceremonies’ took root at the Müller Blumen und Garten garden centre in Schallstadt near Freiburg im Breisgau on 2 May 2019. Visual merchandising experts Stefanie Thierfelder and Julia Nawra were once again back at work, at the behest of Christmasworld. This time, their challenge was to stage this generally understated, natural trend in an eye-catching manner.
All the experts together – from left to right: Julia Nawra (Consultant in Visual Marketing and Decoration at Thierfelder-Nawra GbR), Sarah Bronner-Müller (Managing Director of the garden centre), Eva Olbrich (Christmasworld Director) and Stefanie Thierfelder (Consultant for Visual Marketing and Decoration at Thierfelder-Nawra GbR). Photo: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jean-Luc Valentin
Harmonious, with regional connections and adapted with both customers and the season in mind. The garden centre, that covers some 4,500 square metres and employs almost 30 staff, won the professional PoS make-over and designer display in the prize draw organised by Christmasworld 2019 in collaboration with the trade magazines ‘florieren!’ and ‘Dega Grüner Markt’. 32-year-young Managing Director, Sarah Bronner-Müller, chose ‘essential ceremonies’, as this natural style best fits in with the spring and summer ranges that they have already bought in. These include, in particular, some large Esteras pots and planters and rusty ironwork of all kinds for balconies and terraces. ‘Moreover, our customers' tastes are currently turning to natural, round forms and away from a relatively sober style. The country look, in a modern interpretation, also harmonises splendidly with our ranges for the gardening season that is just about to start,” says Sarah Bronner-Müller.
She went to Christmasworld 2019 for two reasons: to buy and to get inspiration. “The question as to how I can best sell and present the goods is just as important as ordering the latest Christmas decorations. One of the main challenges in our garden centre is to get lots of products into a small space, whilst, at the same time, creating eye-catching displays. And I was able to find lots of ideas and suggestions at the show for that,” adds the managing director. At the end of the day, what they want is to win over their customers with a really special range of products and little islands of new experiences.
The shop and the plants are, therefore, deliberately interlinked. As a result, what emerges is an atmospheric presentation that is set to inspire the customers and encourage them to buy. Accordingly, the display is always governed by a specific theme. Until now the team had never used the Christmasworld Trend Cards as a guide for presenting their goods. “After our experience this year, we shall change that in the future, so as to create a unifying thread throughout our display area,” adds Bronner-Müller.
The recently installed designer for visual marketing will initially trial the trend scenario, working independently on a decorative idea in the entrance area. “We have assembled all the materials to do it, such as banners and wooden posts, and have discussed with colleagues how we are going to proceed,” explains Julia Nawra, Visual Merchandising Consultant at Thierfelder-Nawra GbR.
The Christmasworld Trend ‘essential ceremonies’ at Müller Blumen und Garten in Schallstadt relies on a country feel with natural materials and an understated use of colour. Photo: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jean-Luc Valentin
Focus on spaciousness, distant impact and emotivity
The team of visual marketing and decoration creatives had the posts specially prepared by a carpenter, as the stained wood imitates tree trunks and bark. Both are elements that feature in the Christmasworld trend ‘essential ceremonies’. For the banners, which were prepared in consultation with a graphic designer, they chose a rural motif, which picks up on the central themes (grasses, trees, rural idyll and beauty) and drew on the earthy, warm colour palette for this trend scenario. Julia Nawra and Stefanie Thierfelder planned it down the last details in advance, with the help of telephone calls and photos; and they bought in decorative items, including cushions, candles, baskets, tree slices, ceramics, rugs and small decorative items such as pendants. It was all about creating a balanced, harmonious mix of different materials, shapes and tactile effects.
It was Sarah Bronner-Müller’s great wish to create an emotional attraction on the shop floor from the outset. The initial restructuring involved moving some items of furniture around – whereby a clear direction began to emerge, creating unencumbered gangways and clearing the view to the backdrop. Images, that reflect the trend scenario in both emotional and stylistic terms, bring the surface to life; which is how the professional designers achieved a sense of spaciousness and impact at a distance. The use of the wooden posts that they brought along, combined with large rusted metal items (including chairs and benches), rugs and various planters and plant holders, enabled them to create individual decorative focal points, especially as you entered the area.
Plants are a key focal point throughout the entire shop display. Because of the location in the unheated part of the building, they worked with appropriate patio plants such as nemesia, bidens, pennisetum and thunbergia. Care was taken to create the colourfulness inherent in the trend scenario, as well as to emphasise all things regional, rural and natural. In order to create a common thread, the back wall was used to introduce the earthy colour palette and pots and planters were placed in a vertical plane.
The creative team from Thierfelder-Nawra works closely with colleagues. Photo: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jean-Luc Valentin
Fourth generation success with ever-changing, new experiences for customers
The Müller Blumen und Garten garden centre in Schallstadt has been going for 90 years, and Sarah Bronner-Müller and her brother Daniel Müller are the fourth generation to run the firm – together with their father Peter Müller.
The company has three strings to its bow: alongside the garden centre, there is also the nursery business, which produces the plants, and the garden and landscaping business, which concentrates mainly on landscaping private gardens and installing pools. At the heart of the garden centre is the extensive range of plants on offer. A large proportion is grown in their own nursery. Bedding and patio plants, cyclamen and poinsettias are produced in heated greenhouses covering an area of 2,400 m2. Added to that are 2,500 m2 of outdoor growing area for, amongst other things, the production of chrysanthemums, lavender and larger herbaceous perennials. Gardening equipment, accessories and shop items complete the garden centre’s offer. Floristry plays an important role at Müller Blumen und Garten, too. This includes a complete range of floristry services including wedding and funeral flowers, as well, however, as greenery for interiors and planters for patios and balconies.
Grasses and plants bring life to this trend scenario – here shown being selected and placed by Stefanie Thierfelder. Photo: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jean-Luc Valentin
Every six weeks, a new set of customer experiences are staged, leading through the entire garden centre – and organised to fit in with the various landmarks and festivals of the year. For the popular Advent display, the entire unheated part of the building is transformed into an enormous Advent market. They even remove the fixed plant tables completely for this. “When the nights get darker, we shall go rather more in the direction of the glamorous Christmasworld trend ‘luminous celebrations’. Vibrant colours and elegant dark berry tones, together with shimmering, iridescent surfaces and exotic plants leave us plenty of freedom to create attractive and effective displays,” says Bronner-Müller with anticipation.
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