Store mannequins inspire the imagination and help generate sales

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      Store mannequins inspire the imagination and help
      generate sales – whether beautifully styled, full-size
      models or functional, headless clothes hangers.

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                                                                                                   Left Mei & Picchi’s Auckland showroom.

                                                                                                   Right Runway mannequins by Purfex
                                                                                                   setting the fashion stage alight.

                                                                                                   Opposite US DK Displays Schlappi
                                                                                                   mannequin is available in approximately
                                                                                                   40 different poses and many colours and
                                                                                                   finishes. This particular mannequin
                                                                                                   featured in an Italian Vogue advertisement.

               nce upon a time in              pictures, devotionals and antiques.
               London’s swinging sixties,      Lifelike mannequins – male, female and
               there lived a woman who         children – with make-up (or tattoos) and
               was going to change the         wigs, range from pale flesh to coloured
               world of visual merchand-       tones. Interspersing these are torsos,
ising forever. Her name was Adel               heads and hands. A neo-classical and
Rootstein and her approach to creating         renaissance collection of columns and
mannequins was nothing short of                urns complete the picture.
revolutionary: instead of using bland
old body torsos she modelled her                 Visual merchandising in
mannequins after real life icons. The          New Zealand is estimated to
late British mannequin designer is
                                               be a $5 million business.
considered responsible for premium
designs that are sold worldwide.               A staff of 10 to 15 is modelling,
With the huge success of her Twiggy            moulding, creating, sculpturing and
mannequins, she expanded overseas,             constructing in the Purfex workshop.
opened a New York office and a factory
in Brooklyn – where, incidentally, all the     “We roughly produce one mannequin
Rootstein mannequins are still pro-            a day”, says Wilkin-Holland, and points
                                               out that every product is uniquely
duced today. Rootstein passed away
                                               made in New Zealand. “For me, it is
in 1992 but her spirit remains present,
                                               really important to be based here to
not only in the Rootstein Company
                                               provide a quality product”, he says.
but for a lot of mannequin producers
                                               This means he and his team have to be
around the world.
                                               quicker to compete with offshore/off-
One of Rootstein’s admirers is Glen            the-shelf mannequins. “We are often                                                                        Purform’s illuminated, headless torsos.
Wilkin-Holland, director of Purfex, New        more responsive and efficient for smaller
Zealand’s biggest manufacturer of              orders rather than large … but then,
mannequins with a turnover of roughly          New Zealand is a small country with
one million dollars. Visual merchandising      quite a well-developed eye for fashion
in New Zealand is estimated to be a $5         and trends,” he continues.                  China are sold at around $135 for a child             “Our mannequins start at $550 and go
million business.
                                               China, with its cheap labour costs,         figure, New Zealand companies have                    up to $12,000,” he says. Purfex has over
A visit to the Purfex factory is like a walk   has become a threat to Kiwi visual          to charge more than four times this.                  22 different ranges of mannequins in
into a beauty farm for mannequins. Two         merchandisers. “China is not competing                                                            production, not including forms, tailor
outstanding female figures in wonder-          on an even playing field,” Wilkin-Holland      China is not competing on                          forms, plastics or any of their other
ful baroque robes greet the visitor in         criticises. “They are not developing, but   an even playing field.                                3,000 products. Its customers include
the entrance. Collectibles include             more copying.” While mannequins from                                                              premium-label retailers such as

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Above Museum display form with moko – Perfex does custom work for museums throughout New Zealand.
Middle Mei & Picchi’s bendy kids mannequins.
Right Watch fashion fly! New to Purfex is its ‘float mannequin’ range.

Ballantynes, Max, Urban Angel,                 visual selection and retailers with                                                      Purdy advises retailers should:
Smith & Caughey and The Warehouse.             improved sales.” Purform describes its
                                               mannequins as not only tough, but                    EuropEan                            • Consider mannequins’ display
Purfex is a licensed producer for Danish                                                                                                  power, ease of use, durability and
company Hindsgaul, one of the leading
                                               stylish in their simplicity. The company             trEnds                                value for money for the investment;
                                               labels itself as very customer service               • Ethnic;
players in the display mannequin
                                               orientated.                                                                              • Buy a mannequin judged on how it
business worldwide. A Hindsgaul kid’s                                                               • Plus sizes or XXL;
                                                                                                                                          will look once dressed and in your
figure, for example, costs 600 euros.          “We do not want to just sell mannequins,”            • Retro;
                                                                                                                                          store, not what it looks like naked;
Ten per cent of Purfex production is           Purdy says. “We want to help our                     • Best-ager & young
exported, mainly into the Pacific region       customers to sell.” A range of full and                seniors;                          • Note that headless mannequins
and Australia.                                 half figures, as well as torsos, helps to                                                  attract a wider scope of customers,
                                                                                                    • Figures in a dynamic
                                               create a holistic merchandising picture                                                    without detracting from your
Purform is another pure New Zealand                                                                   pose;
                                               and a distinct stylised look throughout                                                    apparel; and
visual merchandising company. Purform                                                               • Special displays for
                                               the store.
has a connection with Purfex insofar as                                                               accessories;                      • Consider implementation and usage
Austin Purdy founded Purfex in 1938                                                                 • Country;                            within stores’ existing systems.
                                               FaMily BusinEss
and sold it in 1998 to Glen Wilkin-Holland                                                          • Flower power; and                 Mei+Picchi, another visual merchandise
                                               Ben Purdy has been around mannequins
and Fraser Moreton. Austin’s grandson                                                                                                   player in New Zealand (with Australian
                                               pretty much all his life. His grandfather’s          • Rock and pop.
Ben Purdy is the current director of                                                                                                    origins) runs a very up-market show-
                                               mannequin factory was part of his                    Source: European Retail Institute
Purform. He has a pragmatic approach
                                               playground when growing up. After                                                        room in Auckland’s Newton Road.
towards mannequins: “They are for
                                               studying marketing, Purdy decided                                                         It showcases a variety of fibreglass
selling clothes,” he says, “and should not
                                               to go back into the family visual                                                        mannequins and systems, beautifully
distract from the product they wear.”
                                               merchandising business and added                                                         arranged in elegant black-and-white
Hence, most of the mannequins in his
                                               a fresh approach to Purform. The                                                         surrounds with fleshy tones. Mannequins
Penrose factory are without heads.
                                               Penrose-based factory employs                                                            with heads, hair and full make-up mix
Nevertheless, Purdy believes in manne-         a staff of six, with some of the work           customers is Wal-Mart. Californian-      and match with headless forms, torsos,
quins as a unique tool. “Mannequins            contracted out. The company has                 based company Greneker, famous for       legs, arms and hands. Mei+Picchi is
and body forms are the most powerful           a turnover of $750,000 – 20 per cent            their mannequins with wildly creative    connected with German-based Euro
apparel selling tool available,” he says.      of the production is exported. One of           poses, is a licensed distributor of      Display, Italian modular fixturing
“They provide customers with great             Purform’s well-known international              Purform products in the US.              company ALU and Patina V in the US.

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Above New to Mei & Picchi is a range of three fuller figured mannequins.
Right Purform’s headless mannequins are available in full length, full torso and hip-length torso.
Below These stunning Perfex mannequins display Charles Parsons Fabrics using its latest fabric range reminiscent of Sofia Coppala’s film
Marie Antoinette. Wigs/makeup and dress design by Klaus Meiswinkle; concept by leading merchandiser Ton Van Der Veer.

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Above Purform’s mannequins are easy to print.
Right Master at work. Klaus Meiswinkel, the in-house make-up and wig designer for Purfex, has had many years of theatrical wardrobe design experience.

Sales manager Stephen Johnson is                                                                        trEnds
pragmatic when it comes to the                          We recycle everything and
                                                                                                        “Ethnic, craft and cultural connection
question of whether mannequins sell                 try to minimise our wastage                         are trends in New Zealand,” observes
better with or without heads: “There                ... modern materials are much                       Wilkin-Holland, “bright colours and
are advantages and disadvantages in
                                                    less toxic than in the past.                        psychedelic-looks are sought after”.
both. For instance, mannequins with
heads require more attention and                                                                        ‘’It is all about recognising the latest
maintainance, whereas headless ones                 Fashion, music and lifestyle have their             trends in time to use them accordingly
are easier to care for.”                            effects on visual merchandising. Current            within the visual merchandising
                                                    trends are coming from the leading                  industry,” says Andreas Gesswein,
BEttEr MatErials                                    mannequin manufacturers in Europe,                  managing director of Euro Display.
Over the years, the material for manne-             says Belinda Sheldrick from Mei+Picchi              ‘’What we need is flexibility as society
                                                                                                                                                          The Vintage Range by Perfex
quins has changed from wax to plaster               headquarters in Sydney. They can be                 is influenced by so many different
                                                                                                                                                             is made from the original
to fibreglass and plastics – such as                seen at trade fairs like the prestigious            trends at the same time.”                           Purfex moulds and stands.

polyethylene. Modern mannequins                     Euroshop, where mannequin exhibitors                Trends in mannequins refer to changes
are fully recyclable and easy to handle.            attract visitors with beautifully deco-             in society. For instance, increasing             In the wake of globalisation there’s
“They don’t damage and you don’t                    rated stages and stands, comparable                                                                  a focus on skin colours and display
                                                                                                        numbers of older people don’t want
have to worry about breaking an arm                 to a fashion show.                                                                                   figures are available in various colours
                                                                                                        to see their fashion worn by ‘twenty
or a leg,” says Ben Purdy, who has                  According to Mei+Picchi’s Stephen                   something’ figures. Therefore, Euro              – white, peachy, yellow and all kinds
moved away from fibreglass to                       Johnson, ‘good quality mannequins’ are              Display has developed its first ‘best-           of light and dark shades. At the last
rotationally moulded high density                   on the rise. “We see larger groupings of            ager’ figures, stylised with accessories         Euroshop it became clear Eurasian
plastic, resulting in greater durability.           mannequins,” adds Sheldrick. Retailers              such as spectacles.                              features constitute a trendy ideal
                                                    are more prepared to invest in a whole                                                               of beauty.
“We recycle everything and try to                                                                       Another group of figures represent the
minimise our wastage,” says Purfex’s                visual merchandising programme, with                                                                 “We can represent the culture where
                                                                                                        substantial class of customers who are
                                                    a focus on the entrance or window and                                                                we come from very well,” says Wilkin-
Wilkin-Holland. He believes modern                                                                      not particularly slim. These product
                                                    duplication in store.                                                                                Holland, with skin colours ranging from
materials are much less toxic than in the                                                               lines are labelled ‘Plus size’ or XXL and
past, which contributes to the sustain-             “Retailers are better than they were,”              have become increasingly popular. More           Polynesian tan to Maori brown.
ability of the business. On average,                agrees Ben Purdy, “but there is still               portly display figures are currently             By Doris Evans, a freelance retail writer based in
a mannequin lasts at least 10 years.                a large market for them to explore.”                styled in an almost naturalistic manner.         Auckland and regular contributor to NZRetail.

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Description: Mannequin for artists is to the human body as a model for artistic creation or exercise of the object. Mannequins can be nude or non nude. Human body model of artistic creation, including: photography, painting, sculpture. Human body model is to assist artists to practice the necessary means to improve modeling capabilities.