Sometimes it really is tempting to believe that the best visual merchandising and, perforce, the best shops, tend to be the outcome of large cheques being signed.

Merci

Sometimes it really is tempting to believe that the best visual merchandising and, perforce, the best shops, tend to be the outcome of large cheques being signed. The pop-up store revolution notwithstanding, it is pretty easy to see where large amounts of money have been lavished on a project and at the very least a degree of consideration is likely to be the outcome.

That said, it is creativity and imagination that remain the real trump cards when it comes to stores and spaces that will capture the shopper’s attention. This example, a small area in the modish Parisian department-cum-fashion store Merci serves as a case in point. The store has given Australian ethical skincare and beauty brand Aesop a small corner of the shop in which to create a shop-in-shop that will stay in place for a month and a half (it opened on December 17). And in essence, the design is astonishingly simple. Aesop has placed 4,500 plain cardboard boxes, each of which has the brand’s name printed on it in a bold black font, placed within a quasi-fishing net strung across the ceiling and allowed to droop. Beneath this, more of the same boxes have been stacked on the floor to create a mid-shop fixture on which the various lotions and unguents are displayed. The products are far smaller than the display, but they are nonetheless highlighted by the naked light bulb pendants suspended directly over them.

This may be a low-cost way of creating style but it was receiving a distinctly unfair quota of shopper attention over Christmas - proof that a clear vision and slick execution will always be more effective than a bottomless pit of cash.