My brand story began 10 years ago when I built an online niche business called WorkCabin that leapfrogged the competition to become the biggest service of its kind in Canada. Today, that expertise is channeled into my other business, WorkCabin Creative, an agency founded in 2010 and based in southwestern ON. I help clients grow trusted brands, build wildly effective communication strategies, & create unforgettable experiences. I can say that with confidence because I've been there and done it with my own startup 10 years ago. And I've helped organizations and businesses do it too. Over and over again through WorkCabin Creative since 2010.
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10 easy and high impact storefront displays to kick off 2018

10 ways to improve your downtown storefront in winter

10 easy and high impact storefront displays to kick off 2018

January is a great month to bring new energy and appeal to your small business, starting with your front window. High impact displays can be done on any budget with repurposed items that are easy to source. The BEST display is one that extends beyond your window. Carry the theme outdoors with unique planters or sculptures. Even better – get the whole street participating in a common theme. Here are 10 ways to ramp up the creativity, embrace the winter season and bring shoppers in from the street!

Window Painting

With the availability of paint pens and chalk markers anyone can add winter images right onto shop windows. Snowflakes, pine trees, winter hats and mitts can be hand drawn for a whimsical look. More elaborate designs can be printed on paper, taped to the outside pane and traced from inside. Swirls and scrolls are attractive as are fancy fonts and messages to promote in store items. Painted window designs stand out bold and bright to add pizzazz to your winter window display.

Snow Shovels as Props

Are you located in a snow-belt region? Let shovels take centre stage in your window display. Dollar Stores carry plastic mini-shovels or try second hand stores to gather mix and match sizes. Add to the creativity by sanding, priming and painting designs on the blades. Stay as simple as bold stripes or go as elaborate as artist painted winter landscapes.

Crepe Paper Hanging Garlands

The light weight and variety of colours make crepe paper rolls the perfect product as a decorative hanging display. Frosty colour schemes is blues, purples and whites look great for winter and ornaments such as snowflakes and icicles can be attached to the bottom of each string. Try varying the length of each piece to create a backdrop ‘wall’. Store products can be colour coordinated and featured in the window.

Toques, Scarves, Muffs and Mitts

There are unlimited creative opportunities with winter wear! Hang pieces individually from ceiling hooks using plastic line for a colourful ‘floating’ effect. Position them in circular patterns on white ‘snow’. Stuff and prop them whimsically on crates or boxes of varying sizes and heights. The colour combinations and creative arrangements are endless! And it’s easy to mix in your store product to round out the display. Best of all, everything you need is probably in your coat closet!

Bring Nature Indoors

White birch poles work beautifully in displays, as do branches that can be gathered from your surroundings. Leave the branches natural or spray paint them white. Hang them horizontally from your ceiling and add a cascade of light strands for a softening effect.

Lights Lights Lights

Don’t take down the mini white lights you hung up for the holidays. If anything, add more! Twinkle lights bring charm and magic to streets and shops. With timers and LED options there is no reason not to use them both indoors and out. String them across wooden pallets for a backlit wall, wrap them around stands or attach them on hooks to create light borders. You might even consider leaving a couple of artificial Christmas trees on display and replacing the ornaments with cotton ‘snow’ and loads of white lights.

Sleds, Skates, Skis, Snowshoes

There’s something whimsical and appealing about old fashioned or antique sporting gear. Source out a wooden sled or dig out your old cross country skis and snowshoes. Used skates are easy to find, and with some spray paint, you can really get bright and creative. With a little digging in the basement or attic – what’s old can be new again.

Paper Snowflakes

Break out the white paper and scissors! Paper snowflakes are all the rage and the easiest way to bring a white winter theme to your shop. With websites like Pinterest, there’s no limit to styles and designs for inspiration. 3D snowflakes, glitter snowflakes, intricate patterns and giant sized snowflakes abound. If you own a family or children’s business, there is also the opportunity to host a creative afternoon workshop and display community-made pieces all month long.

Less can be more

Minimal product placed a on a white surface with a crisp white background can have a big impact. It fits a winter white theme. Sometimes less is more.

Don’t ignore the outside of your small business

It’s worth repeating. The most eye-catching shops put effort into animating their business at street level. Most of the items mentioned for indoor display can also be added outdoors and enhanced with lighting, pine boughs or other fun outdoor elements. Your downtown becomes a unique destination when all businesses get on board to create an appealing and creative streetscape that gets noticed, photographed, shared on social media and talked about! A new year is just around the corner. No better time to start than now!


An entrepreneurial spirit and love of exploring led Leslie Fournier to create Streets Alive in her downtown core. This unique placemaking program brings public spaces to life with interactive art and activity. The Streets Alive story has been featured in national publications and Leslie has been recognized as Citizen of the Year and Business Woman of the Year for the impact and success of these projects. She speaks to BIA’s, tourism groups, cultural summits and economic development conferences on how to attract visitors and shoppers with creative placemaking. As a small town retailer for over 15 years, Leslie understands the challenges faced by local businesses and the increasing importance for every community to create a strong, vibrant sense of place. Follow along with Leslie on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.
Learn more about Your Town Rising, a new initiative co-founded by Leslie and Gregg McLachlan and learn how you can bring them to your town

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