The Power of Signage

13 years ago


Now that I have the time, Ive been out visiting all my favorite nurseries and garden centers. While walking through them IÂve realized the power of signage. Most of the garden businesses had very little signs, and the signs that they did have were commercial. I like signs that are personal.

When I was selling commercially I took great care in creating my signs. For me, they are a silent salesman, and because I didnÂt have a large staff, I needed all the help I could get. I made notes all spring and summer of how I wanted to display my plants, and in the winter I created all my signs, and had them ready for spring. I put good use of my ink jet printer, but the best investment I ever made was purchasing a laminator. I could get 5 years use of my signs before having to replace them.

I created 5"L x 7"W signs to fit in my metal holders. All my signs had botanical name, common name, bloom time, color and height. Any plant that attracted butterflies or hummingbirds had a bright iridescent sticker of either a butterfly or hummingbird attached to the sign. One year I went to the dollar store and purchased big butterfly whirligigs, and put them by the butterfly plants. I photographed my own flower pictures of my plants, and laminated each one, and stuck them with double sided tape to each sign. I did this because after the season the flower pictures would fade and need to be replaced. Yes! You can purchase commercially prepared signs with descriptions and pictures, but I didnÂt care for the small lettering and some of the pictures, and they didnÂt carry signs for most of my plants.


I was most proud of my herb area. I wrote in-depth descriptions, usages, and recipes of all my herbs. Many of my customers would come with their tablets and spend hours writing down the information. I would create different sections of herbs. All these herbs are purchased as fresh herb plants, and then dried to be used in all the herb blends.


My Herbes de Provence section would have oregano, thyme, basil, sage, savory, lavender and rosemary. There are many variations to herbs de Provence, but this is the blend I like, and I sold many, many herbs because of this little section.

How about: Bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf and rosemary), Pasta Seasoning (basil, oregano, thyme, garlic and bay leaf), Barbecue Rub (Basil, oregano, rosemary, savory, fennel and bay leaf). Herb blend for dips or spreads, fish and poultry, vinegars and mustards. The list goes on and on, and people love the recipes.


One year, I donÂt know what I was thinking, I grew twice as much Greek oregano that I needed, and it wasnÂt selling, so I put a sign that said "My Big Fat Greek Oregano". I sold out of Greek oregano.

Every evening after I closed I would walk through my herbs, and I noticed that German Chamomile didnÂt seem to be selling, so I went into my garden an grabbed an old concrete rabbit statue and placed it and a sign that said "This is the Chamomile that Peter Rabbit used to make his tea". Sounds corny? Well, guess what! I sold every plant.

Right before Derby Day, I placed a sign (Celebrate "Derby Day". Don't forget spearmint for you Mint Julep) which included the recipe. And don't forget to stick a Mojito recipe in the mints.

If independent nurseries and garden centers are going to have to compete with the big box stores, you have to think out-of-the-box. Be creative and have fun. I hope to write another blog about "The Power of Music". You know youÂre a success when you have people dancing in your isles.

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