A walk in the park



...inspiration for all.

In these gloomy economic times we can all use a little inspiration – for business and life. Working in retail strategy and researching how people shop as we do (www.wslstrategicretail.com), it’s essential that we help clients create emotional connections with their customers, to help them feel better, feel inspired, be willing to shop. Even now.

Fortunately, you don’t have to look far for inspiration these days. Just go for a walk in the park, as I did one late fall afternoon.

As I walked into New York’s Central Park, away from all the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue, there, amongst the trees was a most unusual, white, organic-shaped structure — a cross between a space ship and the peaks you get on perfectly whipped cream.


It appeared to float above the ground: around the base was a silver rim emitting a purple light that made the structure seem to hover in space. It also made the leaves on ground a wonderful shade of purple.

Lights & Mirrors

Next to it was a mirrored building that reflected the organic shape, as well as the trees in the park and everyone who walked by. It wasn’t until you were right up to it that you even realized the building existed. Surreal.

What was all this? It was the Mobile Art exhibit sponsored by Chanel, the French couture fashion house. The structure was designed by architect Zaha Hadid. Inside were works by contemporary artists inspired by the iconic Chanel quilted handbag.

Talk about where art and commerce meet. Where the real and surreal intersect. The building and the setting were gloriously inspirational. I could see how this could be a new shape for a retail environment. Or displays. Or the way packages are wrapped. It would be comforting in these times (no harsh, cold edges). It could be intriguing, curious, entertaining. And that is only the beginning. Amazing what a walk in the park can do.

Love to hear about your walks in the park – and other inspirations. Email me at wsliebmann@wslstrategicretail.com

Wendy Liebmann

Wendy Liebmann is founder, CEO and Chief Shopper of WSL STRATEGIC RETAIL, retail strategists and shopping futurists, who for over 20 years has helped worldwide clients understand shoppers and “shopping life.”

“That’s where it all begins and ends,” Wendy says. “If you stay close to shoppers every day you’ll see the future. That’s why we are always looking at new shopping environments – store, websites, museums, parks, to give us a clue to what’s coming next.”