International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) 2014 – Recap of Day One

04, Sep. 2014

#IRDC2014 kicked off with a bang when keynote speaker, award–winning Architect and Designer, Karim Rashid, addressed the audience. His talk was powerful and set the tone for the conference. One of his most retweeted remarks he said was “ Design has nothing to do with money. It’s about making a better life.” This resonated with many people who agree with the notion that one should give back to community in a positive and productive way.

During the Networking Roundtable Lunch, attendees got to chat with the hosts at VMSD and other notable organizations. There was a flurry of ideas and excitement in the air. People were matched up at various tables based on the topics they cared about (i.e. Proving the ROI of design, Future Trends and Designs, etc). It was an ideal forum to discuss with peers how they were handling the same pressures and challenges in their businesses.

Afternoon sessions included insights into the state of retail including trends and strategies for how to win back the storeless generation. One point related to this was Jeffery Sears’s (CEO of Pirch) remark that “it’s not our job to sell the customer things, but to make their day better.” In other words, organizations must be transparent and act with sincerity and authenticity. With today’s tech-savvy individuals, they can detect a phony a mile-away.

40 designers, 40 cities, 40 minutes session was a fun way to peer into the future and identify the ‘next big thing’ in retail. This was a unique way to crowd-source ideas based on peers’ travel experiences abroad, design inspirations, and shopping habits. One of the goals was to identify shared elements that made these brands universally successful.

Cheers, jeers, and happy hour were heavily rooted in the Iron Merchant Challenge. Six attendee teams used simple materials and a “secret ingredient” –a mannequin– fin the contest. The task?? Turn the mannequin from the ‘day at the beach’ to a ‘glam night out’! Their peers would judge the themed display and the winners announced the following day. The prize? The coveted Iron Merchant sashes. In a word, it was organized chaos—and so very fun!

We’ll feature this year’s video when it becomes available.
In the meantime, please enjoy this clip from 2012’s Iron Merchant Challenge.

That’s the end of day one.
Looking forward to Day 2’s sessions.