11 Jan 2023

New-for-2023: The Glee Talent Store to find the next generation of visual merchandisers

Immersive content has become a hugely popular part of Glee’s annual offering and, this year, a fantastic, brand-new live project will bring industry rising stars to the fore, through the mentor-led, training-based Glee Talent Store.

Designed to nurture and celebrate garden centre and retail visual merchandising excellence, the Glee Talent Store will be an interactive feature, supported by the Garden Centre Association (GCA) and leading horticultural influencer, Mr Plant Geek (Michael Perry). The feature will showcase the different ways that houseplant and outdoor plant merchandising displays can be interpreted instore, and how different designs can be utilised to highlight the same products and trends in a variety of inspiring ways. The focus will be on mentor-led training for new talent within garden centres.

The Glee Talent Store will kick-off with a special ‘bootcamp’ where entrants will be immersed in a full day of hands-on workshops (date to be confirmed) that will focus on merchandising best practice. The workshop will be hosted by an expert in visual merchandising that has led the way on the high street and department stores alike, whilst Glee’s new “ambassador”, Mr Plant Geek, will help participants create a specialist mood board to hone their houseplant or outdoor plant style.  

On site at Glee, two live ‘retail sets’ created by those visual merchandisers that make it through bootcamp will be on display to inspire visitors. Located in the NEC’s light-filled atrium, alongside the show’s beating ‘Green Heart’, each Glee Talent Store display will showcase the vision for either houseplant or outdoor plants. Maximising proven techniques for linked sales and cross merchandising, the Talent Store will provide a fresh look at these thriving product sectors seen through the eyes of these passionate and emerging talents, whilst also providing insight into how the new generation of gardeners view these core product sectors.  Throughout the 2023 exhibition, Mr Plant Geek will be leading hosted sessions within the Talent Store to provide a more in-depth look at the trends, styles and merchandising ideas that each team has identified. 

Even more exciting is that the Talent Store feature will continue long after the doors have closed on Glee 2023.  The Glee team, along with the team of mentors, will revisit each participant post event to see how the Glee Talent Store has impacted their career and how their merchandising skills have developed. 

Matthew Mein, Event Director at Glee, said: “Visual merchandising is key to effective retailing. It has the power to entice and inspire consumers at the point of sale, with different components appealing to and engaging a diverse mix of shoppers. Recognising this individuality, we wanted to create something that celebrated these differences and encouraged visual merchandisers from across the garden retail sector to get involved. The Glee Talent Store is a great way for these talented and vital team members to celebrate their skills, and we’re incredibly excited about what they’ll be showing us in June.  

“We’re also especially hoping that the Glee Talent Store will provide an outlet for younger visual merchandisers to shine. As an industry, we know that there is a deficit of younger workers and hope that this new feature can help to create a career path for the next generation.” 

Peter Burks, GCA Chief Executive, added: “The Talent Store could not have come at a better time. With houseplants witnessing a huge surge in popularity amongst younger consumers, now is the perfect time to give a platform to this new generation of plant owners to share their knowledge and to give insight into the future of houseplant retailing. I’ve no doubt that the on-site content will be thought provoking and inspiring for us all.”

Further details about how to take part in the Glee Talent Store, including sponsorship opportunities for Glee’s exhibiting suppliers, will be presented at the forthcoming GCA Conference (22nd – 25th January). Throughout the event the Glee team will be available to answer any questions regarding the launch of the Glee Talent Store. 

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