Breezy Lenz, 32, discovered her passion for visual displays while she was in college. She worked at a local Macy’s in Fort Collins, Colorado, and loved the experience. “When there wasn’t much foot traffic, I’d re-merchandise the store,” she said.
Lenz worked in the sector for more than ten years at departments stores before becoming the first person to hold the position of visual merchandising manager when she began working at Native Roots in 2016. She works with all seventeen locations.
What are your job duties?
Ultimately, visual merchandising is about elevating and enhancing the customer experience through a beautiful presentation. In Native Roots stores, visual merchandising includes ensuring everything from our display cases and flower presentations to our apparel and accessories looks as clean as possible. I create directives for each store’s visual merchandiser to follow so there is consistency at each retail location.
Is there science behind what you do?
Yes. my work goes beyond just making things look pretty. I consider how the eye travels and the customer’s buying patterns when merchandising. I really try to look at things through the guest’s eyes and consider all aspects of their experience. I’m constantly thinking of innovative ways to elevate the Native Roots experience to make it as customer-centric as possible. I visit each store across the state regularly and spend a full day on in-store training for staff and setting the expectations of what the store should look like.
What are keys for doing your job well?
First of all, I have to make sure I am physically visiting stores, as well as listening to feedback from employees while in the store and, of course, observing shopper behavior. Staying up-to-date on retail and visual trends is also important. Finally, I focus on fostering great partnerships with our retail operators and the visual team, which ensures consistency from store to store from a team who support the Native Roots brand.
Does your philosophy change from shop to shop?
The philosophy I follow remains the same from store to store, but how each store is specifically merchandised changes because of the diverse nature of our stores. While some larger stores have more display space for accessories and apparel, others have a smaller footprint, so I have to be very strategic with placement and scale based on the space available.
How important are window displays for Native Roots?
The Colorado cannabis industry has restrictions on window displays even when it comes to displaying apparel. When we have a store with an outside window, we utilize our Native Roots-branded black-and-white wallpaper so we are compliant.
Does Native Roots do customized in-store displays?
Yes. We have lots of success with creating our own customized, stand-alone merchandising pieces where we showcase Native Roots products. We created a custom [point-of-purchase] display and signage for our Shorty’s mini pre-rolled joints and sent it to all stores for the product launch with strategic direction and placement.
Do you approach each category differently?
For vaporizers, we showcase the Native Roots nPen in each case and all other branded accessories on the back wall.
Edibles are displayed in our cases separated by vendor. Our flower selection is presented in custom-engraved jars on a Native Roots-branded tray. Accessories are displayed in several places around the store, including on full-body mannequins, in back wall cubbies, and even inside the case, depending on store. The concentrates, which are classified by wax, resin, live resin and shatter, are displayed in small, clear, flat acrylic displays to allow clients to see the clarity of shatter.
A Timeline: Breezy’s Path to Native Roots
2002-2004: Worked at Macy’s in Fort Collins, Colorado, during college and discovered her passion for visual displays and flawless merchandising execution. “When there wasn’t much foot traffic, I’d re-merchandise the store,” she said.
2004-2005: Got her first official merchandising job, working with Hanes and Polo Ralph Lauren underwear and socks for Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue in Texas.
2005-2015: Focused on turning around underperforming territories for Ralph Lauren at Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom on the West Coast. “I worked in both the men’s and women’s divisions and supported the launch of new brand extensions,” she noted.
2016: As a Colorado native, Lenz was ready to move home. “I’ve been able to take the best practices from my experience with Ralph Lauren and apply them to the cannabis industry and have built a visual team with a merchandiser at each of our seventeen locations,” she said.