Signage, furniture and layout

Decide on your window signage

It sounds obvious but, as Dawn found out, you need to put some thought into it. Looking at what everyone else has done can just be confusing. So sit down and brainstorm to come up with signage that reflects your business.

"We designed all our own signs, logos and so on," she says. "Again it came down to a very limited budget. We were lucky to have a family connection with a Sign-a-rama franchise in Adelaide. We measured up, sent through our logo, fonts and preferred layout. They came back with a few suggestions and within a couple of weeks we received the vinyl stickers to be placed on our windows and sign board.

"The next complication was to find a local sign writer who was willing to put them on for us. The local Sign-a-rama people who we assumed would be happy to do it - for a fee of course - weren't too cooperative so we contacted another local small business who were more than helpful, and in the end their ideas about placement made more sense than our original thoughts and we ended up with great looking windows."

Ikea bargain binSource free or cheap furniture

Buying shelves or cupboards new can cost a fortune.  But, as the saying goes, one person's trash is another's treasure - so, let everyone know about your new venture. Tell family, friends, neighbours, local shopkeepers and community and let them know what kinds of things you are looking for.

Dawn managed to score some cupboards and a cash register through kind donations. It's also worth checking websites such as Freecycle and Gumtree. And of course there is always Ikea - don't forget to check out the 'damaged goods' section, where you can often find discounted items.

Honeydew's fittingsChoose a suitable layout for your gallery

Starting from scratch with a gallery is, as Dawn says, like having a "blank canvas". You need to decide what is going to go where to best utilise the space both functionally and aesthetically.

Dawn asked her brother-in-law, Fabian Winterbine, who is a qualified merchandiser, to give them a 'Merchandising for Dummies' session, while another friend, Kerrie, offered advice on making the space child-friendly.

"Fab went through how to layout the shop to make it interesting, what style of shelving and furniture will suit our products and budget [and] Kerrie helped us develop our ideas for our younger visitors. We will be setting up a 'Little Rembrandts' area with chalkboard, paper, pencils etc to keep little minds busy while the grown-ups have a look around."