Former banking executive Kellie Scott raises an eyebrow or two when she says that she relied on the principles of feng shui to design her art gallery. "I'm a pragmatist," says Scott, the 48-year-old owner of Red Sky Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina. "But I've always been sensitive to how a room feels."
Consultant Jami Lin of Feng-Shui-Interior-Design.com explains that feng shui is the Chinese art of placement. Users believe that the practice-incorporating lighting, layout, color, balance, space and shape-can dramatically increase a store's appeal. "Feng shui design keeps the eye moving," says Lin. "If customers don't see something they like, their eyes should automatically go to something else."
Lin suggests consulting a professional but says retailers can employ simple principles on their own, such as lighting consistently without dark spots, keeping garbage cans out of sight, and making entryways clean and inviting. Incorporating these principles, says Lin, can improve the energy flow-and cash flow-in your store.
It's worked for Scott, who used a feng shui consultant to pull her gallery's look together. "When we display things together using feng shui, they often sell together, where we might only sell one of the pieces if we didn't have them displayed that way," she says. "We really see a positive difference in sales when we're using feng shui."