October 24 - Welcome Reception
Join us for a special IRDC Welcome Reception sponsored by Schimenti on Oct. 24 from 8:30 – 10:00 PM at the Aurora Restaurant & Bar within the Marriot City Center. All Shop! Ideation and IRDC participants are invited to meet up for a drink and a chance to cross-network with retail industry professionals.
NETWORKING BREAKFAST1h 00min
Opening Keynote: Lizzie Velasquez1h 00min
When Lizzie Velasquez was just 17 years old, a hurtful, bullying video launched her onto the international scene. She could have crumbled — many of us would have. Instead, she found the strength to speak up and out, and has become a global motivational speaker, YouTube personality, anti-bullying activist, and author. In this captivating and motivational keynote, you’ll learn how she moved from the shock of being judged for her appearance to sharing her passion for kindness, communication, and connection as an international influencer. Lizzie now has nearly a million followers on YouTube and is the author of four books, including Dare to be Kind (Hachette Book Group). Her story has been featured on Katie Couric, The Today Show, The View, Huffington Post, Associated Press, MSN and Yahoo!, among many other national and international media. Prepare to be inspired — and to see yourself and what you can do in a whole new way.
Interactive Workshop | Messy Creativity0h 45min
Do you enjoy breaking the rules and rethinking old beliefs? What about exploring ideas related to neuroscience or ChatGPT? In this hands-on workshop, join Judy Bell, Founder & CEO of Energetic Retail, formerly of Target with 22 years in innovative roles, as she leads groups on an investigation into imaginative wisdom. Inspired by the book “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” teams will be challenged to answer questions through a series of words and sketches. Attend this workshop to discover and challenge your creative process and uncover new strategies to problem solving. To top it off, Visual Merchandising “Wizards” featured in Judy Bell’s 2022 college textbook “Silent Selling” will be assisting teams with their ideation challenge.
Judy Bell, Founder and CEO, Energetic Retail
Tom Beebe, Creative Consultant, Stylist, Window Wizard; Joe Baer, Co-Founder, CEO & Creative Director, ZenGenius; Lena Lim, B+N Industries; Reginaldo Lusiak-Reyes, VP Brand Experience & Environmental Design, KNOCK Inc.
Interactive Workshop | Your Gut Knows: The Powerful Gut-Brain Connection and How to Hear It0h 45min
We all have that inner voice telling us “oh no” or “oh yeah,” but listening to our intuition is often obscured by our fears, stress, hopes and expectations. In this interactive workshop, explore the importance of listening, understanding and interpreting those gut feelings – and how to get in touch with them. Discover how to remove creative roadblocks and understand how to really hear what your intuition is trying to tell you – and learn about what happens when you don’t!
Linda Cahan, Owner, Cahan and Company
Breakout Session | Evolution of Design Thinking0h 45min
Like many retailers, Target’s design approach has evolved greatly with the ever changing retail environment. Having an initial focus on prototypical, new-build, suburban locations, Target developed a series of prototype(s) that allowed them the ability to scale quickly while delivering a consistent guest experience. In this session, Target will break down the evolution of their store design approach, focused on localization, belonging and delivering an experience to our guests that represents the surrounding community. Discover how Target is taking the learnings of the last decade and applying them for actionable results.
Ken McQuade, Lead Design Architect, Target
Robyn Vogel, Director of Store Design, Target
Breakout Session | The Power of Brand-Led Experience: M&M’S Creates Belonging0h 45min
How can an internationally recognized brand create a cohesive, purposeful presence while using design to embrace local markets? M&M’S partnered with Landor & Fitch to design three new flagships in Disney Springs, Mall of America and Berlin, aiming to create a memorable experience for all funkind. Between connected touchpoints, universal & inclusive design and unique attractions, Chip Cook of Mars Inc. and Landor & Fitch’s Ashley Randolph will explore the importance of brand purpose in experiences. From personalized chocolate to character meet-and-greets, learn more about M&M’S latest physical stores, and discover how a brand purpose should be top-of-mind for retailers and designers alike.
Chip Cook, Senior Retail Design Manager, Mars Inc.
Ashley Randolph, Design Director, Landor & Fitch
ROUNDTABLE NETWORKING LUNCH1h 15min
Lunch Presentation | Magic in the Windows: A Conversation with Gene Moore0h 30min
Gene Moore was an iconic figure in the retail industry – someone who raised the professional bar for all visual merchandisers. In this fireside-style chat, VMSD’s New York Editor Eric Feigenbaum will sit down with longtime VMSD Editorial Advisory Board member Tom Beebe, who worked closely with the legendary window stylist and documented his work for The Smithsonian. Attend this special lunchtime presentation to discover why windows are still one of the most important VM touchpoints in a retailer’s arsenal and be inspired by myriad examples of Gene Moore’s renown artistry.
Eric Feigenbaum, President, Embrace Design; VMSD New York Editor and Editorial Advisory Board Member
Tom Beebe, Creative Consultant, Stylist, Window Wizard; VMSD Editorial Advisory Board Member
General Session: Defining the Store of the Future0h 45min
Victoria’s Secret & Co. is one of the world’s leading lingerie, apparel and beauty brands that’s always had a strong focus on its customers, and, in recent years, it’s become an increasingly important approach. How can a retailer with such an expansive global footprint redefine its store experience across the board? Attend this general session presented by Albert Gilkey, SVP of Store Design & Visual, Victoria’s Secret & Co., to explore the retailer’s new Store of the Future. Through this session, attendees will discover how a welcoming and inviting customer experience can be utilized to amplify in-store narratives – and understand how technology can be leveraged to enhance dynamic storytelling and strong customer engagement.
Albert Gilkey, SVP of Store Design & Visual, Victoria's Secret & Co.
Offsite Retail Inspiration Tours, Sponsored by KNOCK Inc.3h 00min
TARGET: Just a few skywalks away from the host hotel, attendees will be invited on a guided tour to explore Target’s downtown Nicollet Street location to get some much-needed inspiration. Following the store tour, attendees will be guided to Target’s headquarters buildings just blocks from the hotel. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up soon.
MALL OF AMERICA: This event is open to retailers, visual merchandisers and designers ONLY. Featuring a behind-the-scenes look at how Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe amusement park work – plus countless details that only insiders know, exciting previews of what’s to come, and anecdotes from over the decades. Please wear comfortable shoes and be ready to move! Tour time is approximately 90 minutes. Space is extremely limited, so be sure to sign up soon. Hosted by Chandler.
NORTH LOOP: This self-guided excursion will allow attendees to walk around the North Loop neighborhood at their own pace and explore the plethora of independent retailers, restaurants and breweries in the area. Specific retailer names to be announced prior to the event. A handy on-site guide will provide insight to the various things to see in the area. Hosted by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Retail Design Institute.
Iron Merchant Challenge Cocktail Reception -- Sponsored by Target1h 00min
Sponsored by Target, attendees will be able to kick off the Iron Merchant Challenge celebration early with a cocktail reception. After you're back from the offsite tours, be sure to stop by for a drink and some networking. Doors to the Iron Merchant Challenge will open around 6 p.m.
Iron Merchant Challenge & Reception2h 00min
Back for its 17th year in a row is the coveted Iron Merchant Challenge. Hosted by emcee Joe Baer of ZenGenius Inc., six teams of 10 attendees (retailers, designers and sponsors) will be challenged to create a faux window display in an hour using a secret ingredient to be unveiled on-site - all with cocktails in hand!
Joe Baer, Co-Founder, CEO & Creative Director, ZenGenius Inc.
Sponsor Case Study Breakfast2h 00min
9:15 a.m.: Sustainable by Design
Recrylic + Lunds & Byerlys
During this Sponsor Case Study Breakfast, attendees will learn how Lunds & Byerlys reduces carbon footprint with help from Recrylic.
General Session: The Economy in Transition (Or Not)0h 45min
Even though the economy hasn’t really changed from what it was prior to the “Covid Recession,” the world believes it is different. Join Sarah Quinlan, Chief Economist, The Consello Group, as she explores the evolution of the retail economy and addresses current pain points and solutions. What should businesses be doing differently today in order to succeed and thrive? Discover the answer in this rousing general session focusing on the economy as it relates to retail and store design.
Sarah Quinlan, Chief Economist, The Consello Group
Breakout Session | Putting People First: The Relevance of Human-Centric Design0h 45min
When one of Canada’s leading non-prime consumer lenders wanted to reinvent its easyfinancial brand’s physical spaces, highlighting a human-centric approach was an imperative step in elevating the customer and employee experiences. Launched in 2006 and with 300 branches across Canada, easyfinancial’s new design sought to support a truly omnichannel experience through an intentional incorporation of comfort, trust and education. Attend this session to understand the importance of putting customers at the heart of your design approach to avoid common pain points – and uncover how you can take transactional and service-based retail experiences to the next level.
Jackie Foo, EVP & Chief Operating Officer, goeasy Ltd.
Mardi Najafi, VP, Retail Strategy & Design, Figure3
Breakout Session | Growing Reality: Cultivating Intangibles in Emerging Retail Experiences0h 45min
The retail landscape is driven by experience, but how do brands with intangible products, where you do not have the luxury to “try before you buy,” create connections, drive trial and, ultimately, build loyalty? In this session, Sara Sullivan of INSA and Robyn Novak of AGAR explain why cannabis retailers aren’t alone when facing these challenges: DTC brands and service retailers also struggle with “experiential” reality. Through this session, discover how growing brands like INSA have created a series of “memory-making moments” in order to build brand awareness alongside a loyal fanbase. Through physical pop-ups, VR experiences and strategic campaigns, uncover how brands with even the most intangible products can make an impact on consumers.
Sara Sullivan, Vice President of Retail Development, Experience, & Operations, INSA
Robyn Novak, Executive Director of Strategy and Development, AGAR
NETWORKING LUNCH1h 15min
VMSD Awards Luncheon0h 30min
Join us for our annual VMSD Awards Luncheon where we'll honor winners of the 2023 Designer Dozen, International Visual Competition, Retail Renovation Competition, as well as our coveted 2023 VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year.
General Session | Designing Tomorrow's Retail: Neuro-Centric, AI-Enhanced & Planet-Friendly1h 00min
Many of us are familiar with artificial intelligence (AI), but what does it mean for the retail design industry? In this general session, take a provocative exploration of the intersection of artificial and artisanal intelligence, challenging traditional paradigms in design thinking. By weaving together the seemingly divergent threads of machine precision and human intuition, attendees will be invited to reimagine the very fabric of retail spaces. It's not just about aesthetics and functionality: It's a call to infuse retail design with deeper meaning and connectivity, engaging customers in a shared journey that transcends mere commercial transactions. This blend of technological innovation with the soul of human artistry opens a path to not only reshape our spaces but also redefine our relationship with the world we build and inhabit.
Samar Younes, Founder, Chief Imagination Officer, Samaritual
Breakout Session | NXTLVL Thinking on Art, Brain Science and Retail Placemaking0h 45min
For four seasons of the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast, listeners have heard from visionaries about the making of engaging and meaningful brand experience places. Guests have been provocateurs for whom disruption and transformation are a way of engaging in work and play every day. They’ve included thought leaders who are driven by curiosity, a passion to create the ‘New Possible’ and who have a mindset of promoting new paradigms of experiences into the mainstream. This dynamic dialogue between an art envoy for the U.S. State Department, neuroscientist and design visionary focuses on how these fields combine to create what’s now and what’s “NXT.”
David Kepron, Owner, Founder, NXTLVL Experience Design; VP Brand Experience and Design Strategy, Aedifica
Gabriele Chiave, VP Global, Design Creative Direction & Innovation - The Estée Lauder Companies Inc
Dr. Paul Zak, Founder, Immersion Neuroscience,
Tracy Lee Stum, Artist and Owner, TiLT A Tracy Lee Stum Museum®
Breakout Session | 7 Steps to Save the World: Retail Do This Now!0h 45min
During IRDC 2022 in Columbus, Ohio, Christian Davies made the compelling case that retail has the power to save the planet by adopting a new approach to sustainability. A year on, how much change have we been able to effect? In this interactive panel presentation, Davies will explore the tools and techniques our industry needs to begin considering through an expert panel of industry professionals working with sustainability initiatives: Savannah Tarpey of Wayfair; Annie Bevan of SMS Consulting; and Philip Raub of Model No. Attend this provocative session to uncover how you can begin making meaningful change in your own organizations – the time for action is now.
Savannah Tarpey, Sustainability Manager, Wayfair
Annie Bevan, Founder, SMS Collaborative
Phillip Raub, Founder, CEO, Model No.
Christian Davies, Principal, Bergmeyer
Closing Keynote | The Greatest Story Ever Worn: How Centuries-Old Brands Thrive in the 21st Century1h 00min
With a history spanning nearly 200 years, Levi’s sits in a unique position, as a heritage brand rich in stories, values and authenticity unmatched by its competitors. While a storied past can be a treasure trove for brands, it's important to adapt and resonate with contemporary consumers. Today, Levi’s appeal is stronger than ever, remaining relevant with new generations of consumers who have an overwhelming amount of denim choices. In this fireside chat, we’ll focus on how Levi’s remains relevant and ahead of the competition. What do they prioritize when it comes to store design and the in-store experience? Find out in this “riveting” session from two different perspectives – client and designer.
Jesse Moyer, Director, Global Store Design, Levi’s
Bevan Bloemendaal, Chief Brand & Creative Officer, NELSON Worldwide
Faith Huddleston, Studio Leader–Lifestyle, Retail Practice, NELSON Worldwide
OFFSITE CLOSING PARTYThe Pour House 3h 00min
Join us for a party to cap off the 2023 International Retail Design Conference at The Pourhouse. Located a short walk from the host hotel at South 5th St. in the historic Lumber Exchange Building, our closing party will feature light bites, drinks, dancing, networking and much more. The venue's brick and dark wood interior combines prohibition-era design with the cozy Midwest feeling of Minneapolis. Celebrate IRDC 2023 with us in the heart of downtown!