Case Study: Art Deco Display for the Clevelander Hotel

Posted on January 31, 2014

Original Plans

By Dean Schwartz(SWAG Master): If you’re a South Florida resident like I am, you know that the Clevelander Hotel is one of the most iconic Miami Beach hotels around. Outdoor swimming pool in the middle of the bar, lively music and great people-watching define it. In fact, it’s also one of the top-grossing bars in the country. As we say down here, “it’s so Miami.”

Not too long ago, the Clevelander team came to us looking to have some merchandised t-shirts reprinted – shirts that they’d already had produced. Naturally, rather than just do the job, we asked to see where the shirts would be sold at the hotel.

They told us the shirts would be in a non-descript corner and would likely receive little to no attention. Once upon a time, they were sold at a display counter which doubled as the front desk, and sales were great. After a complete renovation, bringing the hotel back to its art deco roots, having shirts up front wasn’t part of their new look. The bad part… sales tanked.

Instead of reprinting shirts and cashing in on a quick sale, we charged ourselves with a daunting task – how to boost sales, while at the same time, not cheapening the image of the hotel’s iconic lobby.

Our division, SWAG Shops, a partnership with Errez Design, went to work designing a unit that met the following criteria:

    • The merchandising unit had to look great and fit seamlessly into the lobby
    • The merchandise had to be visible but stay behind lock and key to avoid theft
    • It had to be versatile so that it could be moved, if necessary
    • And it needed to be able to accommodate different types of SWAG, from t-shirts to board shorts to caps to cups, etc. (we never stop at one product – but you already knew that)

So what did we come up with? In the end, we created four different sized units that stepped down to mimic a stairway in the back of the unit, so it looked like it blended right into the hotel. And in terms of design, the display units were made from a combination of wood, blue and clear acrylic, and then covered with a mirrored laminate. It came out great. But to give it that little extra SWAG? To make it “so Miami”? We topped it off with a lady mannequin, greeting the Clevelander hotel guest and beckoning them to bring home a piece of the Clevelander “SWAGger.”

Now that sales are up-and-running, the next step is to help the Clevelander grow sales. Whether it’s helping with marketing materials, sales training for their staff or just coming up with unique SWAG for them to sell, we’re in this for the long haul and will do everything we can to make this a win-win relationship.

Stay tuned for more about our work with the Cleve and let us know if your hotel or restaurant is looking to either add an additional source of revenue or revamp your existing program to reach its true potential. Call us today at 888.752.0432 or email me at, even if it’s just to brainstorm (I love that part).

TAGS: custom displays,

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