The Role of the Visual Merchandiser
The number one question I get asked by students is, “how do you get a job in display doing windows?” Getting on the window crew of a major retailer is fantastic if you’re lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, but most newbies will start out as a “trimmer” or display artist doing the in-store displays. That’s when I see the faces drop!
I feel I need to explain that “doing windows” is only one part of the job, there are so many other duties that fall under the responsibility of the visual merchandiser. I love knowing that the entire look of the store falls under my domain! Perhaps when you grasp that, you won’t be so forlorn when you don’t get put on the window team right away. I actually only did windows for the small chain stores I worked for, the big department store had me doing Cosmetics, Juniors, all the Accessories, Lingerie and sometimes the Kids Dept. I really let my skills show in the Cosmetics Department!
The role of the visual merchandiser is not only to make the store pretty, and dress mannequins. You also work with the buyers, do a complete floor layout of new merchandise, maintain the standards of the store, replenish merchandise when needed, and make sure all the signage in every department is correct, in addition to making sure the in-store displays and windows are clean and presentable. Oh – did I forget to mention staff meetings, and meetings with the Department Managers on the visual standards for their respective areas.
While you’re running around doing all this with your feather duster, scissors, pins, hammer, and glue gun, the General Manager is wondering why sales are down. This is where you come in again. We contribute to sales too! How? By creating displays that are so attractive people want to come into our store; in-store displays that make them want to shop, and an ambience that makes them want to stay. It is definitely our job to help increase sales, for without which, we would be out of one! Keep in mind the fashion merchandising team will take all the credit for when sales are really good .
I’ve had a few run-ins with the sales staff, but I know my role is to be understanding, patient, dependable, and hard-working, on top of being creative.
(image via: Bestof NJ)