I Do Windows

Coming soon…..

Posted in Uncategorized by Arcadia on May 22, 2012

I’m in the middle of finals week for my classes, but I’m hoping to gather my notes and post the interviews of Ken Ferraris – Visual Manager of Barney’s NY (San Francisco location) and Terry Guiterrez, Visual Merchandiser of Macy’s (San Francisco location).

They were both kind enough to come to my class and speak to my students on the industry and what it takes to make it as a successful display person.

Here’s a tidbit: The number one pressing question everyone writes in and asks, as well as all my students:

“Is a portfolio of past work necessary in a job interview?”  The unanimous answer was YES!!!!!!

Send me your questions!!!!!

Posted in Learn from the Pros by Arcadia on May 7, 2012

This coming Saturday we will have two guest speakers from the world of visual merchandising:

Ken Ferraris (Visual Manager from Barney’s NY).  Ken has been a wonderful contributor to our class in the past and I’m so happy he continues to support our program.

Terry Gut (Visual Merchandiser from Macy’s).  This will be Terry’s first time joining us.

They will be sharing their expertise on what it takes to make it in this business.  I have questions to ask them.  I’ve told my students to bring their questions, and dear readers if YOU have any questions please send them to me and I will be sure to ask the panel.

Three questions I get asked daily are:

  • How do you break into this industry?
  •  Is a portfolio of work necessary at an interview?
  • Is previous experience necessary?

Trust me, I will be sure to present these questions to our speakers!  Let me know if you have any others.  I will try to pick the ones that I think have the broadest appeal or get asked the most.

Students don’t be late, our panel begins at 10:30 am on Saturday.

See you then!

What is visual merchandising?

Posted in Q and A by Arcadia on February 13, 2012

Has anyone ever asked you what you do as a visual merchandiser and you’ve tried to explain it’s a job in fashion, yet not exactly!  I found the cartoon below to be reminiscent of many a conversations I have had :)!

The Role of the Visual Merchandiser

Posted in Fashion 49, Learn from the Pros by Arcadia on August 25, 2011

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)

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