How do I get into Visual Merchandising?
If you are creative and love retail you might like to consider a career in visual merchandising. The fabulous thing about being in VM is that you can incorporate visual merchandising into your retail career. Working as an in store VM, you also have selling responsibilities and could take it further by studying to become a creator of fashion in-store master pieces... it’s your choice.
Many a retail job spec has visual merchandising as a responsibility. Don’t be fooled, there is VM and there is VM. When you are in a store environment folding perfect piles of knitwear and shirts or spacing product on the racks this is visual merchandising – but it is really related to general product presentation, and usually you will receive product presentation guides from head office to let you how the current range needs to be displayed. If you work for a smaller independent boutique you may be given more autonomy to re merchandise the store and move the product around significantly. It’s like a personal wardrobe tidy-up on a massive scale. Once you start, you have to finish and usually there will be one piece of stock that will elude you – “Where on earth will I locate it…?”
If by working in an in-store merchandising capacity you develop a love for stock rearrangement, then you should consider the next step - a course in visual merchandising to learn the skills to create visually impressive stores. Working as a visual merchandiser in a visual merchandising team will see you work with the product plans before the product hits the stores. Computer aided design programs will allow you to develop the product plans for the stores as well as the development of display windows. You may also take on a hands-on role periodically merchandising the stores, traveling a territory or sometimes the country to merchandise.
To be successful as a visual merchandiser you need creative skills and the ability to develop continual visual concepts to entice shoppers, in collaboration with hands on skills. You need to apply these skills in many different ways; from being squashed in store windows dressing mannequins to placing signage on windows or moving fixtures and fittings, to mention just a few.
It’s rewarding, fun and full of variety. I don’t know a visual merchandiser who doesn’t have a full-on, busy schedule. Every day you are driven by creating something visually pleasing with the anticipation of customers and sales.
So if you are interested in a career in fashion Visual Merchandising why not find a fashion college near you (see our ‘fashion education’ directory) and enroll today. If you don’t feel inclined to be a professional visual merchandiser enjoy in-store VM and when the VM team arrives on your stores doorstep you can often get involved in assisting in the creation of the visual concepts in the store anyway…