WORKING WITH OTHER DEPARTMENTS
As a VM, you’ll often work with other departments to create your work. You’ll work alongside buying, merchandising, operations and design to decide which products to promote and key items for a season. Plans and themes are developed months in advance and incorporate window displays, store displays, signage and pricing. Almost every department in a brand could have some input into these ideas.
Justin Simpson, Head of Visual Merchandising at The White Company and one of the FRA’s Industry Mentors, says that “the most difficult part of the job is often coming to a compromise creatively,” as you’ll often need to balance lots of different opinions!
You’ll meet with business, sales and retail teams to discuss sales strategies. For example, if you’re planning a promotional event, you’ll need to decide when these will be communicated to customers in stores.
It's an exciting role because “if you don’t make the correct decision, sales go down," says Julia, Regional Visual Merchandiser at Zara.
When setting up displays in stores, you’ll be working with customer assistants and retail managers. After displays have finished and the season has moved on, you’ll often need to give feedback to head office and buying teams with the results of your work. They’ll need to know what worked and what didn’t, so everyone can use this feedback to improve future designs.
Once you have reached a more senior role in Visual Merchandising, there could be the opportunity for international travel if you work for a Global brand. As a Visual Merchandiser, you might be responsible for making sure there is consistency in branding across stores and visiting each of those stores could be a part of the role.
“It’s an adventure, you get to go to different places and meet new people. It’s amazing,” says Julia.