Visual Merchandiser

A guide to the job roles in the fashion industry

what is being a visual merchandiser?

A visual merchandiser, (also known as a window dresser or display assistant) have a lot of creativity and they often use their design skills to put their own twist on a display to help promote the product, image and services of retail businesses and other organisations. They tend to create eye-catching product displays and store layouts and design to attract customers and encourage them to buy. They do this by placing one-off items by the tills as the customers are queuing.

The roles and responsibilities of being a Visual merchandiser:

The typical activities done by the visual merchandisers will depend on the employer and the amount of freedom and creativity they are given. Visual merchandisers working at a higher level can be based within head office teams, regional teams, or flagship stores.

Some general activities include:

  • identifying and sourcing props, fabrics, hardware and lighting;
  • maintaining a budget and negotiating with suppliers of visual materials;
  • working with architectural features of stores to maximise the available space
  • leading and motivating teams to complete displays to tight deadlines;
  • seeking feedback from colleagues and customers on the visual impact of displays and implementing changes.

skills needed to be a visual merchandiser:

To become a visual merchandiser, you will need to have:

  • a good sense of design, colour and style creativity and imagination
  • an awareness of current trends in design, fashion and culture
  • a high level of attention to detail
  • the ability to work to deadlines
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to work well as part of a team and also alone stamina and energy

Experience needed to be a visual merchandiser

To being a career in Visual Merchandising, you'll need to have some sort of experience to start out. You would be able to get qualifications in one of two ways; by completing a retail design qualification at college while looking for work or by moving from an in-store sales assistant role to a trainee visual merchandiser post.

Another way to get the grades needed of which majority of VM's tend to have is a Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Fashion Retail, Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Fashion Retail, Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Retail Skills (Visual Merchandising).

Salary of a visual merchandiser:

A salary of a Visual Merchandiser can start from around £12,000 to £16,000 a year. Senior Visual Merchandisers can earn around £20,000 to £25,000 a year, and a Visual Merchandising manager or designers can earn between £25,000 to £55,000 a year. Finally a visual merchandising director can earn £60,000 a year and over. (these figures are only a guidline).

progression after being a visual merchandiser:

Once you have been a Visual Merchandiser, you can then progress on to being a Global Visual Merchandiser. This means instead of being assigned to one specific area for a certain store, you're sent globally to research and look into your retailer's stores to ensure the store layouts and window displays are running in a similar way and can go to get inspiration from other stores globally.
Franki Sears - Visual Merchandiser