Visual Merchandiser

Fashion Thinking

What is the role of a Visual Merchandiser otherwise known as a VM?

A visual merchandiser is tasked with overseeing and coordinating displays within a store and different exhibits concerned with the store. They also help to establish a theme within a store and evoke a certain environment and feel to the store through the use of the visual displays. Furthermore, they also use their design services to aid in the promotion of the image, products and services provided by retail companies.
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Chanel window display in Paris

Working Hours and Salaries

The average visual merchandiser can expect to work around 37- 40 hours per week, working Monday to Friday. Overtime including early starts and late finishes are fairly common due to the fact that most work must be completed with the hours of the store being closed.

In relation to income and salaries, a newly qualified VM can expect to earn £12,000 to £18,00 per annum which is likely to increase based on experience. Experienced VM's can earn between £20,000 and £27,00 per year with senior roles starting at £30,000.

Employment Opportunities

Currently, the job market for visual merchandising is the largest it has ever been. On average, the retail industry employs approximately 3 million people and by division it is the country's largest job market.

There are many different employment opportunities within the visual merchandising job market that are surprisingly not just in fashion. For example, visual merchandisers could work in a museum, an airport, a hotel or at different tourist attractions creating their visual displays. In addition to this, visual merchandiser can also design store layouts or create one-off displays as they do not only design window displays.

Skills Needed to be a Sucessful VM

There are a large variety of skills and personal characteristics that VM must possess including:

- An imaginative and creative eye;

- Enthusiasm and interest in current and upcoming trends;

- Good attention to detail;

- Sufficient interpersonal/ interactional skills;

- Ability to work within a variety of different teams;

- Expertise with colour, style and design;

- Ability to think constructively regarding criticism;

- Ability to work well under pressure and within a deadline;

- Effective skills regarding negotiation;

- Good artistic abilities (sculpting and painting);

- Good planning abilities.

Daily Life/ Responsibilities

Some of the several common daily tasks and responsibilities that a VM may have to undergo consist of:

- Checking daily updates and e-mails in regards to the store in question;

- Calculating how much money previous displays made the store in order to help determine upcoming store layouts;

- Walk throughs of the shop floor accompanied by the store manager to find out what the potential aims for the store are;

- Rearranging and innovating departments to make them more visually appealing;

- Creating and assembling window displays (however sometimes displays can be pre-determined by senior visual merchandisers);

- Liaising with senior staff members to update them with the changes to the store and to receive feedback;

- Visiting other store branches to see their visual displays;

- Assembling displays within the store (visual or window displays);

- Asking colleagues for constructive feedback in order to make the appropriate changes.

Asante · Visual Merchandiser Zara

Qualifications/ Experience

Some qualifications/ entry requirements that employers may desire in a potential candidate for the job role in question are:

- Fashion buying and merchandising degree;

- Previous VM experience;

- Interior design knowledge;

- Degree in textiles;

- Good knowledge of fine art or fashion design.


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