What is the role of a visual merchandiser?
Roles Within the Job
- liaise with all departments to create interesting themes and plans for windows, floor plans and signage and pricing
- research current and future trends in design and lifestyle
- discuss sales strategies with businesses and managers from sales and retail
- source props, fabrics, hardware and lighting for displays
- being able to maximise space within a store to get the best outcome
- using artistic skills or computer-aided design (CAD) packages to create visuals and plans
- visiting branches to help the teams reach the guideline set and coaching them to execute the visual concept
- assembling and dismantling window displays and in-store displays
- comparing stores to another like retailer ('comp (comparison) shops)' in order to stay aware of what they are doing
- leading and motivating teams to complete displays to tight deadlines
- seeking feedback from colleagues and customers to see how they can further the impact of displays and making changes where needed
The Day to Day Role of a VM
- Designing new displays
- Being flexible
- Developing new floor plans
- Creating special displays for promotions and offers
- Feeding back to the head office and buying teams
- Setting displays, dressing mannequins and arranging screens, fabrics and posters in order to make it the most eye catching display
- Sourcing materials for displays such as hiring, making or buying props
- Coaching sales staff on how goods should be displayed
- And finally, taking down old displays to make room for new ones
- Typical hours range between 35-40 hours a week
- Early mornings and late nights are not uncommon in this line of work due to the work needing to be complete before opening hours
- Most overnight shifts occur when redesigning a complete store
- Many roles are full time but part-time hours can be available depending on company.
- Assistants salaries start at around £12,000-£18,000 a year but this is dependant on experience and where it is that the work is needed
- Experienced and management roles start at £20,000-£27,000 a year
- Senior levels start at around £30,000 a year
- directors or those working at international levels can earn between £45,000 and £60,000 per year
(Income figures may change from retailer to retailer and also level of work from employee)
To be successful in the job you will need to:
- be able to deal with criticism and turn it into constructive criticism in order to better your work
- have a strong interest in current and future trends
- be creative and imaginative
- being flexible
- a talent for design and work with colours, lights and style
- visual and spacial awareness and be able to see what works well in a space
- be able to negotiate and communicate well with others
- work well in teams of people
- sticking to a budget and being able to negotiate with suppliers for materials needed
Lke many jobs your personal skills can help you a lot to secure the job, being able to;
- be confident
- work successfully in a team and alone
And many more can help to gain the role and make you become very successful in this career path.
What qualifications for you need?
To become a visual merchandiser it is not essential to have any form of degree, but it does help. Some higher education institutes do specific course to help gain the role, they are available as a two year course to gain a foundation degree; after two years you can do a one year top up course to gain a Bachelors degree.
- fashion buying and merchandising at London College of Fashion;
- visual merchandising and promotional design at Hugh Baird College in Liverpool;
- visual merchandising at Hertford Regional College.
Other useful degree subjects include:
- fashion design;
- fine art;
- interior design;
- surface pattern design;
- 3D design.
Many visual merchandisers gain experience by working their way up the shop floor, but some retailers do offer graduate schemes. Postgraduate qualifications are not essential, but they do help.
The real life of a Visual Merchandiser
Where she came from: 01:07
What she does: 03:09
where she is going: 11:42
Clare Worrall-Hill Visual Merchandiser (2015) Available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/visual-merchandiser (Accessed: 12 September 2016)
Inditex Careers (2016) Asante . Visual Merchnadiser Zara [Online Videa] 6 July 2016 available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itpSwQ_7DNg (Accessed 13 Septemeber 2016)
Mariya Bentz. (2014). Life of a Visual Merchandiser: The Basics | MISSMARIYAXO. [Online Video]. 18 January 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtO-fUSrWoU . [Accessed: 15 September 2016].
http://www.visualmerchandiser.co.uk/ (Visual Merchandiser)