If there is one individual who needs to become a jack-of-all-trades in the fashion industry, it is the visual merchandiser. From marketing, communications, design to retail, sales management, business management, and research, the more the skills a visual merchandiser has, the better. However, there are no set prerequisites to becoming a successful visual merchandiser, which can be confusing for someone looking to start a career in this arena. Here is a guide to how a beginner can step into this industry and make their way to establishing themselves.
Signing-Up for a professional course
The first step towards starting a successful career in the field of visual merchandising is to learn all the technical nuts and bolts. The best way to do so is to choose merchandising course. Besides instilling much-needed knowledge, such a course will also enhance the aspirant’s credibility in the market.
The post-graduation program in Fashion Business (Marketing and Merchandising) offered by Pearl Academy is one such course wherein students get to experience end-to-end education of the field of Visual Merchandising. The core subjects in the syllabus include Merchandising, Marketing, Branding, Integrated Marketing Communications, Product Development, Sourcing, Buying, and Range Planning.
Joining Multiple Internships
Getting an internship could be an appropriate starting point for aspiring visual merchandisers. If one is not able to find an internship with an experienced visual merchandiser, an internship in the retail department of a shop, boutique, or a brand would also add value to the C. V. and help gain the required experience.
While interning, it is important to observe not only the mentors but the floor plan of the store, the sales representatives, the way the windows of the store are dressed, and especially the customers because the ultimate goal of visual merchandising is to attract customers through visual appeal and increasing the sales of the establishment where one is working. By observing, an aspirant is bound to learn a lot about design and customer behaviour.
From here, one can move up to pitching ideas to the mentor, the retail or the sales head, and work on campaigns with them. As an aspirant gains experience during internships, they will learn more about trends, why different items are placed the way they are, why stocks are moved as the season changes, creating campaigns according to the budget set by the managers, pitching ideas effectively to the supervisors.
Staying up-to-date via self-education
Depending on the area that one aspires to work as a visual merchandiser, being up-to-date on the latest trends and designs for that matter will enable one to plan efficiently. For example, if a visual merchandiser works in a dessert shop and Dalgona Coffee is in trend, then displaying Dalgona Coffee in the front row of the showcase will attract more customers. Similarly, suppose the winter season is coming up. In that case, a visual merchandiser working in a clothing retail store should know the upcoming trends and create the floor plan, banners, colour schemes (opt for darker shades instead of lighter ones) accordingly.
Be it the merchandising industry or any other, networking can take one very far. Throughout their journey towards becoming a visual merchandiser, an aspirant will come across several experienced and influential people from the industry. It is now up to them to set a firm footing by forming meaningful connections. The circle could include college professors and fellow students, other experienced visual merchandisers, retailers, brand managers, among others.
Form and function must always go hand-in-hand as they continue to remain the two sides of the same coin. To that end, visual merchandisers play a crucial role in the decision-making process of potential customers, particularly the window shoppers. It is an exciting career choice that offers plenty of room for creativity and originality.