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30-01-2009
  31
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_attak View Post
i know this is nothing big, but i use to work as a visual coordinator for gap and gapkids stores. it was my first job and i had so much fun doing it. esp. with the gapkids clothes. sometimes you have to come up with your own display and/or flip things around to suit your store. i wish i can do visuals for saks or barneys. i love their window displays.
Were you working their as an employee before you go that job?

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30-01-2009
  32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xocait143 View Post
I have an interview in the city to be a visual merchandising intern. Do you think this is a good way to get started if that is what i want to do with my career
It is probably one of the best ways to meet the people you need to know-

The amount of times I have run into a VM who "knew someone" to get the job hence are hopeless at their job is unbelievable. It makes a mockery of those who intern or study their way to the top.

The hands on experience is priceless and everyday I can assure you, you will learn something new.

Just make sure you take pictures of your work or what you contributed to!

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02-02-2009
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xocait143 View Post
Were you working their as an employee before you go that job?
I don't know, this might help answer your question, but I was a visual merchandiser for JCPenney for approximately two years, and I did work as a sales associate and in other various positions in the store first. I actually got into visual merchandising by using JCPenney to tie into my classes at school. If you are working toward a degree in fashion, I think most companies are very likely to get you into those positions.

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03-02-2009
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Hi there,
This is a great thread.
Just today I got accepted into Visual Merchandising Arts at college (it's a two year program).
I'm very excited since I went to a specialized Arts school and most of the course work is in my major (Visual Arts +Design).
I'm like to get into Fashion Illustration but this seems like a really great way to learn about the industry.

I'm just wondering if it's worth it to actually go study this, or if working at a retail store and learning it over time would be just as good. The only upside I see is that they have work placements so I could have some experience and "network" for a job once I graduate.
What are everyone's thoughts on this?

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03-02-2009
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Personally, I think getting into a visual merchandising program would be wonderful! I wish that they had had a program like that close to where I live! I think it would be a great idea, too, to try to get a job doing visual in a retail store, at least part time. I did take a few visual merchandising classes, and I learned a LOT, but the experience that I received working visual at JCP was by far the most helpful! Hope this helps!

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03-02-2009
  36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adi View Post
i work as a visual merchandiser at H&M and i basically got the job by applying. I had been working in the firm like one year as an SA and then the visual merchandiser position opened up and I applied. And as far as I know H&M trains their own personel, so you don't need any degree.

In the H&M case though, you really can't use your own imagination while doing displays and windows. Everything has been decided in the head office and then there are just people in the stores that create them. We have lots of rules to keep the "H&M look and feel". But for someone who is interested starting in the visual merchandising, H&M would be an easy way to start.
urgh I work at H&M as a part time SA. I agree it would also be an easy way to start but you'll have to do it full time (or so I was told). I wanted to move onto VM but I'm a student as well. I hate the fact that you can't use your imagination. I understand there's a look, but I find their display's so uninspiring-they've never actually made me stop and think yeah I want that now. I find it so hard having to resist the urge to rip the clothes off of the mannequin and throow something else onto it.

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03-02-2009
  37
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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the interview for the internship I have is, a little boutique in the meat packing district, do you know anything about the company rebecca and drew?


Last edited by xocait143; 03-02-2009 at 02:24 PM.
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03-02-2009
  38
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenLovesFashion View Post
I don't know, this might help answer your question, but I was a visual merchandiser for JCPenney for approximately two years, and I did work as a sales associate and in other various positions in the store first. I actually got into visual merchandising by using JCPenney to tie into my classes at school. If you are working toward a degree in fashion, I think most companies are very likely to get you into those positions.
thankss, I think ill try maybe and apply their over the summer or something.

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03-02-2009
  39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bespoke Style View Post
It is probably one of the best ways to meet the people you need to know-

The amount of times I have run into a VM who "knew someone" to get the job hence are hopeless at their job is unbelievable. It makes a mockery of those who intern or study their way to the top.

The hands on experience is priceless and everyday I can assure you, you will learn something new.

Just make sure you take pictures of your work or what you contributed to!
hahah yeahh i knoww, i hope i get the internship they are adjusting their schedule to fit mine.

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03-02-2009
  40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platinumpink View Post
I hate the fact that you can't use your imagination. I understand there's a look, but I find their display's so uninspiring-they've never actually made me stop and think yeah I want that now. I find it so hard having to resist the urge to rip the clothes off of the mannequin and throow something else onto it.
But ... there is someone (probably a team) at the top who does make the decsions about what the current "look" of all the stores will be ... so the goal would be to work your way up to that team.

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03-02-2009
  41
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platinumpink View Post
I understand there's a look, but I find their display's so uninspiring-they've never actually made me stop and think yeah I want that now. I find it so hard having to resist the urge to rip the clothes off of the mannequin and throow something else onto it.
I agree. The only thing I've ever stopped and looked at at H&M were the shoes on the mannequins, and those were not even on sale 90% of the time. lol

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18-03-2009
  42
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I agree with Bette, there is a team at the Top and that is where I will eventually want to get too... I do some visual merchandising now.. in terms of product placement, but what really gives me a buzz is mannequin stryling and window dressing... as i live in london i have applied to 2 colleges London college of communication for a diploma in 3d design , for window dressing, and retail fashion academy for 1yr program in visual merchandising...

I think i prefer to get the place at rfa, as this has closer links to the industry and the arrange alot of head office placements.. and an opportunity to mke really good contacts i think.. has anyone had experience of either of these schools or courses? how helpful did u find it...

Has anyone got any other advise about how i could get into mannequin styling, for an exciting brand?..on the uk highst... i think topshop would be one of the best to start with there training n developement is excellent! ...does anyone work for the creative team at selfridges..what junior positions do u have there? and what do they look for as a mimum requirement?. what other stores do you know of that have spedcific teams for windows and mannequin dressing...

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18-03-2009
  43
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Join Date: May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vita View Post
I agree with Bette, there is a team at the Top and that is where I will eventually want to get too... I do some visual merchandising now.. in terms of product placement, but what really gives me a buzz is mannequin stryling and window dressing... as i live in london i have applied to 2 colleges London college of communication for a diploma in 3d design , for window dressing, and retail fashion academy for 1yr program in visual merchandising...

I think i prefer to get the place at rfa, as this has closer links to the industry and the arrange alot of head office placements.. and an opportunity to mke really good contacts i think.. has anyone had experience of either of these schools or courses? how helpful did u find it...

Has anyone got any other advise about how i could get into mannequin styling, for an exciting brand?..on the uk highst... i think topshop would be one of the best to start with there training n developement is excellent! ...does anyone work for the creative team at selfridges..what junior positions do u have there? and what do they look for as a mimum requirement?. what other stores do you know of that have spedcific teams for windows and mannequin dressing...
I am a VM in Topman at Westfield, and we do both VM (product placement/merchandising/commercial work) as well as creative (displays/windows/mannequins), but the Topshop VMs have 2 teams, VM and Creative, so my store for certain has a team that purely specialises in Creative. My gf is a VM at the Oxford Circus store, and they too have 2 teams. I think we're the only 2 London stores to have specific Creative teams... Where I work, most of the Creative team have some form of Fashion/Art degree, but I don't think it's a must. In terms of the RFA, I would honestly say that you'd be best off trying to get a job at a high profile store (i.e. Oxford Circus/Westfield in terms of Topshop), because head office people are always in/you get a chance to go to Head Office and work with them, due to the profile of the store. You would need some form of portfolio mind you to get the job, so RFA would be good if you haven't got one.

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19-03-2009
  44
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olivermorgan View Post
I am a VM in Topman at Westfield, and we do both VM (product placement/merchandising/commercial work) as well as creative (displays/windows/mannequins), but the Topshop VMs have 2 teams, VM and Creative, so my store for certain has a team that purely specialises in Creative. My gf is a VM at the Oxford Circus store, and they too have 2 teams. I think we're the only 2 London stores to have specific Creative teams... Where I work, most of the Creative team have some form of Fashion/Art degree, but I don't think it's a must. In terms of the RFA, I would honestly say that you'd be best off trying to get a job at a high profile store (i.e. Oxford Circus/Westfield in terms of Topshop), because head office people are always in/you get a chance to go to Head Office and work with them, due to the profile of the store. You would need some form of portfolio mind you to get the job, so RFA would be good if you haven't got one.
Thanks for your reply Oliver...I agree that getting a job with topshops vm or creative team is probably as good as the rfa course,,, i haven't got a portfolio though.
  • What would they expect a portflio to contain? I
  • Is it possible to go in as vm, and then work my way into creative?
  • What are they requirements for vm?
  • Which westfield team are you on vm or creative? or do u do both?
  • What hours do u work and what is the pay like?
I'm just a lil nervous as i am on 10 p/hr and i have a feeling ts will not match that. What would be your advise in applying to vm at say oxford circus,... would you say i should go speak to the vm manager specifically, if possible and take my cv?

Decisions.. decisions ...i really am not sure what to as im not sure if i can afford a drop in salary but i was definitely prefer vm to what i do know.. n working for topshop wud b better on my cv and more enjoyable i feel. What are the vm team like at oxford circus... does ur gf like it there?

I hope u don't mind my gazillion questions...look fwd to your reply...

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22-03-2009
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Join Date: May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vita View Post
Thanks for your reply Oliver...I agree that getting a job with topshops vm or creative team is probably as good as the rfa course,,, i haven't got a portfolio though.
  • What would they expect a portflio to contain? I
  • Is it possible to go in as vm, and then work my way into creative?
  • What are they requirements for vm?
  • Which westfield team are you on vm or creative? or do u do both?
  • What hours do u work and what is the pay like?
I'm just a lil nervous as i am on 10 p/hr and i have a feeling ts will not match that. What would be your advise in applying to vm at say oxford circus,... would you say i should go speak to the vm manager specifically, if possible and take my cv?

Decisions.. decisions ...i really am not sure what to as im not sure if i can afford a drop in salary but i was definitely prefer vm to what i do know.. n working for topshop wud b better on my cv and more enjoyable i feel. What are the vm team like at oxford circus... does ur gf like it there?

I hope u don't mind my gazillion questions...look fwd to your reply...
No worries! It is a bit of an odd job to find out information for, as its pretty specialist in terms of retail..

1-In terms of portfolio, it depends if you want VM or Creative. For VM, examples of merchandising you've done would be good, as would anything that shows off any business-type skills, as VM is not just making the clothes look good on display, but using and analysing figures/sales reports, and acting on them to further drive sales. For Creative, anything art/fashion based you may having done, whether it be styling/illustration/installation. Anything that shows some fashion/design awareness. A current trend mood board is always good too, show you know what you are on about!

2-It's actually easier to get into Creative and then work towards VM. VM is held much higher than Creative, just because as I mentioned above, it's not just making the clothes look nice instore, but it is showing business/commercial skills, looking at and being able to use sales/stock figures in order to further drive sales, as well as being creative in the way in which the clothes are displayed. If you are established in VM, you could go anywhere and do either VM or Creative, but the same cannot be said if you are established in just Creative. It's easy enough though to go between the 2.. I work for Topman, not Topshop at Westfield, and unlike Topshop, we don't split the two, so we do both VM and Creative.

3- Requirements for VM is an odd one... You have to be both creative and fashion minded, as well as having a good business and commercial mind. Good fashion knowlege is essential though when merchandising, to create the right mood/trend with the outfir builds you make. A good work ethic is a must, as are good communication skills, because you not only have to communicate with your VM Manager, but head office VM teams, as well as shop floor teams/shop floor management, and stockroom teams. In terms of qualifications, it's again an odd one, as it's a very specific skill. Most VMs (or atleast VMs for Topshop/Topman in high profile stores) have some form of fashion/arts degree, but it's really not something that is needed.

4- At Westfield, I do both, because as I explainded, Topman don't split it the same way Topshop do. Good for me though, because I enjoy doing both!

5-I work full time, which is 37.5 hours a week, and all VMs work 7am-4pm. Sounds early, but it means that you have a few hours before the store opens to get major things done.. It's so nice as well to travel to and from work when the tube is not rammed, and you get more of an evening. You get used to the earlier start, and now I would really hate to work any other hours. We have to work the odd over night shift too for major moves/set ups, but they're really not too often. In terms of pay, you'd be on about the same. As it's more of a specialist role, the pay is better than normal sales floor staff (or it is atleast for TS/TM.)

My gf LOVES circus! The team there are all really nice/very good at their job. Circus is getting a 16million refit over the summer too, so they are all doing loads of work for that at the moment, helping design the new store. I've seen some plans, and it's going to be AMAZING! Pretty good time to get onboard there in terms of VM, because after the refit, the profile of the store/the VM there is going to go through the roof. In terms of applying, it's be near-impossible to talk to the VM Manager. I've popped in to find people for work related things, and it's taken an age to get to them, because of the size, and they were expecting me! Easiest thing to do would be to call the store and press the option to be put through to HR, or apply on their website. There is a link at the bottom, and you just choose the area you're interested in, answer some questions, and submit your CV.

I was talking to my gf about the RA, and someone on her team did the year long VM course there. He had no previous VM experience, and said it was really good, because he got to learn everything from scratch, did placements in head office/met the right people, and then secured a circus job, at a slightly higher wage! Worth looking into if applying doesn't work out and you're really serious about the career change.

Let me know how it all goes, and just ask if you have any furher questions!

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