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The Role of a Visual Merchandiser > Visual merchandising in a department store - Pg. 21

The Role of a Visual Merchandiser 21 Visual merchandising in a department store Department stores will give a novice excellent training and knowledge of visual merchandising because of the diverse range of products that they house. The training to be gained from an established team is invaluable. Traditionally, those entering a visual merchan- dising team in a department store will begin as dresser or junior visual merchandiser; if they work hard and show that they are willing, they may be promoted within two years to a senior role. Managers are likely to spot potential and develop those they see as future managers by encouraging them to develop their communication and managerial skills, to begin managing a budget and to develop a complete window scheme before they are promoted to a managerial role. Those dressers who enjoy the hands-on practicalities of working on displays may prefer not to pursue a managerial role, given all the administration it involves. A regional depart- ment store may have its own visual merchan- dising team, which takes its lead from the flagship store, but the career path there will be similar to that in the flagship store, with the regional manager controlling the budget and recruitment for the regional store. Mark Briggs of Harrods recruits most of his 67 staff as students. After completing work experience, they go on to assist him dressing 1.25 miles (2 km) of window space and merchandising 1,000,000 sq ft (92,903 square metres) of shop floor. Mark says that a good structure is key to the smooth running of his team. "Communication is the key word," he explains. "I hold weekly meetings with my team leaders to explain future concepts and promotions to make them feel part of the Harrods family." Harrods, like many department stores worldwide, employs separate interior and window visual merchandising teams. A visual merchandiser often has the chance to choose which of the two he or she prefers to excel in; others, however, will be placed according to their merits and talents. Working in both categories will give the trainee visual merchandiser a better overall knowledge and may make the individual more marketable. Above Oversized gilt picture frames are used as props in this in-store display to create drama and atmosphere at Lane Crawford, Hong Kong. Below Also at Lane Crawford, these immaculately dressed mannequins interact with housewares to make dramatic in-store displays.