What The Hell Do You Do?
I graduated from Western Illinois University with a Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Fashion Merchandising and since then I have been a part of various fashion organizations, worked as both a vendor and buyer at trade shows, and gained a ton of experience in event production. While all these things play significant parts in my professional journey, my 6+ years in Visual Merchandising have really helped to develop my laser sharp focus, eye for detail, and professional patience.
But what the hell is it? To make a long story short, Visual Merchandising is a scientific practice that uses displays, signage, merchandise, and store layout to elevate the customer experience and drive the overall sales of the company. So basically, Visual’s are the people you blame with things are out of place and sales are low hahah! Jk ( not really) It’s a thankless job!
For those who don’t know... yes, Fashion is a business and more specifically Visual Merchandising is a science. I was always slighted when I would tell others about my career and I grew shame around explaining what my job entails. It got to the point that when ppl would say things like “oh so you get paid to play w/ mannequins all day” I just said yea even though it’s not true at all.
If I’m being honest, it wasn’t until about a year ago that I grew confidence around my profession. I had to step back and look at all that I’ve learned and call out my accomplishments one by one. Because Visual Merchandising is both creative and physically demanding, I have created strategic systems that I’ve been able to share with my peers and use to coach new team members. I had to humbly toot my own horn! Toot, Toot!!! Not only am I good at what I do, but I’m also able to confidently train others! I’ve had mini milestones along the way like being recognized from the district level all the way up to national managers for my styling and creativity. As well as increased my company’s profits by adjusting the sales floor and pairing zero sellers (items that haven’t sold) with trendy pieces to promote sales.
It’s safe to say that I love what I do. In the span of 6 years, I can honestly say that I enjoy it… (of course there’s a but) But… I think that I’ve outgrown the retail level. I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt, but (haha) I don’t like the hirerarchy and politics of it all. Here’s why:
The shot callers only make directions based off sales and costs and probably have only been into the actual store once or twice a year
The trajectory for upward mobility is bleak; I don’t want to be a manager, nor do I want to stay stuck getting 50 cent raise each year
The creative aspects that I love are phasing out and becoming more about practicality
I’m not being challenged in ways that will aid in my growth
The scheduling does not align with my lifestyle
So, I’m very unsure of where this leave me.
On one hand, I love what I do but at the same time I can’t see myself being 30 and SCRUGGLIN’ in somebody’s mall! Sorry not sorry.
Pray for your girl! I want to continue my career in fashion but, I’m honestly ready for more in this lane. More Creativity, more of a voice, more time to travel, more input, more money… just MORE!
I hope this wasn’t boring, I wanted to shed some light on what I do because I get a ton of questions about it and I want to share honestly and still give you some good information. Videos are coming soon
P.S It’s been a minute huh? haha!