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Exploring the art of visual merchandising

Visual merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a store to attract customers and increase sales. A passion for design and creativity are essential for becoming a visual merchandiser (VM).

education Updated: Feb 08, 2012 12:44 IST
Opportunities-galore-Thanks-to-innumerable-malls-mushrooming-across-the-country-opportunities-in-this-field-are-immense
Opportunities-galore-Thanks-to-innumerable-malls-mushrooming-across-the-country-opportunities-in-this-field-are-immense

The lowdown

Visual merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a store to attract customers and increase sales. A passion for design and creativity are essential for becoming a visual merchandiser (VM).

A VM takes care of the window display representing a seasonal theme with mannequins the arrangement of merchandise according to concepts and stories.

The idea is to get the customer excited by the brand and increase the walk-ins. A VM also spends a lot of time training the store staff on how to place merchandise, follow instruction manuals and advises them on what should go on the rack and be displayed on the floor, the colour scheme etc.

He also takes a call on slow-moving merchandise and makes sure it gets prominence through better lighting and display.

Clockwork
9am: Reach office
10am: Check emails and evaluate the creatives for upcoming windows
11am: Spend time with the design department; understand the forthcoming collection
1pm: Break for lunch
3pm: Rush for inter-departmental meeting
3.30pm: Visit a company store; check out which collection is doing well and decide on what should be displayed prominently etc
6pm to 8pm: Do market research; visit stores of competition and check out their displays; analyse their windows to implement ideas in the future

The payoff
An assistant visual merchandiser, a fresher from a reputable institute, can earn between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month. A manager can draw Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 a month after five to six years of experience.

A head visual merchandiser can expect a remuneration of Rs 1 lakh a month after 10 years of experience.

Skills/Traits
Artistic sensibility and creativity
Sense of perspective, lighting etc
An eye for detail
Ability to blend fashion design, interior design, architecture and even music

Getting there
One could pursue a fashion communication course with a specialisation in visual merchandising at any of the design institutes in the country.

Institutes and URLs
National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi www.nift.ac.in
JD Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi http://jdinstitute.in
Pearl Academy of fashion, New Delhi www.pearlacademy.com

Pros and Cons
One gets to know about how brands and the competition works
One gets to travel a lot

Indian retail industry is coming alive! Sustained growth in the income and purchasing power of Indians is significantly boosting the retail industry.

Manas Barua, associate professor, Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi