This week I got on the Visual Merchandising train and I’m looking forward to the ride. I have been working at Topshop as a sales advisor for about 10 months….didn’t intend on staying that long but it happened….and a Visual Merchandising role came up which sounded right up my street and the exact kind of thing I needed to get to a career I hope for within fashion. Im still not entirely sure what that is but its one step closer to figuring it out. I had a trial for the job and was instantly sold and knew I was ready for a change. Its been a bit of a waiting game since then but this week I finally began the next step in my career. I had this thought that perhaps I could share what I learn and get up to as a VM and the things I do along the way. I love doing what I do and being able to share what its like to be a VM in a large Topshop store weirdly excites me…..I hope this is of interest to you because you will be hearing a lot from me and my new VM job!
Im going to begin this little series with a weekly diary. I am so new to this job so I can’t give my top tips or anything just yet but Im going to share with you the things I do and what I learn day in day out. Kinda like a guide to becoming a Visual Merchandiser
10th July – DAY ONE
Today was one of those days which was a bit weird because it was a new job in the same store I have been in for the last 10 months so my brain wasn’t quite sure what was going on. It was also the first shift so ya girl got to get used to what she’s doing or at least attempt to do what she thinks is right. I was given the task to re sort the shorts wall. As we all know, its summer and everyone needs a pair of denim shorts, right? do people want to shop it when its an absolute jumble sale? probably not. I am a lover of tidying and find it so satisfying when something is so messy and you tidy it to complete perfection. It was literally the right task for me to begin my VM journey.
Explaining every inch of what a VM does would literally take me about a year so I’m going to try and explain what I did in the simplest way I can. The walls of the shop have wall poles and in those wall poles there are arms….which the clothes hang off….the arms can be moved up and down, can be taken out, you can add a shelf, chose a different style of arm…the possibilities are endless. On this wall there are 4 wall poles. I chose to have 2 columns in the middle which both had 3 short options…the end poles then have 2 short options with a shelf above. The shelf above is there to hold an accessory or shoe which would be worn with the clothing on that wall. The majority of the shorts are either black or blue so I had to make sure that I evened out the colours. As you can see from the photo…the blue runs across the middle, with the black above and below. I was really chuffed with the end result….it was so much easier to shop and just looked nice and neat. I finished off the wall with a pair of simple white trainers and a bright red back to add a pop of colour. Who doesn’t love a pop of colour every now and then?
11th July – BAGS BAGS BAGS
Today was the day my brain turned into mush from looking at bags for hours on end. I was given the task of creating a full wall of bags, re organising and making it look a little bit more luxurious. It was quite a big bag statement to fill which I really struggled with to begin with.
As company, Topshop have an app which allows other Topshop stores to share what their store looks like. For instance a store might post their recent underwear wall or their bag wall and from that as a Visual Merchandiser I can take inspo and create something which has a similar vibe. I get told kind of what Topshop are looking for in terms of the shop has to look like at that given time and then use the inspo to come up with something new.
So the wall that I created was a wall which fully involved shelves. This isnt really something that has been done much in our store so it was fun to have a play around and see what I could create from it. The wall consisted of 3 different vibes.
It all began with festival/summer. This was a little difficult as bright aztec mixed with bright red suede and sequins…oh and pom poms wasn’t easy to make look really nice and pretty. I had a little play around and hung the slouchy suede bags below the shelves and then added a splash of silver and black to even out the bright colours across the wall. Being a festival wall it was obviously going to be a bit out there and confusing to start with but once I got into it…It worked out okay. And better yet, I was actually kinda chuffed with the outcome.
I then moved onto what I would class at the pretty girly vibe section of the wall. This consists of embroidery, florals…all things girly. This section is quite bright and fun. Included a bit of mustard yellow which is very on trend this season. I even have a mustard coloured bag and I never wear colour. For this wall, I had a little assistance from Sophie. Not because I was incapable of doing it myself but so many floral prints at once was just a bit over whelming and I needed someones input to help me along and together we came up with a little master piece. If I do say so myself.
It was all about evening out the floral prints and contrasting the black and the nude bags to create something appealing. For example you don’t want to put 2 black bags next to each other as its just not visually appealing. I mean you could but you’d have to do it in sync if that even makes sense. As its super girly, I even added an adorable pair of pink heels which I am literally obsessed with. Although I wont be buying them because this girl doesnt wear high heels like that.
The final section has all sorts of rock vibes. All things black and studs. This was more my kinda thing when it comes to bags. Neutral tones… so your greys, nudes, pinks, blue and blacks. I think this section worked really well together and suits those girls who maybe aren’t into the super girly vibes. I mean who doesn’t love a bit of stud action.
Overall I was really chuffed with the final wall and felt like I’d created something really good. Considering I have only just started this job I dont think it was half bad. Better yet…my manager even said she liked it so its win win. YOU GO GIRL.
I then moved onto doing out posting which is basically putting accessories or shoes into the walls of the shop. So you might put a trainer next to a top and jeans or cute bag or something along those lines. I had the task of doing the table in Petite which wanted to have a few options which would go with the pieces within Petite. Petite doesnt really have a certain trend so you’ve got to give a few options for different styles. Can I just say those pink slip on trainers are super cute and I might possibly have to get myself a pair…They’re right up my street.
After lunch me and sophie worked together to clean up and tidy Nobody’s Child concession. I cant explain to you how much of an absolute minging mess it was. Like who ever thought that was tidy…needs to re evaluate their life. Anyways me and Sophie re organised it and gave it a new lease of life and this is the outcome. It just needed a little sort out and to make each item more visible and visually appealing which is what you want really. Safe to say we were chuffed with the outcome…Looks nice and tidy and deffo went back to the vile mess it was before but I took a picture to capture the beauty so thats all that matters. The one thing with this job is that you have to not get too attached to what you do because someone will mess it up or it will have to be changed the next day. This is why its nice to document these things.
Finished off the day changing the underwear on the bust and bum mannequins which was quite fun. I didnt really get the chance to take any more photos but I love this lingere set and looks amazing on this mannequin… I wont buy it but its super cute.
12th July – JERSEY
This morning I got the chance to work with my manager and re merchandise the jersey wall. Jersey is basically the t shirt section. Its possibly one of the hardest things to do as everything is either grey, white or black so trying to even the colour out isnt particully easy but together we came up with a pretty looking wall.
My favourite section of the wall was the grachic tee statement which I thinks looks quite cool. Graphic tees are everywhere at the moment so what ever way than to make a little section of them.
Like I said this wasn’t the easiest of tasks and having about 15 different lines of tie up jersey pieces to make look nice was hard especially when you personally dont like the tie up trend or whatever its called.
This wall I really liked doing. Incorporating denim into jersey just adds a little edge and really brings the jersey items to life. Like I kinda want that pink new york city crop jumper now…how cool does it look with that denim jacket.
The final section to the jersey statement was this little rail which I put the cute little t shirt crop tops with a pinafore dress which just looks adorable and better yet the pinafore dress sold through over the weekend. How good is that!
13th July – TOPMAN LESUIRE
Today was Topman day. Now I’ve worked with menswear before and I’m very interested in the way menswear works and how its becoming more and more creative in terms of what comes out of menswear these days. BUT OH MY GOD…trying to make a wall of t shirts and joggers look cool was so difficult. Why oh why does Topman sell about 60 different lines of t shirts and then 20 different styles. Who knew that there were so many different styles of boys t shirts. I didnt. I mean I’m over exaggerating a little bit but still.
There was 2 sections to this wall sports and clean. So the sports side has got your srtipes, the sporty kinda tops and fashion joggers and then the clean side has your simple t shirts and basic joggers. Who knew there was so many different styles of mens joggers. Not me. Topman is a whole other ball game I tell you. Apart from it being difficult, Im actually quite happy with the outcome. I got to do this wall all by myself and I was little nervous as I dont know if what Im doing is good ya know but my manger actually really liked it. Both of us kinda settled in areas because it just wasn’t going to be what we would ideally want but it worked. I really liked the outcome and I’m chuffed I managed to do it all by myself. Look at this little VM go.
I hope you enjoyed this Visual Merchandising post. I want to share more of my fashion side on my blog as its what I love the most. I know this is a lengthy one but I really want to document what I have done. I will be doing more of these and you will be able to find them all on my Visual Merchandising page!
Please Please let me know what to you think! either comment or head over to instagram or twitter!