I worked at my previous job for just short of five years as a sales advisor. While I was working there, I expressed an interest in visual merchandising in hopes of becoming a visual merchandiser with the company. I had read while researching different paths of becoming an interior designer that interior designers do visual merchandising (makes sense since it is an interior space) so, I figured it was one way to try to gain valuable experience to start my career. As you can see, that didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but I guess God has bigger and better plans for me.
When I expressed my interest in becoming a visual merchandiser, I had the opportunity to support the opening of a flagship store in Midtown Manhattan in 2014. While there, I was placed to work in the Kids’ department on the last floor (thankfully, they had escalators because the elevator doesn’t go up to that floor). Before the opening, we mostly were making sure the garments and accessories were arranged and put out on the floor according to the department books we use for the current trends. Most of us supporting were able to work the VIP opening which included the launch of the collaboration the company had with artist, Jeff Koons.
Here’s a link to a video I just so happen to be in for the ribbon cutting!
(You can see me at 0:41 in the upper left corner of the screen)
Being able to support a flagship opening was such a great experience. I was back in my home state and back in my city. I was able to see my parents more than I usually would while I was there for three weeks. I called it a “work-cation”. I felt so privileged to be able to stay at was one of my favorite hotels, Yotel and enjoy the variety of food choices at my disposal. I’m a Taurus…I love quality food.
In my old home store, I would help out the visuals with their department changes and I also claimed ownership for one of the departments, the maternity department (MAMA). I always had a special relationship with that department for two reasons:
- The department never got showed TLC. It was off to the corner next to lingerie (which also didn’t get TLC until my former co-worker took ownership for it since she was hoping to become a visual , too) so it was neglected until it got too condensed to fit any new garments.
- Expecting mothers sometimes feel unsure and uncomfortable with how their bodies are shaping as they grow a new life. I wanted to help how ever I could to reassure them that what they chose was a great option, give them some advice on fitting (from personal experience) and assist how ever else I could. I wanted to make their shopping experience easier and less daunting.
Growing babies is a big deal and its hard work. Who wants to wear clothes when their pregnant? Walking around the corner is an accomplishment let alone around a mall.
Even though MAMA was my department, I was able to work on other departments such as, L.O.G.G. (Abercrombie & Fitch/ Hollister style garments, preppy), Little Kids (1 1/2 yrs – 8yrs), Big Kids (Ages 8-14+), Divided & Ladies Basics (plain tee shirts/tank tops, leggings, etc) and Divided Grey (Grunge, band tees, thrashed garments, dark colors, usually).
Here’s some shots I have of my work in my old home store in MAMA:
Last year, I was able to help with the renovation/re-opening for the Milford store and a grand opening of a new store in Meriden. For both of these opportunities, my former co-worker (same as previously mentioned) and I worked together as sort of visual assistants. We were given departments to setup and coordinate any changes in the setup to work with the stores’ floor plan.
Milford’s renovation was off-and-on throughout the year and the reopening was October 6th. While supporting there, I helped moving fixtures and relocating them during the multiple renovation phases. In the last phase of the renovation, I helped setup the Beauty and Accessory departments for the grand re-opening. Here’s some pictures of my work in accordance to the department books.
I support the Meriden opening for two weeks. The store was pretty much done, but there were no garments in the store as of yet. We had to receive and process the garment that was coming to the store and then we were split up into our designated departments. My former co-worker (same person I’ve mentioned) and I were teamed together to setup the Divided Basics and Divided Grey departments.
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving to work and passed by a Free People store in the process of opening up and it kind of made me think, “what if?” What if I had passed the interview and was offered the position to become a visual merchandiser and was sent out for training? What if I passed and was a visual merchandiser now, in a new store?
I do wonder, but I know trust that things happened for a reason. When I didn’t get a call back, I was fine, I just continued my search for a new job. But then I was told why I didn’t get the promotion. I dealt with my feelings of depression for not landing the job, for feeling stuck in a position I knew was not doing me any good. Those few weeks after I found out why I didn’t land the job were hard. I was trying to put it past me, but it got so overwhelming. I worked hard to get the job, I showed I was ready, but all because I said one thing wrong, I was denied the chance to be promoted. I was lost. I had no idea what to do. I wasn’t myself. I cut my hair, not trim, I cut about 6 inches of it off and I felt so relieved after. I needed changed desperately and that was one way to get it immediately. I was shocked that I did it. I knew I needed a haircut, but I never intended on being the one with the scissors. A weight was lifted from me, figuratively and physically. I cried, but it was a cry of relief. I felt healing happening.
Change came a few weeks after when I landed my current job. I’m learning new things, I have time with my family now that I don’t have to work late nights. I’m still feeling determined to keep going. To get where I want to be. It’s coming.