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How to be a worldwide visual merchandiser

This week Carolyn Alsop, consultant - retail at CVUK, tells you how to land a job as a worldwide visual merchandiser for a fashion retailer.

“Visual merchandising [VM] is a career that you can work your way up from the bottom in and one that can only really be learnt on the job. There are two different directions that you can take; in-store or in a head office environment, but these are two very different routes.

The store roles are extremely creative and a background in art or design will be extremely useful to you. Most people will start in a sales assistant role and then take on visual responsibility, taking on more and more projects. You will then develop skills in display, styling, event production and all-round commercial awareness. The hours are long and demanding but seeing the development of a display is extremely rewarding and you will then be able to build a portfolio.

The next stages are to manage a team within your store and then move in to the field where you will be looking after a larger team and more than one store. Here you will also be liaising closely with head office. It is important to work for a company that you are passionate about and understand, as that way you really appreciate its vision and are able to communicate that.

The more responsibility you take on the more senior you can get, and this will then develop in to co-ordinating new store openings and a larger region. This will then go from regional to area to national level, before becoming an International/worldwide role.

Salaries for this type of role range from £45,000 to £50,000.”

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