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How to be a design and visual merchandising manager of a footwear chain

Advice from Nicola Steadman, senior consultant at Bloom Retail

Securing top-level creative roles for aspirational retail brands is hugely competitive. Climbing up the ladder can be done in many ways; incorporating retail management, visual merchandising and design will help you acquire a grasp of all the components of the role.

You should be prepared to start at the bottom and earn your creative stripes before working your way up. This entails long hours, a lot of time on your feet and some unglamorous carting around of paraphernalia for windows and displays between stores.

You will split your time between the head office and being out in the field. This job requires dedication and genuine passion.

You will be responsible for creating both the look and feel of the collections, along with the visual displays to complement the brand strategy. The focus is to work alongside the retail operations and buying and merchandising teams to boost sales to expand the customer base.

Entry-level visual merchandising and design role salaries tend to start at £18,000, moving up to £50,000 for visual merchandising managers and designers, and £80,000 for head of creatives. At director level you can earn £100,000 or more per year.

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