I said MERCH with a mouth, not Merc with a Mouth, though DeadPool is a beloved Marvel Character, I meant Merch–Andiser, merchandise, Marketing associate, Merchandise execution team-member, Visual-Display associate, the Myriad of titles and names that all have to do with retail merchandising from a corporate level to a store level.
I was a lead expert in merchandising after my switch from fast-food management, line cook in a diner, dog trainer, cashier, and all of the other odd jobs I worked in my Late teens and earlier twenties. After I began as a part time sales associate in the home decor department I fell in love with the creative aspect, having wanted to be a designer since I was 5 when I the weird kid coloring on walls and obsessing over my Lite-Brite, and rearranging my room every day.
So eight years later, promotion after promotion I think I have unique understanding on the essence of what merchandising is and how effective of a tool it is in merchants toolbox.
So here are some musings on successful Merchandising:, I believe more accountability and creative freedom needs to be allocated to the store level, when I was allowed to do my own sets and visuals it made my job fun and inspiring, it made the store feel personalized which I saw directly effect the sales of the products.
Of course the rules of merchandise have the same concepts that all good designs have:
Proportion, Balance, Rhythm, Contrast, Emphasis & Focus and Harmony and Unity.(I am currently taking courses on the principles of Design, so if I am spewing text-book phrases I apologize, it just comes out.)
I also want to draw attention to bad merchandise and display principles from a corporate level, the amount of floor flows that do not consider the basics of how fabric moves, how most organza’s/silks/then textiles should not be table folds, how thick knits fold fast, especially to the lighten the work load of the employees. You don’t know how many times I have been at a store at midnight trying to get the store back to a presentation look and wondered who design the clothing tables/merchandise fixtures, I know a suit in a corporate office who does not get the basic idea of the Golden Design Maxim: Form follows function.
Here are some beautiful window displays from around the web that showcase the art of Merchandising, which I believe is the true essence of art, to tell a story, start a conversation and bring a little of magic into the mundane world:
And of coourse my favorite display was themed Alice and Wonderland done for famed designers to showcase work, among them the immortal, Alexander McQueen: