Sunday, September 21, 2014

Visual Merchandiser - The Truth behind the mannequins

Doesn't my title sound so serious today? It sounds like the beginning of a Lifetime documentary, or a really weird reality show. No, don't worry, I'm not starting a reality show. It would be kind of funny though to see people getting into fights with mannequins though. Just a thought. :-P

My job in the fashion industry is one that's very behind-the-scenes, to customers and to other coworkers alike. In fact, I've been in the fashion industry for 10 years and I didn't even realize what this job entirely entailed until I took on the role full-time.

I am a Visual Merchandiser for a major department store. When I tell people this, the most common reaction I get is "Oh, you dress mannequins for a living.", and yes, that is part of what I do. However, contrary to the 1987 movie "Mannequin", that's not all that I do. Unless you work as a Visual Merchandiser, or very closely with one, you might not realize how much a Visual Merchandiser actually does day to day.

I had originally written a big, long piece about how much I do, how important my role is to a brick-and-mortar store, but ultimately at the end of the day I sounded quite conceited when I had re-read what I had written for this post. It really sounded like I was taking myself waaaaaaaaay too seriously, and that is the last thing I do. Trust me.

I love my job with every fiber of my being. It really is an amazing, ever-changing environment where every day is unique and different. I'm constantly being challenged and learning. I'm also constantly getting an amazing workout with building and tearing down walls and constructing displays/visuals. I had done visual projects here with other jobs, but never anything 24/7, full-time. I am essentially middle-management. I run my own stockroom, take care of all shipping and receiving for visuals, and I am the go-to for department heads, as well as for upper management. I am also the go-between for department heads and upper management. It's a never-ending job, but somebody's got to do it.

The somebody that does it is me, and I am forever grateful every day that I wake up and love the job I go to. It's not my favorite time to wake up or to go to bed, but the silence in the wee hours of the morning before the store opens when not a soul is on the floor, I find a strange peace. Retail and peace don't normally go hand in hand, especially when you have 6 bosses and you need to answer to every single one when something goes wrong, but at the end of the day there are far worse positions to be in.

I appreciate the peace I've found behind the racks and mannequins, but I don't expect anyone else to share in it. When I ask coworkers why they didn't want my job before I applied, they would give me a funny look and keep working. Nobody else wanted my position, and that's just fine by me <.3

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