Transitioning into the new position hasn’t been bad at all. My boss laid out all the expectations right from the start – before I was even officially hired – so that there wouldn’t be any surprises going in. I was forewarned about the fact that my new store isn’t as “luxurious” as my old store. That there will be many challenges that will come up when trying to execute our big (and sometimes even little) projects. But. Yes there is a but. Even though I was warned about the possible challenges and able to mentally prepare myself for these challenges… walking into a whole new territory can still be very intimidating. I know I’m still with the same company. So, of course, the values and goals of the company as a whole remain the same. But each individual store has its own diverse culture…their own way of doing things. And being “the new girl” comes with its good and bad…trying to familiarize myself with the store and different sales departments… trying to remember who’s who and remembering their names (and trying not to get on anyone’s bad side). I’m pretty resilient. And so far, I’ve been doing a good job. I won’t be “the new girl” forever, right?
I will say this. It’s been a crazy experience so far. In a good way. And I’m totally lovin’ the process. Just because I have 3 years of Visual Merchandising experience doesn’t make me an expert. I’m far from it. I still consider myself a baby in this industry. And in the short amount of time since I started this new position, I’ve learned a lot of cool stuff.
On my very first day, I got to paint a wall, format and set up a wall, and make my own lettering. (I’ll show you what ‘lettering’ means in a second). See, at my first Visual Merchandising job back in the day, all of our marketing tools and props and visual directives were delivered to my store and I’d just map, plan, and execute all the new floor sets and transitions. I never really had to build anything from scratch. Almost everything that we used came to us ‘ready to go’ and all I’d have to do is assemble it. Pretty easy. Sort of. Well this job… we’re not so lucky. Especially in a small store like ours… we don’t have the luxury of having everything sent to us the way the bigger (and most times newer) stores do. So when I say ‘lettering’, I am referring to the letters you see posted on the walls to spell out the different brands our store carries.
My very first project was a presentation of Hello Kitty handbags. Was so excited when my boss told me I had to paint the wall pink. I’ve never painted a wall before. Wait. Let me rephrase that… I’ve never painted a wall at work before. I don’t care if you think I’m weird for thinking how cool that is… but you try painting a wall at your job and tell me how your boss reacts to that. 😛
Not bad for my first project, right? I’m a perfectionist and of course, I noticed right away that my “hello” wasn’t exactly the same… it bugged me so much that I just had to go back and re-do the lettering. It still didn’t come out the way I wanted it to…but the store manager and regional directors that visited the store the very next day loved the end product, so I guess that’s all that matters, right?
my 2nd try at “Hello”
and yes I did make the letters, thank you very much 😛
People who aren’t familiar with my line of work think I have a cool job because I get to style mannequins all day. Yes I style mannequins but that’s not all I do… I saw their heads off, too. 😛
Say what? Sounds pretty crazy, right? Like I said, we’re a small store with limited resources that we literally have to work with what we have. It’s funny… every time my boss and I have to brainstorm and come up with creative ideas, I hear Tim Gunn in my head telling me to “make it work.” Anyway, back to my story. We have some pretty old mannequins with heads that just… well… I’m just gonna say it. They’re ugly. And trying to make them look hip and edgy isn’t easy. Our solution? Off with their heads!!!
So together, my boss and I searched through our cluttered visual office work space and found a couple of saws (one was an electric jig saw) and went right to work. Oh what a sight it was! Can you imagine me holding down a mannequin and decapitating it? Yeah, some of the guys on the Receiving Team who passed by had to do a double-take… I think they were a little creeped out about the whole thing. Oh well. After we chopped their heads off, we taped up the top of the neck and spackled them bad boys and tada! We got ourselves some headless mannequins!
and yes those mannequin heads are sitting on a shelf in our work room
Now you kinda have an idea of what it is I do. Never a dull moment in my work life. Love that I am forced to think creatively every second of my work day. And get paid for it. How friggin’ awesome is that? It’s not an easy job… but it sure can be fun. And I would not trade it for the world.
I bet… with everything I’m learning… I could totally build my own house from scratch and have no problem with interior decorating it. I see lots of DIY projects in my future. 🙂 Now that would be awesome.