My name is Krista Villahermosa and I initially took the Fashion Marketing program in 2009 and was meant to finish in 2011, however, I took a job opportunity in retail management in Toronto and left before finishing the program. I worked at Zara, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, and Guess. After 6 years, I ventured out to London, UK on a holiday working visa, where I continued to work with Guess as Regional Visual Merchandiser in which I supervised visual merchandising across 28 stores in UK, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. After my visa expired, I went to Australia and was meant to work there for a year but unfortunately had to come back to Vancouver due to the pandemic. I did some self-reflection and decided to take this time being home to finish the FMRK program which I am truly fortunate to get re-admitted and got a second chance to complete.
This is a fun but challenging part of the role. All the companies I’ve worked for have certain guidelines all stores need to adhere to when creating mannequin looks, display positioning, clings, etc. However, it’s also important to be in the know about the current trends, as well as current events that could cause an effect on the fashion industry.
Learnings from FMRK 2105 (Visual Fashion Merchandising) as well as FMRK 2115 (Fashion Forecasting) were beneficial in developing my skills in window dressing as well as identifying trends and how to apply them when creating visually appealing and commercial outfits. I have also developed attention to detail from FMRK 2105 as I applied my learnings in my jobs.
Product placement in a visually appealing and commercial way is important in visual merchandising. All companies have specific guidelines all stores must adhere to when placing products on the shop floor. New products and bestsellers are placed in focal areas, creating outfits based on the collections.
It’s important to have strong knowledge of collections, key prints, and fabrics for the season to display the products that would be most appealing to customers. It’s also good to be in the know-how products are being styled by influencers, celebrities, and artists so products can be styled in a relatable way to the target market.
FMRK 1215 (Textile Science) helped develop my knowledge in different fabrics which is an important aspect in knowing the collections and key product information every season in the retail industry. FMRK 1205 (Visual Communications) learnings played a role in my way of merchandising products, especially when playing with textures and creating negative space in the store.
BUQU 1130 learnings are essential in understanding how to analyze and make calculations in identifying trends and opportunities on business reports. For example, figuring out sales gain/loss percentage when comparing sales $ to current inventory level, and comparing this finding to last year’s numbers to identify opportunities and create action plans to either improve sales or maintain momentum. A merchant mindset is an important skill for Visual Merchandisers to strategically place products in-store to produce the most sales, as well as product allocations when dealing with multi-site to get stores the product they need based on sales trends.