Personal blog of Kate Green. My other blogs are available at www.justanotherartstudentsblog.tumblr.com (CoP) and www.meandviscom.tumblr.com (PPP)

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Mount Stewart is a National Trust property near my Mum’s house in County Down, Northern Ireland. The website describes it as…

one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership.

The garden reflects a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry. The mild climate of Strangford Lough allows astonishing levels of planting experimentation. The formal areas exude a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape; the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world, ensuring something to see whatever the season.

Mum and I visited today to walk around the gorgeous gardens and to visit my sister who was running the Northern Ireland Assistance Dogs stand at the Pet  Nose Day event, which was organised in celebration national pet month. I enjoyed seeing all the different breeds of dogs, and all the different breeds of owners, but couldn’t stop thinking it would have been so much better if it were called wet nose day.

Most of all I enjoyed taking photos during the day. I just snapped away with my little point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix.

Mount Stewart Mount Stewart is a National Trust property near my Mum’s house in County Down, Northern Ireland. The website describes it as…
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Totally tropical! #nofilter #northernireland #tropical (at Mountstewart)

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Enjoying her holidays at the seaside. #minniemutt #greyhound #dog #seaside #beach #northernireland (at Ballywalter Beach)

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Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. #northernireland (at Harrisons of Greyabbey)

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I still don’t know what career I’d like after graduating, but in my quest to find something I going to try all the jobs. Today I got to be a visual merchandiser at The Hepworth Wakefield’s shop. I work in the shop as a Retail Assistant, so didn’t have to go to far to ask if I could help to merchandise the shop when the spring/summer stock was ready for display. I was also interested in learning more about the point of sale – the design and copy choices.

The date for the re-merchandising was chosen because it was just before the Easter holidays, so a great time to introduce a lighter more summery colour palette and products. There were three of us and the Retail Manager the shop for a whole day, and it really needed that many people and time, despite it being a relatively small retail unit.

Rosie, the manager, hadstock and colours planned well in advance, and had a plan of where the new stock would go in the store, but did not have a clear layout in mind (unlike national high streets brands would). This was great as it meant there was freedom to find the best way to display the items and pull other products from throughout the store on the shelf you were working on because it matched, either with he subject matter or with colours or use.

I got to do two bays of shelves by myself, and this is the result

before and after

The only new stock I had to deal with were a swap out from the winter scarfs to the summer ones, a new vase range (which matched some tea light holders we already carried), and additional colours for the very popular tea light holders. The tea light holders needed to be displayed in sets of three as they could be purchased individual or in a group of three.

When I started I was initially worried as I felt the pressure of doing the work and not being very sure about where to put everything, but once I started experimenting with the shapes of the objects and the different colours, it started coming together. I had the Hepworth Birthday Scarf to my shelves as the colours matched so well, and it helped to connect the two bays together, with scarfs now being on both and each of their colours matching the ceramics available.

I found interesting way to display the scarfs to their best potential, and colour themes for the shelves that could help draw attention to the items.

Once I was finished, I helped Fiona with the window display. There were two ranges to display – the brand new Magpie range of textiles, and the House Doctor range of kitchen ware. The shelves needed merchandised for the visitor viewing it from both the inside and out, and really needed to showcase the shop as a whole.

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I did the kitchen ware layout, suggested the best way we displayed the pot holders was to hang them, and suggested we stuffed the toiletry bags for display purposes and then put the remainder in a perspex bucket for display. I also suggested we put the pot holders in a perspex bucket for display – they were flat on the shelf, but put them vertical made them so much more animated and inviting. Rosie wanted the tins used as a feature on the top of the shelves. I initially thought going big to small, small to big, in a wave would be nice, but it didn’t work, so I tried the peak idea and it looked really good.

When we thought we’d finished, I realised we missed a bit of ‘shopability’ checking and noticed that we had used the tins a lot for display, but had none available to buy! I popped the remainder out in places that could be easily picked up by people who liked the display tins.

What I learnt about the mechanics of merchandising it that items have a natural place in the display and you know this by looking at it’s relationship with the other items and knowing how people behave in and around the shop. Once in place, the items can be pretty lifeless – you have to do something to add interest. Once all that is done, a bit of height or level variation really adds the finishing touches. I’m sure there’s way more to the job – consumer behaviour, colour theory, eye trackers… –  but that is all I learnt in my one day trying it out as a job.

I really enjoyed doing it. It was physically and mentally quite demanding, but I think I’ve got an eye for this area of work and an need to organise, so it came quite easy.

As a career

As visual merchandising goes, I don’t think my day was an example of the most challenging or creative version of the job, although it still had these elements. High end shops like Harvey Nichols, Hermes, etc have extremely innovative and creative store fronts, often employing artists to make site specific works to showcase the stores products. There are also lots of blogs dedicated to store windows and visual merchandising, and I really enjoy reading them.

Louis Vuitton collaborated with artist Yayoi Kusama for the Manhattan flagship store facade and window displays (Fifth Avenue, New York)

Louis Vuitton collaborated with artist Yayoi Kusama for the Manhattan flagship store facade and window displays (Fifth Avenue, New York)

The National Career Service has a page on Visual Merchandising as a career

DESCRIPTION

If you love making things look good and like being creative, this could be perfect for you. Visual merchandisers (also known as window dressers or display assistants) use their design skills to help promote the image, products and services of retail businesses and other organisations. They create eye-catching product displays and store layouts and design to attract customers and encourage them to buy.

To become a visual merchandiser, you would usually either have a background in design or work your way up through the retail industry. You could also gain a higher education qualification in display or merchandising.

A visual merchandiser needs to have a high level of attention to detail. They also need to be able to work to deadlines. The ability to work well as part of a team is also important.

SALARY

Starting salaries can be from £12,000 to £16,000 a year.

Senior visual merchandisers can earn around £20,000 to £25,00 a year, and visual merchandising managers or designers can earn between £25,000 and £55,000 a year.

Visual merchandising directors can earn £60,000 a year and over.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

You would normally become a visual merchandiser or display designer in one of two ways:

  • by completing a retail design qualification at college while looking for work
  • by moving from an in-store sales assistant role to a trainee visual merchandiser post.

Whether you take a college course beforehand or do on-the-job training, there is a range of qualifications that you could study towards. [NVQs in Retail, art, design or fashion degrees,

The British Display Society (BDS) also offers a distance learning course – the Certificate in Display and Visual Merchandising – which gives you some of the knowledge and skills needed for this type of work. See the BDS website for course details. British Display Society – course page (Opens new window)

Mary Portas, a lady I very much admire, started her career as a Visual Merchandiser, and now her work within retail holds many more of my interests, including community work/social mindedness, branding, customer experience, and merchandising.

Visual merchandiser for a day I still don’t know what career I’d like after graduating, but in my quest to find something I going to try all the jobs.
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Creative Conscience Awards

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NATURAL from KJG that’s me on Vimeo.

Project description

After watching The Big Question, an ethical/religious debate programme on BBC1, and hearing comments from the audience including “it’s a choice”, “it’s unnatural”, and “it is against God” when discussing homosexuality and gay marriage, I was inspired to make an engaging film that could challenge these points of…

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I think it might rain. #leeds #weather #rain #aprilshowers #yorkshire (at Cross Flatts Park)

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International blog (25)

tjc

jealous-curator-bio

My favourite international blog is the Jealous Curator. It features a daily post by Danielle  Krysa, aka the Jealous Curator, of contemporary art that makes her think “Damn, wish I thought of that”.

It was established in 2009 by the former designer and creative director, who is based in America. There is quite a unique aesthetic to the work she chooses to blog about – the posts can be quite…

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34 crucial tips for job interviews

34 crucial tips for job interviews

job-interview-infographic

 

In a survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers, 33% claimed to know whether or not they would hire someone within 90 seconds.
Infograph from collegeatlas.org detailing 34 crucial tops for your next job interview.
job-interview-infographic

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My favourite art work

At work the Marketing Officer from The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds asked for members of staff to nomination their favourite art work from the Library’s art collection and wrote a short explanation of why, so I did!

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Show reel

Having a little job research session and a Google for possible business-type names and I came across this stop motion CV from Leeds-based agency, Magpie.

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PechaKucha

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Slides with my presentation notes.

For Personal & Professional Practice we were asked to prepare a PechaKucha style presentation of 20 slides presented at 20 seconds each. What we were to talk about was outlined in a template and included information who we…

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Top 10 things employers are looking for

Top 10 things employers are looking for

organise

I came across this article n The Guardian website which lists the top 10 buzz words employers use in their adverts and translates them. As I’ve repeatedly used the word ‘organised’ to describe myself these past few days I was really tickled to learn that if an employer wanted a organised person it meant someone who’s inbox will always be full!

I’ve pasted below a couple of the words I would use…

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Post graduate study

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Recently I’ve been wondering if post graduate study would be something I’d be interested in. I really enjoy the research and academic parts of my studies and they are the bits I get my best marks for so it seems like a possibility. I’d be interested in continuing straight after my degree because its a natural progression and I should be operating at that level by graduation, whereas taking a…

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sand, paint, repeat

paint

I’ve been helping the Arthouse in Wakefield get ready for the 20:20 Print Exchange exhibition, which is launching on Wednesday. It’s been a busy day of sanding, painting, and doing it again. We are getting lots of boards ready to hang the prints from. The exhibition space is in an old office space that hasn’t been occupied in a…

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