Along with working in a retail environment, it is important for an aspiring Visual Merchandiser to gain additional experience by completing an internship or picking up freelance work.
Getting an internship: During my second year at LIM College, I obtained a corporate Visual Merchandising internship at Versace USA. I found this internship through LIM's job database Symplicity. https://limcollege-csm.symplicity.com/
While working at Versace, I learned a lot about what it would be like to work as a full-time Visual Merchandiser, catering to a high-end market. Being the only Visual Merchandiser on staff, besides my Visual Manager, I was able to gain a lot of work experience. Working just the two of us to create holiday displays on 5th Avenue was the most stressful, eye-opening, and exciting time of my life. Working for a high-end brand, I learned the importance of brand image and how visual displays can affect consumers. Working as a Visual Intern for Versace, I gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into maintaining a high-end flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
The Versace store on 5th Avenue, that I completed my Work Project 2 Internship.
A window display I assisted on during my Internship at Versace.
Doing freelance work: Freelance work is very important for a Visual Merchandiser trying to gain work experience. While working as a freelancer you are not considered an intern, but a part of the visual team. Most of the time companies may hire a visual merchandiser as a freelancer to test the waters before hiring them full-time. Freelancing also gives the Visual Merchandiser a chance to add to their portfolio, learn the working environments of different companies, and meet other people in the industry.
After taking a class at LIM, a professor contacted me to ask if I wanted to freelance for The Gap Co. While freelancing for The Gap, I got the chance to do visuals for the Banana Republic Showroom, Gap Kids and Baby, and Gap Men and Gap Women’s showrooms. The time I spent at The Gap broadened my work experience and my portfolio.
Visual displays similar to the ones I created in the Gap Showrooms.