Interview With A Visual Merchandising Design Coordinator

Trust your gut instinct and your ‘eye’ and pay attention to the detail.

Have you ever driven past The Prop House and wondered, “What on earth do they do in there?” Maybe you’ve seen beautifully styled events, mall windows or shop shelves and wished you knew more about how it was done, and by whom. Well, we are here to answer all of your queries!

This month, we take a trip across the hallway to our sister team at VM+ and check in with the effervescent Design Coordinator, Rosie. With a wardrobe we covet and a permanently sunny disposition, Rosie is the epitome of organisation, warmth and style.

Rosie, talk us through how you found your way into this role. What was your experiential background?

Before I found my way to The Prop House and VM+ I was in an art consultant/curator role. I was drawn to finding a more creative design position that was a little more fast paced, and I found it! I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art/ Visual Art (with a little bit of art history, interior design and event management), so this position ticked a lot of my university boxes.

What does a typical day look like for you (or does it even exist)?

It can change depending on the time of year which sounds strange! Some days I design proposals for clients which can range from VM stying to school holidays activations for shopping centres or Christmas concepts (I leave the kids play spaces and large jobs to the big guns and design extraordinaire, Heather). At Christmas time it’s all about organisation and preparing the 50+ jobs we install across Brisbane (I become a WPHS whizz in the merry season). One day a week I spend time catching up on writing blogs for our website and schedule social media posts (#shamelessplug… @vmplus). Sometimes my day involves a site visit or meeting and always lots of product sourcing.

What are some of the skills required for your role?

It can be quite 50/50 with creativity and administrative. There is a lot of admin, from liaising with clients to preparing prep sheets for jobs and invoicing, to the mayhem of Christmas but also the fun of designing concepts for clients. Organisation is very important, especially when there are multiple jobs on the go you don’t want to forget any details! Clear communication with clients and our operations team makes all the difference for the smoothness of how a job runs. I think with design you have to trust your gut instinct and your ‘eye’ and pay attention to the detail of a job, for both the design and how you communicate with the team who is installing it.

What has been one of your favourite jobs or experiences as part of this role?

I love seeing our Christmas jobs come to life. Knowing all the planning that happens behind an install, and then driving past in the street and seeing people enjoy the sparkle of our Christmas decorations.

Do you have a favourite visual merchandising prop?

It’s both a prop and a custom-built item, but I love the timber structures that our Prop Builder, Russ, makes. They’re so versatile and have been used for kids workshops or styling sessions; you can theme them or leave them raw and focus on the gorgeous timber.

I also love our large olive trees. They remind me of a Mediterranean poolside summer… Can I have one next to my desk?

What advice would you give to someone considering a similar career?

Stay educated on trends (not just Pinterest trends, although we love Pinterest). Trends in retail, marketing and technology because they all influence the future of design.