by Tereza Pavlyshche
The fashion industry is fast forward and has to adapt to the changes in the world and popular culture fast enough to survive, and even faster to prosper. The look of the retail stores is one of the key aspects in the fashion machine. It might greatly impact the number of customers, thus sales. To make sure all of this gets proper attention is the job of a Visual Merchandiser, one of my dream job positions.That´s why my interview was with Jani Fagerroos from Makia Clothing Oy.
- Jani, you are a Visual Merchandiser at Makia Clothing Oy. Can you tell me how you started working for them, please? What was your initial plan of the career path?
I started working for Makia first as an intern, then later on became a part-time employee for the Makia Webstore. I worked as an intern for our head designer, so obviously that was my plan to continue working with him. Unfortunately I didn’t have the necessary skills for fashion drawing or sizing, so they couldn’t hire me for that. Webstore manager was something new and challenging for me, and I thought I could easily fit in there. Then later on once we decided to strengthen our marketing program in Finland, we needed someone to take care all the visual merchandise and I got that position.
- Could you describe in few words what does Visual Merchandiser do?
The main thing for visual merchandiser is to make sure that Makia looks good in stores. On weekly basis I visit our key account stores in Helsinki twice a week and organize our sections. I also talk with the salespersons to receive information and possible re-orders. On daily basis I keep in touch with our Makia agent in Finland and if there is something I can help him and the stores with, I will. For example, stickers, catalogues, posters, pop-up shops, events etc.
Also twice a year when we design the new collection, I try to use all the information I receive from the field to help the designers. For example; which colours sell well, which don’t, which styles are good and which not, all that. I also take part of the design process when we figure out the new POS-materials and photos for the new season. Those are the main things to make sure your brand stands out loud and clear.
- What´s your work ethic, if you have one? Does the Makia Clothing have some special way of influencing how you work?
The strongest ethic to thrive my work is honesty. I want to represent an individual genuine Finnish brand, and I couldn’t think for a better one than Makia. Everything we do comes straight from our heart so it’s easy to stand behind it. I feel privileged to be part of this small company already in such an early stage, and I want to push that feeling and energy into my work also.
- Do you have any advice for those who want to start working in the fashion industry, especially in the same position as you do?
Finland is such a small place and the fashion industry here is small too, so don’t take it as a granted that once you graduate you will be on a dream job. One day you will, but you have to pay the dues and earn it.
Be true to yourself. Know what you do and do it. Everything else follows.
- What´s the best part of working for Makia?
People. Absolutely the people. Not just my colleagues but the people I meet everyday, whether it’s a customer, client or a partner.