So today I was really fortunate enough to go behind the scenes at Mulberry’s flagship store on New Bond Street. One of my university lecturers is a current VM at Mulberry and so she used her charm to allow us to work in groups on a workshop downstairs of the store.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures for confidential reasons so I took some pictures of the current window design instead! Which I do think is really cool. I’m loving the neon-styled lights with the one nail painted red.
The workshop consisted of three main activities, these were; scarf/jumper folding, bag stuffing and mannequin styling. First up, I started on the scarf folding station which actually is a bit more complex then it sounds. How many times do you fold a scarf? Tassels on show or not? Mulberry logo visible or hidden? All these questions had arisen from the job of scarf folding, but yet they were all key factors that visual merchandisers must consider.
Moving onto the jumper folding was a bit easier, place the tissue paper and mould the jumper around the tissue paper and use it as the prime base/size. The struggle here was size ordering due to having the smallest on top, meaning some adjustments had to be made! Slight pull here and there and that will do!
Next I went on to the bag stuffing. Bags are stuffed in transport to allow them to keep their shape so they are pretty much ready to go straight into the store upon arrival. With three different sized bags, we had to have a go at working out just the right amount of stuffing each bag required. First we placed the dust bag inside the bag, and then the stuffing began. Key things I learnt here were that you mustn’t overstuff as you must remember to allow the customer to still be able to see key details when looking into the bag, for example the concealed pocket at the back of the bag or any other inside feature. Also, the importance of how the product will sit on the display. For example, the handles… do they stand up? Lay to the side? Go round the base and pop out at the sides? It’s important that if a bag has a long shoulder strap, to show it, so the customer can see that this is a feature. Another example is when a bag has a small purse attached inside, that poking it out of the zip at the top is a good way to display it. It’s key to consider that when visual merchandisers come up with their ideas on how to best display bags and their straps, it must be a quick and easy thing to do so that it can be replicated across multiple stores.
The final activity was mannequin styling. We looked through some lookbook images and had to decide a look to recreate. I have worked with mannequins before however not ones quite this complex where their elbows and fingers moved too! Mulberry have a mock window display downstairs which they recently installed and so this is what we worked with. After a constant tweaking of the fingers, we managed to get the mannequin to hold the bag in the way we wanted it to and overall I was impressed on how much our mannequin resembled the look in the original image.
The workshop was a great insight into what a visual merchandiser gets up to behind the scenes and all the aspects they have to consider when setting guidelines to be followed by all stores.