Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services


Spring 2012 Site Review

Position: Visual Merchandising Intern
Student: Plan II Junior

This time around I felt very comfortable going into my internship because I already had worked there. Knowing people and feeling more confident definitely helps the quality of work.

A typical day for me varied a lot during this internship. Whereas last semester I would be involved in tasks like watering plants and cleaning up, this semester I would go straight into merchandising or even analyzing weekly sales, etc. The tasks were more ‘real,’ and I could see  their visual connection to the store’s aesthetic differently than the literal one with displays.

Usually the display prep work takes anywhere from a week to two weeks, so display interns would work on prepping large-scale displays for that time. I was given merchandising areas of the store, first a home area where I merchandised and then an apparel concept where I merchandised and planned and built the large-scale display. Regardless of which area I did, I always took care of signage for most of the apparel and house concepts around the store. The concepts are varied and multifaceted, so usually the displays and the merchandising are very different and require cohesiveness, which is what the visual team always strives for.

Working under the visual manager, the display coordinator, the assistant visual manager and sometimes the merchandiser was definitely the hardest part because each one had a slightly different vision that they wanted interns to help execute.

Spring 2012 Site Review

Position: Visual Merchandising Intern
Student: French Senior

During the spring semester of 2012, I was a visual display intern for Anthropologie.

Anthropologie is a chain of retail stores that sells women’s apparel, accessories and home décor. Urban Outfitters is the mother company of Anthropologie as well as Free People. As a visual display intern I was given the opportunity to help create and maintain displays throughout the store, including the large-scale front of store window displays. Being a part of the visual team meant that my hours typically started at 6am, because there is a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to get done before the store opens. I worked in a team with 1-2 other interns and we were given daily projects to complete as well as work on ongoing larger projects. Essentially it seems like I did arts and crafts all day, but it’s a little more complicated than that. A lot of our displays throughout the semester required using an electric drill, a heat gun, paint, a paper press, spray paint, dye, wax, wire, and endless amounts of hot glue. The displays actually take a lot of time and repetitive work in order to achieve impressive designs. Additionally I would also be asked to water plants (as this is a part of the visual display), help re-merchandise mannequins and product, and help back stock items in the store. Unfortunately I did not have any experience creating my own display concepts and was not involved in the creative process for the displays. I was able to learn a little bit about how a display coordinator (my supervisor) works on the budget for supplies and other necessities for the displays. As well I learned a lot about how a visual team works and interacts with a retail store and department.

Fall 2012 Site Review

Position: Visual Display Intern
Student: English Sophomore

The moonbeams greet me through the window panels as the alarm clock methodically beeps at 5:30 AM. After hitting the snooze button several times I jump out of bed and throw on the outfit I had laid out the previous night: cute yet practical, clothes that might get splashed with paint or covered in sawdust. I jump in my car for a quick drive to the store and meet my coworkers in the parking lot at 6 AM. The stars still shine overhead as we unlock the storefront doors. While admiring all the beautiful new inventory I walk to the back of the store, marked by a wire configuration spelling out “employees only”- the work of a visual display artist. As soon as the display coordinator, Taylor, unlocks the art room door I hang up my coat and purse, all while intently listening for directions. Taylor tells me and another intern to begin by watering the trees and plants on the floor. The “floor” refers to the area where customers shop. The task seems simple but it takes Rachel and I over half an hour to water the new Christmas trees and all the plants in the store. Once that task is completed we find Taylor for directions on a new project. Feather paper-mache lanterns have been sent to us from the Anthropologie display coordinator at the Domain and Taylor wants Rachel and I to hang them in the home section. The two of us set up a complex ladder over a decorated dining table. While sitting on top of the 20-foot ladder I use a creatively constructed tool (several bamboo sticks attached to a clothes hanger) to throw wire over a ceiling beam. Then, I attach the wire to the feather paper-mache lantern using pliers and A-rods. The second lantern does not go up as easily and requires several tries, resulting in some broken merchandise. After a couple hours and numerous tries, Rachel and I are finally finished hanging up the feather paper-mache lanterns. As I peer out the windows from the top of the ladder I can see that the sun has risen and the rest of the world has awaken. After cleaning up, Rachel and I find Taylor once again for the last project of the day. In order to prep for the life-size polar bear Rachel and I need to cut paper that will be used to imitate a bear’s fur. Using paper towels, wax paper, mulberry paper, scissors and x-acto knives we cut strips of paper that resemble fur. The task seems a little mundane so we play Christmas music in the art room to keep us inspired. At 9:45 AM the morning meeting is called into session and every employee currently at Anthropologie gathers in the dressing room. The store manager explains how this Anthropologie is doing sales-wise compared to the other stores in our region. We discuss the “holiday card” and how sales associates can encourage customers to purchase it. Afterwards every person is told to pick a conversational piece and dress that could serve as the items of the day. A conversational piece is an item that has an interesting print, such as cats, completely covering the article of clothing. Rachel and I work together to pick a conversational piece and dress, and then try to “sell” it to our coworkers. After everyone pitches the items that they have chosen, we vote on our favorites. The most highly voted conversational piece and dress become the items of the day and the sales associates attempt to sell as many of those as items as possible. As the morning meeting concludes the store opens at 10 AM and I continue cutting paper for the polar bear fur. After an hour of cutting paper the clock strikes 11 AM and my day at Anthropologie comes to an end.

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