As I was in the last semester of my Fashion Apparel Designing degree, I got an opportunity to work with a renowned company ‘Shoppers Stop’ – a campus placement. I was preparing for the interview aligned with the company.
As I heard the news from my college about my placement in the company, it was going to be the start of my journey in the Retail world. Last semester still had a month to go, was very excited to experience my first job. The days were passing so slow & excitement was at the peak.
As the day had approached, I had given an option between two major cities – Ahmedabad & Mumbai. Well, I was not aware of the profile they were hiring me for but was willing to work at Mumbai – The City of Dreams.
My first day, 6th June 2016 at Malad, Mumbai – A Retail Girl Journey had begun. I was hired as an Intern on an experimental project as an “Expert Visual Merchandiser”. It was a concept designed to grow business by focusing majorly on in-house brands. All metro-cities stores had hired EVMs – Expert Visual Merchandiser to grow in business and focus on in-house brands in store.
As I come from a business family, no one much into jobs. I got an opportunity to experience the job atmosphere in Retail, which was all-together a new experience waiting to challenge me.
Adventure life fun began when the search for stay, location, nearby markets, and safety was a major concern. As I was staying out for the first time, away from family – was finding the outer world difficult. I started visiting Head office – Malad, the training sessions were an amazing start to the unknown journey. I was staying at my relative’s place and after a week, I got a stay nearby my office and my training sessions also were about to end. So the traveling issue was not a big task anymore.
As I was working as an Expert VM, the job profile had to visit three major growing business stores – SS Malad, SS Bandra & SS Juhu all over Mumbai. The Shoppers Stop In-house brands like Stop, Life, Vetterio Fratini, Kashish, Haute Curry were to be in more highlight – more of creativity and innovative sections. The exposure was very vast, each day new ideas with new challenges at different stores and sales tracking performance for a week on the visual displays done.
“EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY”
I was enjoying my work – visiting different stores, working in different brands, coming up with new ideas as per space and resources provided, tracking performance on weekly basis, coming across new people, and exploring the city.
The journey of being an Expert Visual Merchandiser continued for long 6months, where-in, I was allowed to work for SS Head Office renovation project – coming up with innovative and creative ideas to enhance VM beauty in the new office.
After viewing my over-all performance I was allowed to work for Shoppers Stop at D.Y.Patil Mall, Kolhapur. An upcoming challenge was lack of resources, very few vendors work in this field, cost management still was able to deliver the work on time within VM budget given. An experience of 7months was again a remarkable journey in my retail career at Kolhapur. No doubt even the stay was very comforting and the food was too good (very homely feeling).
As I had asked for a transfer to Mumbai, was given to handle SS Kalyan Store. As the culture was very familiar to me till now, it was easy to work further in any given store to handle. I was very fortunate to get a good Boss and good Team to work with, very supportive and open to all VM challenges. Again a new challenge, very less budget store but a lot more to explore at store entrance windows, interior displays- cluster formations and planning an upcoming event. Due to the location of the mall in that area, there was less customer entry affecting the sales too. The windows planning and budget constrain used to be a tough challenge to face. No doubt, SS Kalyan store has big enough windows to get the best of window executions done.
All together Shoppers Stop was a roller-coaster start to my journey of Visual Merchandising in the Retail Industry. I have enjoyed and learned a lot, exploring many places, knowing the brands and their strategies to grow in the industry came across many people, and lastly vendor management. I worked with Shoppers Stop Company for almost 2years and now in Pune.
Shoppers Stop is an Indian department store chain, owned by the K Raheja Corp. There are 86 stores across 40 cities in India, with clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes, jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics, health and beauty products, home furnishing, and decor products. The first store was opened in Andheri, Mumbai on 27th Oct 1991.
Shoppers Stop Ltd has been awarded “the Hall of Fame” and won “the Emerging Market Retailer of the Year Award”, by the World Retail Congress at Barcelona, in April 2008.
Shoppers Stop, as a Retail industry is very strong with its SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures, very organized to start your career with and excel in many ways. Being part of VM Team, I was given a lot of opportunities to explore in my creative-innovative way, visit as many stores as possible, explore different brand spaces, and grow overall in the company.
Visual merchandising itself is a destination made valuable to me by an Opportunity.
“Success Is A Journey, Not A Destination”