So I wanted to do a different kind of post that showcased my full-time job. I wanted to give you guys a little insight into my work life and what I get up to during the Festive period. This is all about the window schemes and in-store schemes that we implement throughout the Christmas season.
A couple of weeks before anything goes in for Christmas we are shown the window scheme through guidelines that the business sends down. They send down a document of what will be going in each window, this is the first time we find out what will be our campaign for the Christmas period. In addition to this, they also send down a document breaking down every individual piece we will have for the windows and for the in-store scheme, on this document they also tell us when an outside team will come into the store and put up our lit garlands along the walkway. The first part of Christmas goes in a week before the Christmas windows start. This is when the VM team work alongside a team through the night to implement Christmas within the store. We get delivered all of our Christmas props in one night, which is so time-consuming to try and prepare for, especially when there is only two of you on VM.
However, once it’s been delivered it’s on to putting out the many Christmas trees they provide us with. They provide us with 3 sizes of trees, 2.4m 1.9m and 1.6m. We then have to distribute the trees around the store, focusing on mainly grouping them with mannequins and event zones. Once the trees have been fluffed and put into place it’s time to add the garlands in any walls of the store that are empty. These garlands have added present boxes on to them to give it more of a festive vibe throughout the store. This year because of pairing with the Paddington film we had added suitcases to mimic the suitcase Paddington has. The food section has its own scheme with adding more props like luggage tags hanging from the ceiling and pots of marmalade to co-inside with the Paddington theme running throughout the store.
Stripping the current window scheme is a must. This year we did things a little different, instead of having the normal blank-outs for the windows that are a PVC material, we had paper blank-outs which showcased occasion-wear photography. This launched the Occasion-wear 2 week scheme before the Christmas windows are revealed. So now the blank-outs are in position it’s time to start, building and implementing our windows. To the left is the guide on how head office want the windows to look. Now, not every window looks like it should, due to lack of product, window size and how much product they want in the window. So most of the time we have to try and make the windows fit with our window size at the same time trying not to cause too much of change. With 6 windows to dress and 2 people to do them it’s a battle against time, as well as doing things within the floor as well. Backdrops go up first which are different in each windows. This time around we had 3 different backdrops across 6 windows. The majority of the windows had a night sky effect on them with flashing blue lights. The other windows had a realistic fern background, envelope background and the main window had a backdrop with added elements to it. Next job is adding the floor, again most of the windows had a cobbled path flooring effect. Whereas window 1 had a vinyl red flooring. Once the backdrops and flooring are in place it’s time to add the props into each of the windows. This is a big task in itself as there are so many elements to the props. Take for instance the chimney in window 3. This consisted of 7-8 elements of cardboard cut-outs the slotted together. It took about 30 minutes for 2 people to fit this together. (Picture further down to showcase the chimney) This year we had a solid golden Paddington to try and get into the window without anybody knowing as was our biggest secret before the advert came out. He stands at 3ft 6 and it was very strange trying to get him into the window all covered up in a blanket. Other props consisted of gold Victorian street lamps, A gold post box, A gold door, A golden lorry with real wheels and not to mention the ample amount of Christmas present boxes. Once all of the props are built up and implemented into the right windows it’s time to hit the guides and see what they are asking for styling for the mannequins.
We are normally given a selection of outfits for the mannequins for each window. It gives us stroke numbers for individual items of clothing and accessories across Women’s, Men’s and Kid’s. Most of the time we don’t have the product and have to substitute to something that is the nearest match to the product provided. This is one of my favourite parts of a window dressing as it’s just like you’re giving life to the mannequins and the story within the window. As you can see from the photo of the outfits we got pretty close to the outfits in window 2 (Photograph below) Once all of the mannequins are dressed it’s ready for the pricing of the outfits. We mainly put the first 5 things on the mannequin. Starting with the main piece we’re trying to sell, for example a coat or blazer. Once all the mannequins are priced and ready to go it’s time to add products within the window that customers can shop throughout the store. So window 1 is a mixed gifting element window which customers can find across our Christmas shop. Window 2 is a food and drink product lead window as the mannequins are giving out the “Christmas Hampers” So everything in that window are found in our food hall. Window 3 is a sleepwear window and all the products in this window can be found in our gift-shop and sleepwear sections. Window 4 is a kids window focusing mainly on toys. The main toy being Paddington. Window 5 is a cocktail and drinks party, so we used products we thought appropriate of a cocktail and drinks party. Once all the products are now in place, the final elements can begin, such as making sure all spotlights are on the mannequin’s chests to showcase product. Lights are also focusing on main aspects of the window, for example window 1 Paddington. Where needed add in any decals to the window to finish the window off. The final element of the Christmas windows…. Go wild on the fake snow. This was the part I had so much fun, it just brings the whole scene that you’re trying portray come to life. Once everything is complete it’s time to unveil the windows to the public, taking down the blank-outs is one of the final things on the list. Unveiling them is a sense of achievement as me and fellow VM colleague stand back and look on at the amount of effort and work that have gone into these Christmas windows. I’m so very proud of the windows we have done this year, by far my favourite!