Christmas, the time of giving, good cheer and general merriment. Well, except if you happen to work in hospitality or retail, in which case it’s more likely the time of double shifts, late nights and no sleep.
While you may only have started thinking about your Christmas shopping list when Halloween ended (or if you’re brave, you’ll leave it until December 23rd), those working behind-the-scenes in Ireland’s retail industry have had Santa on the brain for months.
The festive season is the busiest time of the year for department stores, boutiques and supermarkets, meaning preparation is key. In this month’s issue of STELLAR we speak with five to-do list queens working in different areas of retail: from store managers to personal shoppers to Christmas window designers, and here at Stellar.ie we met one more.
Cork native Rebecca Cassidy is currently working as a Visual Merchandiser for a massive European retailer. As well as styling mannequins and organising store layouts by trend, Rebecca also makes sure store windows are looking picture perfect every day. “When I was first promoted from a sales assistant to a visual merchandiser six years ago, I was totally unaware of what was ahead of me,”the 25-year-old recalls.
Rebecca’s daily duties can involve anything from a 5am start to prep a new store window to working with tools to build window displays to styling mannequins with new stock. “There is a lot of work that goes on in the background,” she says.
As a VM, attention to detail is a priority for Rebecca’s team. “It’s vital that everything looks exactly as it should” she explains. “This means I could be steaming and ironing an outfit for a mannequin one minute and drilling, fitting and hanging wall systems the next.”
November and December are the busiest footfall times for any store, but for anyone working behind-the-scenes like Rebecca, Christmas begins much sooner, once A/W stock begins arriving. “In general, the process of prepping begins with the season,” she tells Stellar.ie. “I love working with winterwear and knitwear, so it’s one of my favourite times of year. This year will be busier than ever as my store is opening a huge extension just in time for Christmas.”
As for Rebecca’s plans outside of work, she’ll be keeping things low-key this year. “Come December I love embracing the dark nights, coffees in the cold and the weekends away,” she says. “Plus of course the late night Christmas shopping!”
For more retail secrets, check out the latest issue of STELLAR, on shelves right now!
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