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Rasika Narain

Present Designation
Manager Visual Merchandiser

Company's name
Marks & Spencer



ThinkTank: What led you to pursue a career in Visual Merchandising?

Rasika: I was actually planning on applying for AMM at NIFT, but it was by chance that the prospectus showcased a new course in Fashion Communication! As the subjects covered were very new and exciting, it sounded like a worthwhile risk to take with my career, and here I am 6 yrs later, content with my choice!

ThinkTank: What are the primary responsibilities of your job?

Rasika: My work ranges from Store designing, grid planning, Plan-o-grams, merchandise layout, mannequin dressing and styling, to window planning & execution as per the promotional calendar.

ThinkTank: What is the typical process you go through for implementing a display?

Rasika: Our brand maintains a similar look across all its international franchisees worldwide. They sustain this by sending seasonal guidelines pertaining to Windows, Merchandise stories, product displays & mannequin dressing to everyone. We access the information and customize it for each store. As the vendor keeps executing it across the 14 stores in India, the VM team of the regional VMs, store VMs & I set up the displays & styling.


ThinkTank: Where does India stand today when one talks of visual merchandising?

Rasika: It s a matter of great pride that today our country can boast of progress like no one else can, specially in the retail sector. Many international brands have come into the domestic market and changed the landscape & dynamics completely. Visual Merchandising has come into it's own, evolving from being a “Support function” initially, to now becoming an integral part of every brand. In-spite of this change there is still a lot of opportunity for us to learn from the international brands in terms of systems, fashion & styling, mannequins, lighting etc. On a global perspective, brands abroad invest much more in their windows and make bolder statements. At some level creativity, themes, material experimentation, as well as the budgets that go into the shop displays need to be broadly expanded upon… so I guess there is a great opportunity there to grow further…

ThinkTank: Where do you see the future of visual merchandising going?

Rasika: I see VM being a great opportunistic field in the very near future. It will be more professional, more customer responsive, even more creative & will reach new levels of excellence. India has such a rich culture and tradition, I am sure the mix of international exposure and our ethnic base can provide us with a window to showcase our unique sense of design and also a very diverse market/customer to appeal to! The possibilities are endless; that too when we have barely scratched the surface in the metro cities!

ThinkTank: Could you name me a few stores that have really stood out in terms of clever visual merchandising in India or even abroad?

Rasika: Personally for me, Zara is a brand that is a statement in itself. The entire experience in their stores as a retail professional & a customers is “WOW”! From the windows, to their in-store displays, to the garments and their fits, to the communication which is precise and clear-cut. Shopping at Zara is a delight. They are truly inspirational brand!

In the domestic market a lot of brands come up with good windows in certain themes but none which has been consistent.

Zara Store   Zara Home
A chance to get noticed in the industry. A chance to show your creativity. A chance to participate and win display awards every month. (submit your entries at [email protected])
Courtesy Bob and Susan Negen | WhizBang! Training, Phone: 616-842-4237, Fax: 616-842-2977,
To sign up for your FREE Tip-Of-The-Week, Visit:

Tip #4 Show Them You Care

Your customer can choose to shop many different places – other brick and mortar stores, catalogs, TV shopping channels, the Internet, warehouse clubs, and more.

Why do your customers decide to stop shopping at your store and try out one of the competition? You might guess price, convenience, selection, or service to be at the top of the list, but you'd guess wrong. Market surveys tell us that…


Plain and simple, they think you don't care about them. They think you don't care if they shop with you or not.

If most people stop shopping with you because they think you don't care, logic dictates that by showing that you DO care you can KEEP them as a customer for life.

Love your customers and the money will follow.

Send them funny, inexpensive Valentines. Send your best customers chocolates. Send an e-mail card to the customers you have an e-mail address for. Do something, anything, to let your customers know that you care that they shop with you. Be creative!

Here is our favorite FREE way to make sure your customers know that you care about them and their business.

Smile, look them in the eye, and give a warm, genuine “Thanks for shopping with us. We hope to see you again soon.” at the end of each sale. If it comes from the heart, it never fails to impress.





Digital Signage
SBN #: 0-240-81041-4
by Jimmy Schaeffler

A brand new (copyright 2008) primer for understanding the business of digital signage, this is the authoritative guide for executives, operations managers and professionals of digital sign businesses. Digital Signage covers software, networks, advertising and displays. Whether you are looking for new opportunities or to expand your business, with this book you will be able to clearly understand and accurately analyze the developments, trends and projections for digital signage, as well as business aspects and market conditions.


Color Harmony Packaging
ISBN #: 1-59253-402-3
by Origin Design

This book opens with case studies of 10 featured designs, explainging what the work was trying to achieve and why the particular palette was chosen. The book then follows with 21 chapters headed by adjectives, such as powerful, elegant, and trendy, which feature the paletted that reflect that adjective, and 10 designated package designs in four different color combinations from that palette. The result is over 800 color studies illustrating how different color combinations can dramatically alter a given design and the message it communicates. Color Harmoney Packaging also includes an interactive CD, allowing users to choose packages from the book, experiment with colors, and print them out for reference.


The Budget guide to Retail Store Planning & Design
ISBN #: 9780944094105
by Jeff Grant

The perfect learning tool for opening a store or renovating one, this book is a nuts and bolts approach to the planning and design of a new store, and a redesigned format highlights the new information. The author has experience in store planning, fixturing, and negotiation. The chapters cover budgeting store design, lease analysis and negotiation, working with designers, storefronts and signs, store layout and colors, retail floor coverings, ceilings and spaceframes, lighting, interior signage, wall and floor fixtures, and putting it all together. Also included are an invaluable retail lease checklist and an appendix of store floor plans.


Color Play
Ann Taylor's playful sister store, Ann Taylor Loft, gives its regards to Broadway with vivid colors and lively mannequins for its latest warm-weather windows.
By Lauren Mang

How fitting of Ann Taylor Loft to honor its Broadway address with a window presentation fit for the stage. Using the most dramatic of mannequins, these headless, chic ingénues strike playful poses in printed dresses and plaid jackets, while surrounding the specialty apparel retailer's signature illuminated letters.


Candy-colored ladders come out from behind the curtain and into prime position for vibrant accents. Bravo.

Installation, Fabrication, Design Assistance: Supercreator LLC, Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Jean Loscalzo
Photography: Bryan Ellingson, Brooklyn, N.Y.


IMark Your Calendar for IRDC
Conference goes to Seattle, September 3-5

Join VMSD magazine and your peers for the International Retail Design Conference, the premier educational and networking event for retail design professionals, September 3-5, 2008, at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. Learn from and network with some of the most respected names in the industry – then explore the unique retail landscape of Seattle, one of America's greenest cities. Learn more and sign up for the IRDC E-Newsbrief at



India is full of surprises. Retail IS booming. The practice of Visual Merchandising is common with every retailer, but unconsciously. Share the displays around you, near your home, on your way to office...submit your entries to [email protected]

The vegetable vendor
: A huge variety of vegetables, concentrating mainly on green vegetables keeping in mind the section of health conscious customers. Emphasis on green also to advocate freshness; arrangement of yellow with different shades of green gives it a harmonious image mix, pleasing to the eye position of the vendor is right at the center for easy access. Also, has fruits to facilitate more conversions.
Anupriya Arvind & Devina Arvind | Nift-communication Design | Sem-3


Dilli Haat
: He has very nicely done the placement of items in a descending order of height, so as to give a proper view of all the items present with him, to his customers. Moreover, it doesn't even look messy, in-spite of the fact that he has a very limited amount of space.

Anukriti Awasthi | NIFT-Communication Design | Sem-3



VMSD International Visual Competition 2008
Awards of Merit by Anne DiNardo

Award of merit, In-store accessories/beauty/shoes presentation
Timberland, PRO expandable wall presentation

Timberland's PRO expandable wall display features paneling in the brand's iconic orange color. The flexible system can accomodate various retailers needs while maintaining a branded look for Timberland.
“It's flexible without screaming 'flexible', ” said judge Tracey Lanz, design director, Landor.

Design: The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H. - Bevan Bloemendaal, senior director, global creative services; Jean Wood, fixturing manager; Kevin Bell, fixturing project manager; John Caly, graphic designer; Tom Yeaton, in-house photography. Fixtures: WL Concepts, Uniondale, N.Y. Photography: The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H.

Award of merit, In-store accessories/beauty/shoes presentation
Timberland, Smart Wool Tabletop Display

Timberland sought an interactive display for the seasonal launch of its Smart Wool footwear line made from eco-friendly materials. Designers crafted a large thermostat with a rotating temperature dial to communicate the product's “Control your Climate” tagline. A single shoe or pair of shoes sits on top of the dial, which rotates 360 degrees. Promoting the brand's commitment to green design, the display base is made of Sonotube and recycled paper substrates were used for the graphics.

Client; The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H. - Bevan Bloemendaal, senior director, global creative services; Jean Wood, fixturing manager; Kevin Bell, fixturing project manager; Steve Richard, graphic designer; Tom Yeaton, in-house photography. Fixtures: Integrated Display Co., New York. Photography: Courtesy of The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H.







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