Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Merchandiser from Mulberry

Laura Heritage, Creative Visual Merchandiser for Mulberry for the last 3.3 years divulges us with her steady journey through fashion and why to persue those 'accidental' opportunities.

" I love developing window ideas, visiting factories, travelling to showrooms and walking around new places with my eyes open in the name of work. I also really like all the Frame Publishers magazines, swimming in the open air and good fresh coffee."

FD: What did you study at University/where? and how has your studies aided you in terms of your career?
LH: Fine Art, at Nottingham Trent Uni. I don’t think the course had a direct impact on my job, but then I always knew that my degree choice wasn’t a vocational one. Instead I opted for doing something I would really enjoy for 3 years, leaving the career decisions to a time when I could slowly work out what I wanted to get into from the safety of my parent’s house.

FD: How did you find yourself working for Mulberry?
LH: By total accident – I managed to get my foot in the fashion door through a tip off from my Petersham Nurseries manager. Stella McCartney had previously launched her care range there, so I used their Press Director contact to worm my way into an internship in the Press department. After a few months of non-stop send-outs to magazines and celebrities I started to feel creatively stifled and pushed for a stint in the more creative Golborne Road office, where I fell into the VM team. When I heard, through a headhunter, about a vacancy at Mulberry I jumped ship and have been here ever since.

FD: Have you always been aware of Visual Merchandising and what it entails?
LH: Not at all – in fact I think it’s something that most of us in VM learn on the job.

FD: Do you look at other brands for inspiration/as competition?
LH: Of course, you’d be na├»ve not to. I try to take half days here and there to do comp shopping in London, and make a point of wandering the streets of Paris/Milan/NY with my camera when I’m out with work. Super multibrand stores like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Liberty and Selfridges, as well as Super luxe brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Stella and Lanvin are usually on my hit list.

FD: What is your favourite season / event to plan/design for?
LH: Autumn Winter is my favourite season to design for – Mulberry always pull out the deepest, autumnal colour palettes and thickest printed knits which I find are the best inspirations for window schemes and fashion shows.

FD: What would be your dream idea? (any location/ unlimited budget / resources...)
LH: This is the hugest question! As I’m always restricted by store window dimensions I’d love to design something for an outside space. I’m massively into craft so there would have to be elements of knitting, paper or ceramics. Although I have developed a keen eye for luxury finishes, I’m a big fan of chipboard and cork…and not adverse to a bit of chickenwire or cardboard either. Anything can look good when used en masse, especially if juxtaposed with something classy to give it an element of style. At the Milan Furniture Fair this year there was a lot of marble and mirror on show which could be fun to throw into the mix! A bit mental but definitely full of impact.■

Images supplied by Laura Heritage; Bond Street Halloween A/W11 Window, Bond Street Halloween Visual, Bond Street 40 days of Christmas A/W11 Window, Christmas Trunk Visual

A: Mulberry, 30 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4HA

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