This year I enrolled on the Visual Merchandising and Display (Online Short Course) from the University of the Arts London. I cannot recommend this course enough, it's perfect for anyone looking to get into the world of visual merchandising or simply wanting to improve their skills in the retailing world.
Over the 8 weeks I learnt so many techniques from how to dress mannequins all the way through to merchandising to help increase sales. Each course took place from 6pm-8pm GMT through an online forum. In this forum you had access to view and listen to your course leader via her web cam and microphone. All the attendees had access to type messages into the forum or join in through microphone and web camera too. On my course I had people from all over the world attending such as Dubai and Vancouver. This gave a great insight in the world of visual merchandising through a range of different countries. We shared a lot of photos and techniques through the forum via our coursework which we went through at the beginning of each lesson.
My course leader was Sarah Manning, she was the perfect teacher, very encouraging, knowledgable and patient. Each week she would teach us a different topic of visual merchandising and display. These lessons were very interactive and Sarah encouraged us all to ask questions and discuss topics throughout the lessons. We were able to do this through the live web chat or via webcam and microphone if we wished. At the end of each lesson we would be tasked with a piece of coursework which help us work on what we'd learnt that week. The coursework would take me about 1-2hrs a week to complete and had be uploaded the day before the next session, this would allow Sarah to review it and give feedback. We would then go through everyone's coursework at the beginning of the next session. It was great to see everyone else's interpretation of the coursework and especially view photos of displays from the attendees in different countries. You'd gain insight into a range of brands I'd not seen or heard of in the UK.
One great perk of the course is that you get permanent access to NNFN (No Need For Mirrors), a programme that Sarah helped create which allows people to design shop windows. This is the perfect tool to get an idea of how you'd like to set up a window. There is sometimes limited access to the type of mannequins and clothing items you might want to use but there's enough there to allow your idea to come to life. You also have access to upload your own background images which helps give your design a personal touch.
Keep an eye on my blog as I'll be making sure to include some visual merchandising specific posts to help talk about the range of tips and techniques I learnt through my course including more information about the NNFM programme.
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