Merchandise Displayer and Window Trimmer
Merchandise Displayer and Window Trimmer
Education and Training: High school
Salary: Median—$22,280 per year
Employment Outlook: Good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Merchandise displayers and window trimmers design, construct, and install displays of clothes, accessories, furniture, and other products in windows, showcases, and on the floor of retail stores to attract potential customers. Display workers use their artistic talent, imagination, and flair for color and composition to create displays that will motivate customers to purchase products. They conceive their own display ideas or carry out the plans of the display manager.
Display workers construct or assemble backdrops and settings from wood, fabric, glass, paper, and plastic using hand tools. They gather props and other accessories, install the settings, arrange the mannequins and merchandise, and place price tags and descriptive signs. Maintenance workers, carpenters, or painters may assist with these tasks.
Displays are usually taken down and replaced every few weeks. In large stores a display director supervises the work of a group of display workers.
Education and Training Requirements
The minimum educational requirement for display workers is a high school diploma. Courses in art, woodworking, mechanical drawing, and merchandising are recommended. Some employers require college courses in art, interior decorating, fashion merchandising, advertising, or related fields.
Merchandise displayers receive most of their training on the job. They may begin by performing routine tasks such as carrying props or dismantling sets. With experience, they may be given the responsibility of constructing complex displays or designing their own displays.
Display workers must possess creativity, manual dexterity, and mechanical aptitude. They should be in good physical condition to climb ladders and carry equipment and props.
Getting the Job
School placement offices and the classified ads in newspapers are good sources for job openings in the merchandise display field. Those interested in display work can also apply directly to retail stores.
For those who want to work as freelance display designers, it is best to begin by freelancing part time while working at another job. In this way beginners can acquire the experience and time needed to develop a portfolio of photographs of their best designs. Portfolios are essential when marketing services to stores.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Merchandise displayers with leadership skills can become design managers and then be promoted to regional managers, display directors of large stores, or directors of store planning. Some experienced display workers start their own businesses in the design field. Others use skills developed as display workers in related fields such as interior design or photography.
Jobs for merchandise displayers and window dressers will grow as fast as the average through the year 2014 due to the expansion of retail stores. However, fluctuations in the economy may affect job growth, since slumps in sales often result in layoffs or hiring freezes. The best job opportunities will be in large stores and in stores located in metropolitan areas.
Most display workers work thirty-five to forty hours a week, although they may work longer hours during the busy retail seasons. Workers are required to bend, stoop, and stand for long periods of time. There is some risk of accidents from equipment or handling of materials.
Earnings and Benefits
Salaries for merchandise displayers and window trimmers varies depending on education, experience, skill level, and industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for display workers is $22,280. Those working in New York City earn more. Pay rate increases with experience.
Where to Go for More Information
Institute of Store Planners
25 N. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10590
National Retail Federation
325 7th St. NW, Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004
Benefits for full-time display workers may include health insurance and paid sick days and vacations. Those who are self-employed must provide their own benefits.