VMSD - February 2016 - (Page 60)
Interview by Steve
Bloomingdale's ovp, national director - visual merchandising,
learned early on that visual works best when it's part of a business
strategy that incorporates the merchandise and helps drive sales.
How did you cross paths with Andy
I had become visual manager at the Hudson's
store in Okemos, Mich. Andy was Dayton-Hudson's head of visual and design, and he liked what
he saw at our store. He eventually recruited me to
help him open the the new Dayton's department
store at Southland Center in Edina, Minn. That
store was his baby.
How is visual different in our
brave new world?
Today, people can buy anything
from their sofa at home. So when
people go shopping, they're looking
How did you get started in visual?
I was studying art and design in college and took
an intern job for the holidays in the visual department of Hudson's department store at the Lakeside Mall in Sterling, Mich.
And that led to a permanent job?
Yes, I was offered a position as a stylist in the
How did that job form your view of
I became intrigued by creating presentations that
incorporated merchandise into the visual component, which wasn't common practice in the
'80s - they were considered separate disciplines.
But I saw an opportunity to make it more dynamic,
to make the merchandise itself part of the whole
Later, at Bloomingdale's, you worked
with another icon - Jack Hruska.
Yes, I was recruited by Bloomingdale's in 1992 to
open its Mall of America store. That same month,
Jack was named the new director of visual merchandising. Later, I helped open Jack's first concept store at Old Orchard in Skokie, Ill.
What was your major takeaway from
To push myself for innovation, but only if it felt
comfortable within the unique architectural environment, as if it's meant to be there. And if it
doesn't feel comfortable, to challenge myself to
figure out how to achieve that.
And now you're the mentor. How does
It's my favorite part of the job, working with highly
creative people and helping develop their skills,
watching their careers grow. I've made it my commitment always to be there for my team.
not for best price but for an experience. The environment has to excite
Like your Christmas 2015
Yes. We designed our concept this
past year around the five senses.
Things like piping the sound of
jingle bells out onto the sidewalk
- and the smell of peppermint,
dispensing peppermints on the
sidewalk. And having people take
a picture of themselves hugging
someone, and then posting those
photos on 12 embedded [digital]
screens in the window.
BFA - Bi lly FAr r e ll , Ne w y or k; Po r tr Ait Pho to: C ou r te s y o F J o hN k l i m k o w s k i , N e w y o r k
What did you learn from him?
He cautioned me very early on to make sure any
ideas I had were wrapped in good, sound business
decisions, or nobody would ever take me seriously.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - February 2016
VMSD - February 2016
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
It's In the Bag
A Nontraditional Noel
Luxury in Paradise
VMSD - February 2016