Retail students dress for success in Interflora window challenge
The second year BA (Hons) Retail Marketing Management students, spent two days in London on the research trip, organised to launch the Visual Merchandising assessment which our University is delivering with Jeanette Cheetham and her retail brand consultancy, Two Visual.
The students took part in a number of exciting activities, challenges and talks, including a bespoke tour of Top Shop Oxford Circus with their Visual Director, Tim Whitmore; a tour of Karen Millen’s Design Offices and a talk by Head of Visual Merchandising at Space NK, Paul Wilkins. There was also plenty of time for visiting the stores discussed in the classroom: Selfridges, Anthropologie, Dover Street market and the independent and pop-up shops in Shoreditch.
Paul Wilkins also offered the students a challenge to propose some new ideas to promote key brands in his stores, with the winners set to receive luxury Space NK goodie bags.
Student Ida Davidsen commented: “I believe that getting first-hand experience can help students make decisions for their future and show a realistic image of what the industry can offer if you work hard and apply to the right positions. I know there are people in our group considering going into visual merchandising and the creative sides of retail because of what they have learned and seen on this trip.”
Fellow student Sean Collin added: “Trips like this allow us to be able to meet people and have experiences we otherwise would not get the chance to. I also feel like it enables us to see what we are studying toward as an end goal: it is nice to see that what we are studying has a very exciting practical application when we graduate and it’ll make the time spent worthwhile. This trip reignited a passion for what I am studying and has also provided me with a lot of inspiration to use within my studies and application.”
Students were then given their official practical assignment brief, which offers them the opportunity to design real windows for independent florists in the Interflora network alongside Jeanette Cheetham and Two Visual. In May, they will present these window ideas to Interflora and Esther Pugh, Visual Merchandising module leader.
Esther said: “I am always eager to engage students in real life projects. These allow students to develop transferable skills such as working to deadlines, engaging with clients and working in teams as well as technical abilities and giving practical application to theoretical concepts.”
Alistair MacAuley, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, added: “Exposing our students to industry in this way allows them to contextualise their learning in the classroom.”
Jeanette Cheetham, founder of Two Visual, said: “I believe strongly in supporting the next generation of retailers and am delighted to be supporting Leeds Beckett University in this module. The benefit is two-fold: the students get to work with professionals in the industry and experience all the day to day challenges of the sector and retailers are able to gain valuable knowledge, feedback and ideas from the students, who are the future retailers.”