The MAT-237: Aesthetics in Merchandising class recently finished a window display project for part of their course requirement. The course focuses on teaching visual merchandising principles to students, and this project gave students a real hands-on experience in visual merchandising. They learned aspects of visual display, worked in a team situation, worked within an allotted budget and demonstrated creativity and resourcefulness. Many MAT graduates pursue careers in visual merchandising after graduation, and this project provided work to showcase in their portfolios.
Preeti Joshi, lecturer for the Merchandising, Apparel & Textiles department, garnered participation from local retailers by making contacts and staying in touch. She approached all 10 retailers used for this project during this past summer and asked them if they would participate. After retailers were picked, students enrolled in the course were put into teams and given the following instructions for their project:
- Each team was assigned a store and provided the contact for the store.
- One of the team members contacted the store on the designated day and time to introduce the team and set a work time with the store.
- The team met the store manager to discuss display plans and decide working time and completion time.
- The project was completed in accordance with the store manager's instructions.
- The teams were allowed to use props available with the store or create inexpensive props using different material. They were encouraged to show resourcefulness and creativity in the activity, and to ask if the store would provide any budget for the display.
- The team was required to notify the instructor the date and time when the project could be evaluated.
- After the project was graded, the team was asked to dismantle the display if the store requested.
- All teams were instructed to be very professional in behavior, including being on time, adhering to the deadline, and taking feedback in a positive manner.
- Teams were required to present their window project as a PowerPoint presentation at the end of the semester.
- The team's performance was evaluated by the store manager, the instructor and peer evaluation from each teammate.
A unique feature of the project included an open vote for the favorite display conducted via Facebook. Voting stayed open for several weeks on a Facebook page created especially for the class (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Window-Display-Project-Fall10/127754373943608) and closed on October 31st. There were a total of 231 votes, which were distributed as follows:
Caught ya lookin'
25% (58 votes)
21% (48 votes)
Geno's Formal Affair
17% (39 votes)
13% (29 votes)
John's Classic Shoes
10% (22 votes)
7% (17 votes)
Baby Bundles of Lexington
6% (14 votes)
1% (3 votes)
0% (1 vote)
0% (0 votes)
The designers of the winning window display "Caught ya Lookin'" were Rachel Zimmer, Bailey Akers, Paige Reichard and Madison Stephens. The winning team worked for a new business in Lexington called Caught ya Lookin' which is owned by a MAT alumnus! The concept was personalized luggage and accessories. The runners-up worked with Bella Blooms and their theme was Keeneland Horse Park. The World Equestrian Games were going on during the time the team assembled their display, so the games had an influence on the design.