Monday, December 16, 2002



Dale Geldum outfits
Macy’s Hawaii

The visual merchandise manager sets up,
takes down and moves around

I am the "fate" that brings you together with those cute, trendy shoes conveniently located at the corner of the shoe department. I am the "destiny" that makes that new aloha shirt irresistible -- and unavoidable -- right there in the middle of the aisle.

I am the visual merchandise manager for Macy's Ala Moana.

Part of my job is to create visual merchandising displays that "find" the customers and to essentially create retail theater that makes shopping fun, exciting and new. This requires knowing the latest trends, knowing what customers in Hawaii want and having a knack for balancing the two.

My job also requires impeccable timing and endless flexibility. My team of five and I are responsible for any department renovations, floor consolidations and moves. We have to make it all fit, make it appealing and do it without disrupting the daily operation of the store. We coordinate logistics for in-store fashion shows, sale setups, personal appearances and makeup artist events.

When a department is targeted for renovation, I coordinate the disassembly of old equipment with the installation of the new equipment and visual enhancements for the new area, as well as communicate with our merchandisers, and time it so that customers still have access to the products and the sales associates can still effectively do their job.

Sometimes I receive no shipment at all, which is when we really need to get creative to make use of what we do have on the floor or in the warehouse.

I always have to prepare a "Plan B." I am frequently on the phone with vendors explaining some of the unique challenges to being 3,000 miles from the Mainland.

I have worked for Macy's as a visual merchandise manager for 12 years. Hawaii has been my home since March. Macy's Hawaii is like no other. I enjoy the challenge of putting together displays that appeal to both residents and tourists alike. The majority of our visual directives come from our San Francisco offices. But visual is visual; you have to understand your market and highlight those items or design concepts that will excite the local shoppers.

People ask if I have a hard time letting go of a great design or setup. Retail is fast-changing trends don't leave me time to cling to one idea or design. My true reward comes with the sense of accomplishment I get when I see how customers respond to our work and how visuals affect product sales.

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