The week at Central (headquarters) is such a creative time for us Visuals to work with each other in a way we don't get to the rest of the year. We brainstorm and create new combinations, fresh looks and 'wow rooms'.
This all happens in a place called The Lab. Everything we carry is either in the Lab or on neatly organized shelves just outside. You can grab anything and bring it in, play with it, combine it with other things just to try something new, etc. It's brilliant! Really it's just a giant corner of a warehouse that has wall dividers and a concrete floor BUT that is the beauty of design...it's something you get to create, from the ground up.
This amazing, collaborative week is also very overwhelming! I've been with Room and Board almost a year; while I feel fairly well versed with our current assortment, learning all the 'new' condensed into a few days combined with the fact that I am not quite sure how this planning process works, left me feeling a little overwhelmed at the task ahead of me. 18,000 sq ft of showroom was just sitting there, waiting for me to make it beautiful-YIKES!
So the last two months, I've been locked away in our big conference room creating, wrestling through placements and balancing the aesthetic of our brand with the necessary influence of the numbers. Numbers don't lie but you can't fill a showroom with multiple presentations of the 'bread and butter' collections. It would be incredibly boring and one-toned in style.
My job, as the Visual, is to make our showroom sing. To create a journey for the customer through the spectrum of our aesthetic: classic, mid-century, core, and pure modern. To create an experience that leaves them wondering what's around the corner in the next room, positioning and combining things in a way that is attainable and inspiring.
From day one, my whole management team has said that the Visual's job is the hardest in the showroom. I think I'm starting to understand why. My success is measured by the condition of the showroom at any given time, the success/growth of our business, and the subjective taste of my visual boss and the higher ups. That is the hardest thing...ever. It is impossible to please everyone's aesthetic. Impossible, even within the guidelines they set up for us. My boss has one vision, I have another, our Director of Stores has her own-all of it falls within the given parameters but sometimes none of them are the same. Not to mention the 20 employees who need to stay inspired daily in order to try to sell it to the thousands of customers who walk through the space each week.
Its kind of big when you step back to look at it. I know it's the same for all of us when we look at our jobs this way...the sphere of influence is massive. This has been a good reminder in the midst of planning. A motivation to come out strong and put my best foot forward for my first floorchange! I cannot wait to see how it all turns out and I still have at least a month more of planning to do...hopefully my creative juices don't run out!
Here's a peek at what my planning room has looked like:
|i can't even tell you how many erasers and sticky notes i've gone through!|
Here's some photos of our showroom right now:
|we just brought in these limited edition Roberta Allen prints!|
|another limited set of Lotta Jansdotter prints...so playful and fun!|
|some John Robshaw prints.|
|this is the very front of the store!|
|colorful kids dept!|