Merchandise Product Development Grad Working at Christian Dior Couture Korea as Visual Merchandiser

June 8, 2016

Name: Jake Jihoon Kim

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development (Professional Designation)

FIDM Grad Year: 2014

Company: Christian Dior Couture

Title: Visual Merchandiser

Tell us a little about yourself: Wanderlust. I love travelling, experiencing different cultures, and mingling with people with different backgrounds and experiences.

Where are you working now? I work at Christian Dior Couture Korea as a Visual Merchandiser (VM). My role is to maintain global creative directives to stores and flagship stores and change/check all the window set-ups when seasons change. And cooperate with PR and marketing to set-up/decorate all the events that are planned for Dior Korea.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? One of the many reasons that I like my job is that I get to travel a lot. This does not mean I travel abroad, but travel locally to support stores to maintain a certain level of Dior's global expectation of displays. For instance, I get to stay in the office on Monday only and travel to different boutiques throughout the week (dedicate one per store) and send reports to regional office, which is in Hong Kong to be approved for final displays.

I also enjoy working at House of Dior and Dior boutiques because of their art pieces. What makes the boutique so special from other flagship stores is that almost everything, including lights from the restrooms and benches at the main hall, are designed and made from world famous artists. And I get to play around with them everyday.

What's the most challenging? Window set-ups, because window changes are done when department stores and flagship stores close. During this period of the time, VMs stay until window set-ups are done which is normally at 4 AM (sometimes even longer if the window concept needs more attention). At 9:30 AM we have to go to different boutiques again and at night we work until 4 AM again until whole windows changes at all boutiques. It is a very tiring week (done every 2-3 months), but at the end of the day, it pays off when people come to stores after seeing the windows and they tell sales attendants that the windows look very nice.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? People may think that the Product Development program I took at FIDM may not be the most relevant major to become a VM but I think that is wrong. Studying PD has made it so much easier to understand how to  display RTW and leather goods. Although VM is done in a very subjective and personal manner, knowing different fabrics/materials in depth allows VMs to do their job more easily.

When I first went to FIDM, I did not have any knowledge of Photoshop and AI, but through FIDM’s very structured curriculum, it prepared me to utilize the programs well.

Any advice for current students? I want to tell students to not to restrict themselves into certain career they want to do after graduation. I wanted to be handbag designer after I graduated, and that is why I chose FIDM and the Product Development major. It's good to know what you want to do, but there are times you realize this is not what you want. I want students to experience many different fields in the fashion industry. Who knew I would be a VM? Also I want all students to dream big. What I realized is that dreams do really come true if you work hard. But when you dream, plan your dreams into small sectors so that you can achieve step by step to own your dream.

What is your biggest goal right now? I have narrowed my dream into two big dreams. First, is to move to the regional office in three years and become a regional VM director. Second, is to work at headquarters in 10 years to make the global directives and let other VMs follow my guidelines to maintain the store expectations. When I started working, I didn’t think that was possible, but now I can see my first dream coming true.

Categories: Alumni News, Merchandise Product Development