VCOM Grad Johanna Lageder Heads to New Jersey This Week for an Install at the World's Largest Candy Store
Johanna Lageder grew up in Italy before moving to California to study Visual Communications at FIDM. The 2017 grad is now a Senior Production Manager for Set+Stage Creative in Los Angeles, and is flying out to New Jersey this week for an IT’SUGAR installation at the new American Dream megamall. Johanna and her team have built larger than life displays made entirely of candy for the IT’SUGAR opening of their three-story, 22,000-square-foot shop, which will be the world’s largest non-manufacturer candy store. Johanna visited the Los Angeles campus recently to recruit at an industry event. We caught up with her to find out more.
Tell us about your position at Set+Stage Creative: As a Senior Production Manager I am in charge of overlooking production. I work alongside project managers to accomplish an issue free production run. In addition I have to make sure our production calendar is up to date and that there are no overlaps in projects or deliveries.
Can you speak a little about your career growth at Set+Stage: I started at Set+Stage Creative one week after graduating at an entry level position as a Production Assistant. That means I was on the production floor working on different visual merchandising projects; I remember my first project was for Carter's. I worked in that position for about eight months and then I got promoted to Project Lead, which meant that I was in charge of leading the production of specific projects and making sure it gets done on time, the quality is up to par and pack out. After about six months in that position, I then got promoted to Senior Production Manager, my current position.
Tell us about an interesting project you've worked on at Set+Stage: I think the most interesting project I have worked on so far is a project for IT'SUGAR which was for a collaboration with Stranger Things. We created a window display that was the upside down world of Hawkins. It was creatively challenging but also very satisfying once set up.
Tell us a little about yourself: I was born and raised in a small town in the northern part of Italy called Ortisei. It is a town famous for being a great winter destination and ski resort. My mom is German and my dad is Italian. Growing up in a small town always felt very "safe" and "bubble" like. I always had the desire to explore things that were outside of this bubble and fashion was my way out. I am very grateful for my background as it gave me a great education and growing up in a tourist heavy area exposed me to many different cultures which is a part of LA that I love. When I'm not at work I love exploring anything that involves food, which is amazing in LA due to the variety of cuisines and cultures.
Why did you choose FIDM? I grew up in Italy but always loved the idea of moving to California. I was looking into different schools in and around the LA/Orange County area since I have family out here. I decided to do my first year at the Orange County campus so I would be closer to family. FIDM was my first choice since it offers a very artistic approach to learning. I wanted to be able to also be able to dive into the field while being in school and FIDM offers a great balance of school and work.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? I think FIDM prepared me very well for what I am doing now. I graduated having the skills that I needed to enter this field and then grew as I was working at Set+Stage Creative.
How did you decide on your major? I always loved fashion, but never had the desire to go into fashion design. I love to build and create stuff so I looked into the different majors at FIDM and took the quiz online that helps you find the right major. After taking the test and the result was Visual Communications I decided to read more about it and see what career paths would be possible after completion. After two days of research and some thinking and discussions with my family I decided that it would be the best way to go.
Set+Stage recruits at FIDM. Tell us a little about your assessment of the skillset of your hires from FIDM: A very important factor for us at Set+Stage is independence. Since we have multiple projects running at the same time usually we need to be able to trust the employees to work independently after giving them the information about the project. We also need candidates to have a basic skill set in visuals, which usually is well covered by FIDM's Materials and Props class. It is also very important that a person can work by themselves but also as a team.