By Mario Toneguzzi
A visual merchandising expert, who has worked with some of the top retail brands in North America, is now working with smaller stores to help them get ahead.
Ani Nersessian, of Toronto-based VM ID, is also helping train those smaller retailers in the art of visual merchandising so they can do it for themselves. Her passion is helping smaller businesses become successful in a way that is affordable to them in maximizing window displays and in-store merchandising.
“I started VM ID because I loved the idea of using my role and background to help smaller businesses across Canada who think that they don’t have access to the same resources as large companies to build up and sustain their image,” says Nersessian, who has worked for Adidas and Holt Renfrew.
“Now I offer hands-on labour to re-vamp, but what is unique about my business is I also create tools like standards guidelines and zoning plans, offer training workshops and consultations to help equip them to be more self-sufficient and use their existing staff for a most cost-efficient solution.”
After more than 14 years of industry experience with various retailers, Nersessian established VM ID at the beginning of July to help retailers get set-up with a visual merchandising culture that is right for them.
She says VM ID helps to diagnose the opportunities to maximize the productivity of the selling space and elevate the store image, while catering to each business’ specific needs.
“This could involve staff training, creation of handy VM tools, or in-store merchandising and display services,” explains Nersessian, adding that she works with businesses to create a service package which optimizes their selling space, while letting them focus on the bottom line and selling their product.
She holds a B.Des from Ryerson University’s Fashion Communications program. She has worked at various retailers of all sizes, including Holt Renfrew as part of the Visual Presentations team, Adidas Canada as a Visual Merchandising Coordinator overseeing the visual direction and training in Adidas and Reebok stores nationwide, and has also worked as Instructor of the Visual Merchandising & Display course at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion.
Nersessian says retailers can’t afford to be without a strong visual merchandising system in place. It attracts the right customers, engaging them in-store, and converting them to returning customers. It increases space productivity and product turnover. It silently yet strategically sells merchandise through impactful visual presentation. It elevates and strengthens brand identity.
“Every retailer naturally decides what their setup should be looking like whether it’s based on store design or product feature and groupings,” she says. “Every store naturally does that. Visual merchandising is setting up a store and strategizing how to organize it in a way that will sell impactfully.
“I’m focusing on small Canadian businesses because they are the backbone of the country. So my inspiration coming out of larger companies like Holt Renfrew and Adidas group was that a lot of these smaller companies don’t have the same access to resources.”
Often for smaller businesses, visual merchandising gets neglected because of a lack of resources.
“There’s a huge opportunity to help the stores to sell much better,” says Nersessian.
Email Ani Nersessian: email@example.com
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.