Approximately 168,400 merchandise displayers and window trimmers are employed in the United States. Many work in department and clothing stores, but merchandise displayers also work in other types of retail stores, such as variety, drug, and shoe stores. Some have their own design businesses, and some are employed by design firms that handle interior and professional window dressing for small stores. Employment of display workers is distributed throughout the country, with most of the jobs concentrated in large towns and cities.
School career services offices may have job listings for display workers or related positions. Individuals wishing to become display workers can apply directly to retail stores, decorating firms, or exhibition centers. Openings also may be listed online or in the classified ads of newspapers.
A number of experienced merchandise displayers choose to work as freelance designers. Competition in this area, however, is intense, and it takes time to establish a reputation, build a list of clients, and earn an adequate income. Freelancing part time while holding down another job provides a more secure income for many display workers. Freelancing also provides beginners with opportunities to develop a portfolio of photographs of their best designs, which they can then use to sell their services to other stores.
Display workers with supervisory ability can become regional managers. Further advancement may lead to a position as a display director or head of store planning.
Another way to advance is by starting a freelance design business. This can be done with very little financial investment, although freelance design workers must spend many long hours generating new business and establishing a reputation in the field.
Experienced display workers may also be able to transfer their skills to jobs in other art-related fields, such as interior design or photography. This move, however, requires additional training.
Tips for Entry
Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office.
Visit the Retail Design Institute’s Web site, https://retaildesigninstitute.org/job-listings, for job listings (membership is required to access job listings).
Obtain merchandise display experience in order to make yourself a more attractive job candidate.
Conduct information interviews with merchandise displayers and ask them for tips on how to enter the field.