Ash­win Sawh­ney

VM&RD - - CONTENTS - Ash­win Sawh­ney VM The Nu­ance Group

With 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, Ash­win Sawh­ney has seen VM in the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try start up. She started her ca­reer as a Vis­ual Mer­chan­diser with the Bom­bay store and then worked with Shop­pers Stop as a store VM. This was fol­lowed by be­ing the na­tion­wide VM of Fu­ture Group for ladies and kids wear sec­tion. She then joined as VM Man­ager with Madura Gar­ments. Then af­ter mi­grat­ing to Aus­tralia in 2010, she joined Myer as a Vis­ual Mer­chan­diser and re­cently she has been ap­pointed by “The Nu­ance Group", Syd­ney Duty Free as a vis­ual mer­chan­diser. Ash­win strongly be­lieves that ca­reer pro­gres­sion re­flects recog­ni­tion for cre­ativ­ity, ini­tia­tive, com­mit­ment and clear abil­ity to pro­vide lead­er­ship and man­age tasks, as­sign­ments and teams ef­fi­ciently.

What in­spired you to be­come a vis­ual mer­chan­diser?

Ini­tially when I started off in Pune, not much was known about VM as a call­ing and I re­mem­ber ex­plain­ing the prospects of VM for peo­ple to iden­tify it as a job and not some­thing else. It was at that time I saw a ca­reer in a boom­ing in­dus­try which was still get­ting for­mal­ized. There­fore, for an in­di­vid­ual like me with a cre­ative mind, Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing was cer­tainly my call­ing. The aes­thet­ics sat­isfy my cre­ative ar­dor while track­ing of sales and anal­y­sis, bring in con­tent­ment’. I loved work­ing hands on in ‘The Bom­bay store’ as an in-store vis­ual mer­chan­diser and can proudly claim to be as de­voted in the job as ev­ery other thing that I do.

With ev­ery role I have learnt and grown so much which I would say keep me grounded and mo­ti­vated. Hence, this yearn keep me mov­ing and there is no look­ing back.

Do you have any role models in your de­sign and cre­ative philoso­phies?

Since the start of my ca­reer I have loved Martin Peglar and have loved the in­sights he has shared on vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing over the years and in ev­ery edi­tion on his books called 'Win­dows'. Be­sides his in­spi­ra­tions my de­sign phi­los­o­phy is 'Less is more, 'Re­tail is de­tail' and 'Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing is a Sci­ence'.

Please give a brief gist of your ca­reer mile­stones and learn­ing at each mile­stone.

As an act­ing area VM with Shop­pers Stop I learnt the skill of Multi – Site VM su­per­vi­sion com­bined with the busi­ness acu­men. Go­ing to the sec­ond level, while work­ing with Fu­ture Group as a Na­tional Cat­e­gory VM, I learnt the na­tional im­pact of VM on in­di­vid­ual brands com­bined with sales track­ing. While work­ing with Madura Gar­ments as a Na­tional VM Man­ager helped me in de­vel­op­ing the re­tail iden­tity of ‘Trouser Town’. Last but not the least Myer, where I un­der­stood how VM is ex­e­cuted in a devel­oped coun­try fol­lowed by learn­ing of a few more es­sen­tial skills.

What has been your big­gest achieve­ment and what im­pact did it have on the busi­ness and your reper­toire?

I be­lieve my big­gest achieve­ments are still ahead of me. How­ever, I would like to men­tion that be­ing a part of the re­design­ing of a re­tail for­mat of ‘Trouser Town’ in 2007 till date was one of my big­gest ac­com­plish­ments. And I have also contributed to Stan­dard Op­er­at­ing Pro­ce­dures for 3 com­pa­nies.

What was the most en­tic­ing project you across? Please de­scribe the ex­pe­ri­ence.

The most fun project was re­design­ing the re­tail iden­tity of trouser town and planet fash­ion. Above all work­ing with dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als ex­per­i­ment­ing, sourc­ing etc. was a huge learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

What do you think are the ad­van­tages and chal­lenges in the scope of VM in the In­dian re­tail sce­nario? Any in­stances where you have changed a chal­lenge into an op­por­tu­nity?

The ad­van­tage in In­dia is def­i­nitely the ad­e­quate avail­abil­ity of la­bor and its cheap turn­around time for most jobs for VM. Hence, VM in In­dia can fo­cus on their key Skill sets like de­sign in­stead of ac­tu­ally do­ing the work them­selves like paint­ing win­dow back­drops, in­stalling fix­tures them­selves. Whereas chal­lenges would be the stan­dard of VM across the In­dus­try needs to be made much higher for global recog­ni­tion. The re­tail in­dus­try in In­dia needs to mar­ket its ad­vanced re­tail tech­nol­ogy and de­sign to the world for in­creased aware­ness. Though I do feel a lot of com­pa­nies in In­dia are de­liv­er­ing VM of in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, but in the pock­ets of the in­dus­try and not as a whole. I see a huge po­ten­tial for mar­ket­ing ex­cel­lence in VM de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion to the world. Since I have been in the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try and I have seen that the in­dus­try is far ad­vanced even com­pared to most devel­oped coun­tries in ar­eas such as VM tech­nol­ogy, state of the art store sig­nage, POP ma­te­ri­als used, Mock shop for mer­chan­dise pre­sen­ta­tions, ex­cel­lent fix­tures to name a few

Myer

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