I am a merchandiser, aka vendor. Five years ago, I was looking for a part-time job, which would provided me with some flexibility, had minimal supervision, enabled me to be with people without having to work with them and gave me a sense of accomplishment by finishing projects alone. And I found Hallmark Greeting Cards.
The advantages of being a merchandiser
I love retail merchandising. In 2013 I worked for five companies alone. I can’t work for one boss and one company in one place. The thought of it makes me want to shudder. Merchandising for several companies at the same time allows me not to be dependent on one company and gives me the control over my workday and week. I know if I don’t like how I am being treated or paid in one job or another I can always quit. There are far too many merchandiser jobs out there in order to worry about one.
But I worked for Hallmark up until recently (for five years). I often accept short- term jobs and stick with good companies and wait until they call again. I am not really job hunting all the time.
Your car must be dependable
If you want to be a merchandiser you need a dependable car. On busy days I visit up to 5 stores and it’s great that I don’t have to worry about my car giving up at me. I ensure that I service my car, register it in time, take care of my breaks and have car insurance. No car means no money.
Plan your route carefully
Gas is expensive. Your mileage on your car adds to your expenses. And, time is valuable. I try to avoid school zones at certain times of the day, be aware of constructions and make sure that I plan the shortest route possible for multiple jobs. That wasn’t always like that. Once I had to check out 5 fast food restaurants and it took me all day because I didn’t plan my route and didn’t consider how I can get to all restaurant in the shortest time.
Be kind, friendly and considerate
Merchandiser and vendors are usually not really liked by store associates and managements. We are often viewed as pushy and demanding. They tolerate us almost like a necessary nuisance. I came a long way. Now I am aware that I am (or my company) is only a guest in the store. If they don’t want a certain display it’s up to them. I just let my supervisors now. A friendly greeting, however, can do wonders. So when I go to a store I always smile, greet and have a positive attitude towards store management and associates. I do the same with other vendors. I clean up after myself and chat here and there. By the time I need additional room for a display they work with me. Keeping up with other vendors also enables me to know if there is another opening at a company I want to work for. Not to mention work is so much more fun if you get along.
Understand the physical demands of the job
Merchandising is hard physical work. And, it requires lifting, stretching, pulling, bending and climbing on ladders if necessary. Ensure you have great lifting techniques so you don’t hurt your back. Wear good shoes. Back problems are common. Wear good shoes. Bring a knee pad in case you are on the floor all day. Watch what other merchandisers do in order to make their jobs easier I have seen pregnant woman wanting to have my jobs thinking that someone else will lift their freight for them. Nobody does! Don’t accept a job offer if you fear that it will harm you. There are too many merchandiser jobs out there in order to worry about a particular one.
Read instructions and planograms carefully
Merchandising can be a lot of fun and often requires change from one day to the other. Sometimes I get in a display out of nowhere. In order to save me time I don’t always read the instructions. Sometimes this habit was more time-consuming because I had to start all over again because those displays weren’t right. I once worked at a store where I was allocated 90 minutes of times and it took me 4 hours. Only because I didn’t read the planogram and they wanted a digital image of the display since they were out of state. Before, you work on a new project always read the instructions. With Hallmark cards had to be moved constantly in order to reach the best possible sale. Read your email before you go to the stores, so you don’t have to go back and correct something.