Visual Merchandising Specialist

Saje Natural Wellness – Visual Merchandising Specialist

2017 to 2022

I started with Saje during a period of growth in 2017. They had 60 stores in Canada and were looking to expand into the US market. I was on the Store Development team, involving Visual Merchandising, Design, and Construction. Together we opened another 15 stores over the next 2 years. This period taught me true adaptability, as we faced problems and had to be ready to pivot.

I learned that researching, testing, and having many iterations of your ideas was always worth the extra energy. 

Over the next few years, I started to focus on one of my specialties – designing systems that were easy to understand and interact with.

I produced the visual guidebooks used by retail employees to execute merchandising actions. I built and managed the Visual Merchandising area on our internal platform.  This area held training manuals, planograms, and even instructional videos! 

When I wasn’t at my desk, I spent time with retail teams to ask how these guidebooks could be better. What did they need as the user? What could work better? 

Without knowing it, I was applying the principles of User Experience to my work. This, along with my relentless curiosity pushed me to begin my UX Designer certificate program.  

  • I felt comfortable conducting research, through interviews and brainstorming sessions. 
  • I had a knack for building the information architecture of the intranet, I was always asking how could we get to the final destination with the least clicks possible? 
  • I increased my visual design skills and got real cozy with Illustrator. 

I learned what I was good at, and where I wanted to go. 

My time at Saje brought immense growth to me both at work and at home. I was part of a growing brand and I could wear many hats.

On a personal level, I started with Saje without knowing much about the “wellness industry”. I left with a profound realization that this industry was not as accessible as it may seem. To be well, one must already be well (or at least have $$ to spend!) Realizing this led me to commit to work for organizations that align with my values and to find work that has a big impact.

Spice Girl Eats – Brand Development and Event Merchandising

2020 to 2021

During the pandemic, my sister lost her job and decided to build her own brand, called Spice Girl Eats. My sister always had a passion for Indian food and wanted to bring our families home cooking to the city of Toronto. 

They needed a website and obviously turned to me, knowing I couldn’t say no! 

This was a fun project for me to work on because it really challenged me. Working with your family has its ups and downs, and staying on top of the website became critical as her food would sell out within minutes of being available. 

We learned that a website with a lot of bells and whistles wouldn’t work here. We needed the site to be fast, easy to use, and have NO obstacles to purchase. People were coming to the website to place their order, and they preferred to find all the other details directly from Instagram. 

At first, I wanted to apply the typical UX pattern to this project and realized that wasn’t going to work. Instead, I focused on building brand guidelines so we could make changes quickly, conducting interviews so we knew where to focus, and testing prototypes so we knew how to improve. 

Brand Guidelines 

Event Setup

In addition to helping with the website, I also used my past experiences in setting up events to help create the booth for Spice Girl Eats during the One Of a Kind Show, in Toronto in 2021.