Linda has worked with Laura Canada for over 20 years, continuing to wow us with her ability to translate our clothing collections into functional art. Growing from humble beginnings as a store manager to arranging the floor plan for all Laura Canada stores, Linda really has quite the story to tell.
What does a visual merchandiser do?
It’s not easy to describe my role in three lines! I ensure the way that Laura merchandise is arranged in-store and in window displays reflects Laura accurately as a brand. I take directions from the visual department on how to best lay out the collections so they’re easily navigated and the clothes appear at their best! We work closely with the visual department (designers, managers & production) in order to create a strong message that communicates the season’s style. All this is always done with the purpose of attracting and retaining clients!
You have been at Laura for more than 20 years! Congratulations! In which position did you start?
I started as a store manager in Quebec. Back then the visual department was very small. In Quebec City a small group from Montreal would come to re-arrange the store windows occasionally and each manager was responsible for their own marketing activities without any distinct direction. We’ve come a long way!
How did you manage to climb the career ladder?
I put it down to my attitude! Opportunities were presented to me because of my visual talent, open spirit, desire to continuously learn and flexibility. When Laura went through a big expansion in 1988 I was proposed the role of merchandiser…and the rest is history. My flexibility and enthusiasm allowed me to travel and open different stores in Quebec, which then extended to Calgary, New Brunswick – and now I’m working at the head office! While 23 years may seem long at Laura, the fact I’ve changed components of my role every five years has kept it fresh and exciting!
What has been your biggest challenge?
I’ve spent six years in my current roll as store-planner but without doubt, the change from in-store visual merchandiser to head office was a big learning curve. I.T was never one of my strengths and to learn EVERYTHING that concerned working on a computer was a big challenge in itself. I thank everybody who trusted in me at the time!
What is your proudest career moment?
There have been many beautiful store openings in my 23 years here. But the moments I’ve been the proudest of have been those where I could see the success of the people I’d trained and coached through their career. To watch somebodies progress as they make the right decisions and become confident in themselves is simply amazing.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career here?
Introduce the Laura values into everything you do! Engage, integrity, respect, teamwork, great communication skills to help develop a good partnership with your team. Finally, flexibility, attention to detail good personal presentation and the most important of all – passion in your work…
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
New challenges! With many renovations of old stores and completely new stores in the works, I will be working closely with the team to establish and coordinate the activities of my department and the construction department.
1. Who is your go to person for advice at Laura?
Hard to say. Many people have given me great advice during my time at Laura. I’ve had the chance to work with multiple inspiring directors and I never hesitate to talk to new comers to gain new insights!
2. What is your favourite colour?
Purple – in all shades.
3. What is your favourite Montreal spot?
Having lived the majority of my life in Quebec City, it’s difficult for me to fall in love with Montreal. Though being a football fan I would say that the Percival Molson Memorial Stadium and Mont Royal are my favorite places.
4. Your favourite clothing item from Laura?
The comfortable sweaters or cardigans from Laura work for me!
5. Who is your style icon/biggest inspiration?
Véronique Cloutier, Jennifer Aniston, Ashley Graham, … or any icon that breathes health, authenticity and joy into everyday lives!
6. Where are you going on your next vacation?
Next March I’m going to Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba! We love the welcoming personality of the Cubans – we try to go once a year!