WorldSkills Special Edition 2022 is in full swing. World champions will be crowned in 62 professions, in competitions around the world. Of all the shopping centers in Sweden, Kista Galleria was chosen as the ideal spot for a world championship in visual merchandising.
“It is great that a part of the world's fourth largest competition is happening in Kista,” says Katja Bolander, Center Manager.
It is 22-year-old Hanna Lind from Åsljunga in Scania who represents Sweden in the Visual Merchandising division. The competition consists of designing your own shop window over four days. The contestant must do everything themselves, from sketches and mood boards to building the display itself, using timber, paint, lighting and other decorations.
“We do everything from scratch and all aspects are assessed – from how we think about safety during construction to how creative our ideas are,” says Hanna when The Kloud editors get 5 minutes with her during a break on the competition’s first day. But according to Hana, the profession itself, visual merchandiser, is about much more than pretty shop windows.
“If someone like me works as a visual merchandiser in a store, the job consists of building environments and exposing goods in a promotional way throughout the store. It is ongoing work where all departments must constantly be kept appealing and well stocked.”
From Shanghai to Kista
The 2022 WorldSkills Competition was supposed to be held in Shanghai but due to the pandemic, the competition has been split up into smaller sub-competitions and held in 15 locations around the world.
“It's awesome that such a big competition is happening in Sweden. By holding the competition publicly in a mall, you also shine a light on the profession, which is needed. Many people are used to shopping online now since the pandemic, so attractive store environments are more important than ever.”
For that very reason, representatives from the Trade Council will be on site in the mall to answer questions about the profession and the training opportunities available.
“For us at the Trade Council, it is of course nice that Sweden was able to organize the competition for the visual merchandiser category. It’s an important profession that enhances customers' visual experiences. It feels even better that the competition is judged in an authentic environment surrounded by shops and commerce in Kista Galleria,” says Mats Johansson, CEO of the Trade Council.
Storefronts that amaze with imagination
When asked what makes Hanna herself step into a store, she answers "storefronts that surprise the imagination".
“Hermès is a brand that often manages to amaze people with its fantastically beautiful and incredibly imaginative window designs. But if I'm going to answer more generally, it has to be tidy and there must be a balance in design and colors to make me want to shop.”
Now Hanna has to hurry behind her assigned window and continue to fight for a medal for another three days. We wish her the best of luck in the competition and invite all Kista residents to come down to the competition area October 14–17 to cheer Hanna on!
What does a visual merchandiser do?
A visual merchandiser (butikskommunikatör in Swedish) creates store environments that must be visually appealing and inspiring to appeal to a customer, and therefore increase sales. In short, you are responsible for the visual appearance of the store. From the shop window to how the products inside the store are displayed.
This is WorldSkills Special Edition
The WorldSkills Competition is the world's fourth largest competition, with more than a thousand competitors. From Sweden there are 17 professionally qualified participants who compete in 15 different professions. The championships are a way to highlight the importance of vocational training and professional skills and to contribute to international collaborations. When the pandemic stopped the competition from going ahead in China, it was decided to hold the competitions in 15 of the 56 participating countries instead. This year's edition of the competition is therefore called WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition.
In the visual merchandising branch, the following countries will compete: Sweden, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, China, India, Latvia, France, Singapore and Hungary. The competition runs from 14–17 October.
...Did you know that the WorldSkills Competition have been organized since 1950 and that Sweden has participated in the international competitions since 1995. We have won 80 medals in world and European championships.