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Suzanne Hancock uses props, signage and music to tell the Lucky Brand story to the denim retailer’s customers all over the country. She lives in Sacramento but spends most of her days on the road.
What does she do exactly?
Hancock is Lucky Brand’s director of visual merchandising for “the field”—the field being about 280 retail and outlet stores in the United States and Canada. She’s in charge of how the stores look and feel, from the display window out front to the wall of denim in back. “Basically, we present the store to the cust-omer—everything from windows to music to where the product is placed and what order it’s placed in.”
Up in the air
She travels from Monday through Friday for her job. “I spend more time in LA than Sacramento,” says Hancock, who goes through two suitcases a year. “I don’t really mind. I consider flying like a really extended metal detector.”
Props to her
One of her jobs is creating “prop packages” for the stores. A prop can be something as simple as a bolt of fabric for a window backdrop or as elaborate as a fully functional Triumph motorcycle for a 2014 collaboration with the British company. Only 29 stores got motorcycles—and they weren’t very happy about it, says Hancock. “Kids loved to climb on them.”
Turn it up
Rock ’n’ roll is part of Lucky Brand’s core identity, so music is key. The stores play a Hancock-approved blend of vintage folk, classic rock and current hits. “I always tell the stores to keep it kind of loud,” Hancock says. “If you’re talking on your cellphone, you might want the music turned down. It’s not just buzzy in the background.”
Why is visual merchandising important?
“Everybody’s selling T-shirts and jeans,” Hancock says. “Visual merchandising helps the customer understand the individuality of the product. It’s all about trying to entice the customer—not just to buy right now, but to become a long-term customer.”
What she wears
Hancock lives in denim. “It’s a good uniform,” she says. “It’s so American, and it works in so many situations.” She loves her Lucky Legend selvedge jeans and Lucky Brand cream linen crocheted shawl with fringe from a few seasons ago. “It has a great drape, and I can wear it belted over a shirt.”
Her top shopping tip
“Have the sales associate help you. They are the experts at what works.”