Last year saw Missguided's foray into bricks and mortar, opening its first store at Westfield Stratford followed by Bluewater in Kent this year. Here we chat with Treasure Evans, retail visual manager at Missguided, who was awarded Most Innovative Person in VM at the VM & Display Awards last month.
RF. What's your career background and how did you get into visual merchandising?
TE. I’ve been really lucky and privileged in my career, working for some incredible brands, starting in high-end fashion at Vivienne Westwood/Hervia Bazaar, to premium fashion with Diesel and moving into high street with River Island. Each one so different but an amazing experience with every brand. I’ve been very lucky to work under some incredible management who have pushed me and challenged me.
I got into VM really young; not your typical university degree girl. I left school at 16 and knew I just wanted to be in a creative environment. I applied for an internship with a high-end designer and hounded (literally) the woman until she gave me an interview. I had no experience, and no reference. I was really fortunate she really warmed to me and saw some potential in me. She gave me the role and I became her shadow. It was amazing, I loved every second of it. Long days, long hours, but with fantastic people doing amazing things. Then I moved through a few roles with the above brands, always in visual, creative and styling, and just worked my ass off working my way up. VM is my passion.
RF. What drew you to Missguided?
TE. Everything. It’s funny because I had actually written to their HR department before Missguided announced they were doing retail and told them how much I loved their brand and wanted to work there, but I understood that there was nothing that suited my role. And then when I read they were doing standalone retail, as you can imagine… HEAVEN.
I knew that that was where I was supposed to be, and what I would be able to do in real life with a brand with so much online presence and digital personality in a bricks and mortar experience. Missguided as a brand is inspiring to me, she has so much personality, and that drew me in. The retail side of the business was just developing, and to be part of something from the very beginning and be part of the retail visual and creative ‘face’ was just incredible.
RF. Tell us about your role as retail visual manager at Missguided.
TE. I am mainly responsible for bringing Missguided’s personality to life through all in-store visual and creative; from concept to design to execution. To bring a new way of thinking to the high street and retail environment, and immerse our customers in our brand lifestyle through the store journey.
I am responsible for everything you would expect a retail visual & creative manager to be responsible for; statement visual concepts, iconic pink monster trucks, Missguided vending machines, real life mermaids and 5m disco ball babe riding bananas... To the more normal aesthetics; mannequin design, wig briefs, fixture base layouts, product layouts, customer journey, in-store experience, #IRL traction and making sure we bring and keep Missguided alive. Missguded takes everything to the next level, and that’s my job – to take everyday retail, and Missguid-ify it.
RF. 4. What challenges do you face in this position?
The normal things everyone is challenged by in retail… isn’t that why we love it though? It's why we are all (even though we would hate to admit it) addicted to retail. The pace, the adrenaline, the competition; if it was easy I don’t think any of us would bother… would we? Don’t we live for the challenges?
RF. Can you run through some of the features at the Westfield Stratford and Bluewater stores?
TE. We opened with what has become an iconic piece of Missguided retail history now – the pink pimped up monster truck. She (we call her Gladys) was a symbol of Missguided arriving onto the high street. To say we have landed and really set our stance as a brand; fun, bold, slightly fearless and unapologetically true to herself. She made waves on social media and encouraged so much positive attention. She was the perfect way to open the store.
The idea behind the visual and creative strategy is to provide the customer with a fun and interactive experience with touch points through the journey of Instagram-able moments; mannequins riding flamingos, and life-like mannequins; showcasing all our different customer types; promoting not to be afraid to be ‘themselves’ – from our dancing girls to our insta-famous middle finger mannequins, to our uniKWEENs as we call them (half unicorn, half woman). We have multiple vending machines that are incredibly popular and we sell Missguided branded drinks; pink, green and iridescent holographic cans of mermaid tears, girl power and unicorn dreams.
We opened Bluewater with something a little different. It was our second store, people were probably expecting something pink, petrol heady, typically Missguided, so we thought we would throw them a new direction with our five-metre, babe-riding bright yellow banana. It was to set the tone to expect the unexpected. And again the public and press reaction was amazing. There are so many features in the stores, but the taste level is always right. Its balancing the bigger visuals with the smaller more sublet things.
RF. What are you working on at the moment?
T.E. Some really incredible projects actually. Missguided as a brand is always growing, evolving, showing different sides of her personality. Which really opens up so many idea’s and avenues for us to explore. MG really empowers people, not just women, but everyone. To be who they are and be confident to express that so we are taking some bolder steps visually. Spreading our good vibes to the masses.
RF. What inspires you in your work?
TE. Honestly, everything. My heart is in my job 100 per cent, so even when I’m not meaning to I’m always writing things down, searching, scrolling, saving, pinning – I’m obsessed. When you love what you do though, it’s hard to not. But genuinely everywhere, inspiration IS everywhere.
I have a very active mind – that urge to create and inspire others drives me. To do things that are original and no one else has done or is doing. To get a reaction to something you have done and then better it the next time. I’m inspired by Missguided, by founder Nitin Passi, he really is a total visionary and his work ethic and mind-set is incredible, and his views and beliefs for the brand really inspire me.
Also, the people in HQ. Missguided has such incredible talent within it, the smallest conversations with people of the same mind-set, working towards the same goal, all vibing and feeding off each other – the office environment is honestly gold... Missguided encourages that everyone has a voice, and that’s amazing, because most of those voices have some next level ideas! Everywhere, everything. Absorb it all; listen to people; watch people; talk to people and surround yourself with people who have passion like you do, and you will be inspired. DAILY.
RF. What makes Missguided stand out from the crowd?
Her fearless nature. Her natural instinct to not follow the ‘crowd’ and to do her own thing and not compromise on her values. Every single thing makes her stand out from the crowd - She is the original and always will be. Missguided is a more than a brand; She is a lifestyle, She is a bit of everyone and she stands for something. For good vibes, empowerment, to have fun, self-belief and achieving the impossible, and doing thing’s your own way. That makes her different.
RF. Are there any designers or artists you would like to collaborate with and why?
Yes – tons. Really keen to discover new talent, artists especially. I would love people to contact me who think they have something to offer, ideas or just anything. I’ve been lucky enough to work with such incredible people already, and they are all responsible for making Missguided’s thoughts and visions into reality. And I love that side of my job – meeting and working with such incredible people. Building relationships and friendships in some cases and going through this journey, constantly learning.