I have always been in awe of Taylor’s job as a Visual Merchandiser and now as a Display Coordinator. She started this career working for iQ Living here in Toronto, where I first noticed her natural talent for creating some of the most interesting and exciting window displays I have ever seen. She now currently works for Anthropologie and they are so lucky to have her as part of their team. I asked Taylor if she would be so kind as to let us interview her and have her share some of her window displays and things she has created with her two magical hands. So without further ado…Taylor Zorzi
How did you get into your line of work? What did you study in University?
I took a completely absurd and unrealistic four-year program at Ryerson University. OK, let me preface that by saying, this was, upon graduation, my dream program. The program, New Media, is a multi platform fusion of sculpture, robotic arts, physical computing, programming and performance art. We spoke a lot about user interface and interactivity, social networking and environments. We wrote a lot of code in a lot of different languages and used that code to manipulate, transform and communicate to make move or interact a medium of our choice, mine predominately being sculpture. Anyways, the potential for a realistic, successful career out of this program seemed so….impossible. So I tried to cover my bases and started working alongside some super talented people in our sister program at Ryerson, Film. Here I honed set dressing, art direction, production design and prop making. So in short, I graduated with credits in new media and experience in film. Then after working in retail for a bit after school to help pay off some of my student debt, I used my portfolio to get myself a job as a merchandiser at a store on the Danforth (a street in Toronto), who happened to have the largest Window I had ever seen, and I just thought I could treat it like a film set. I was naive to think it would be that easy.
Did you always know this was the job for you?
Never. I really had no retail experience prior to iQliving and I had zero merchandising experience, and to be honest I didn’t like retail. It was so far segregated from Fine Arts that I truly believed a career as a merchandiser would never be rewarding enough for me, and it really wasn’t. I adored window dressing at iQ but I dreaded merchandising inside, I just had no passion for it. For a long time I thought of it as the work part and it was sort of the sacrifice I had to make to be able to continue to carry out my windows. So as I started to fall into my career as a Visual Merchandiser, obviously I heard more and more about Anthropologie and the job that they offered of Display Coordinator.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Having my own workshop is incredible. There is sort of an entrepreneurial vibe to Anthropologie, we have a lot of control over our own stores, which constitutes to the amount of passion people have for their positions. There is an incredible sense of entitlement in regards to artistic decisions I make at work and this is very rewarding. The other amazing thing about Anthro is I am a jack-of-all-trades. This can be at times the greatest challenge to the position but it is also why there is no other retail environment like Anthro. Every project I am divulging into a completely new and at most times foreign medium. This holiday we made animals completely out of different types of paper, and for our sweet shop I had to make cupcakes and pies out of cardboard. Last week I perfected the sewing machine and next week I will be working with casting in cement. It never slows down and you would be crazy to complain of boredom, ever.
How does working for Anthropologie differ from iQ Living?
In everyway possible. At iQ I was a Visual Merchandiser completely absorbed into the world of retail. At Anthro, I am a Display Coordinator alongside people in the retail environment, basically an in house artist.
Do you decorate your own apartment as creatively as you do windows?
I have the best intentions and the worst follow through. Both my fiance and I have crazy schedules so our home serves as a hub for comfort and recovery with a few good looking moments here and there.
Are there other creative things you like to do outside of work, or does your job satisfy your creative needs?
Absolutely I want to do other projects. Its weird, as creative as I get to be at work, it will always be work. That’s also the only way I can look at it as so I can separate myself from it everyday after 5. You can get so attached to this work that it can engulf you and there is no line between work and play…because work sort of is play. I’d like to do a project on the side…. that is just personal…. no goals, no expectations…. if I don’t like it I don’t have to commit, it would feel nice to not have to take my art so seriously.
Are there other careers you think you’d like to get into in the future?
My ultimate goal, after Anthro, which is no time soon, is to get into retail design; setting up floor plans, building fixtures, setting the aura for a store based on the actual architecture and navigation of the space itself. I am always itching to be in other spaces. My true passion has nothing to do with the object itself in art, but the way objects live and breathe in a space and I want to examine that in as many different stores and windows as possible. Ambitious, I know.
Any advice for aspiring people?
Try to find and meet people who feel the same way that you do about art and life and where they meet. Ask them as many questions about their successes and failures and make a plan for yourself based on those.
Keep an eye our for this girl, I know she’ll be doing great things in the years to come. And thank you to Taylor for sharing part of your life and insight with us.
Posted by Alex