At just 21, Monique Garget-Bennett is making her way in the fashion industry and gaining experience in sales, styling and visual merchandising through Indooroopilly’s Mura boutique.
The former model Monique (pictured left) is a multi-tasker in her role as visual merchandiser, sales assistant and stylist and here she shares her tips on making it in the industry.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I studied art, photography and film at school and was always interested in fashion. I am lucky that anything artistic comes naturally to me. I was also a model so that has opened up doors to the industry.
How did you become a stylist for Mura Boutique?
I literally walked into it. Two years ago I was working in an ice cream shop and visited a Mura Boutique. While I was there the owner Asoka asked me if I modelled and we chatted for a while, before she offered me an opportunity to work as a sales assistant and model for Mura.
I later became more creative moving colours and merchandise around the store, and she noticed. I was given the opportunity to assist with styling and now I’m in charge of visual merchandising for all three Mura Boutiques
What do you do in your day?
I style the merchandise and mannequins in our stores, photo shoots and spend time researching trends and beautiful accessories. I also manage a lot of the creative photos and styling tips for girls, which we share through social media.
I get to go on the buying trips, which is exciting, but I also still work in the stores to keep an eye on what customers like and how to make things better. I like being involved at a ground level for perspective and that also keeps me very busy.
What’s exciting at the moment?
Lately we’ve been trying to bring more independent labels into the store and widen the range for Mura Boutique customers. We have pretty party dresses, street style and grungy looks to suit all types of girls’ tastes.
At the moment we’re bringing the pastels and classic whites into store. With the street trends we’re bringing in mesh panelling, mesh dresses and a lot of crop tops and shorts in different prints such as floral, watermarks, Aztec and nautical.
We are also developing the Mura Boutique label in-house, which is really exciting. I’ve started designing some things myself like little skirts, denim shorts with patterns and simple tops. That’s a space I really see myself being more involved in.
How do you come up with great ideas?
My favourite part of the job is searching for new trends in all areas – shoes, accessories, nail polishes, make up, lipstick colours.
At the moment I am inspired by high fashion bloggers like tuulavintage, garypeppervintage, howtwolive, and givemethatthing and I also do a lot of research on Instagram, Tumbler and Pinterest. I love finding underground bloggers. If I find a style I’m into, I really dig deep.
I’m always looking for things that are really unique that I can bring into Mura Boutique and our photo shoots, something that no one’s really used or seen before.
How do you pick the pieces for photo shoots?
It’s more about how we feel about the pieces. If we feel the girls will wear it then we’ll shoot it. If we really love the items, then we’ll shoot it. We have different stock for stores and online, and we use different styles for each.
In technical terms, we do a range of product photos that need to be shot in different locations that won’t overwhelm the clothes.
Where is your favourite set for fashion shoots?
We shoot primarily with rich brick and industrial backgrounds that suit our bright summer shots. My favourite site at the moment is the Powerhouse in Brisbane. It offers a great atmosphere and also shows the customer where they can enjoy the outfits in everyday settings.
Do you have any help with the photo shoots?
It’s all us! Asako is the photographer and I help her style the images. Asako uses her own camera and sources the location, takes the photo and edits them herself. Our shoots are very natural and easy to set up. We use basic clothing racks and heaps of natural light. We keep it simple and easy to move around depending on the product.
Do you have any tips for working in the industry?
With merchandising, you really have to have a creative mind and always be thinking about images, prints and how to combine them. You have to put the hard work in and show your talent.
It also helps to know your style and leading trends, and be able to bring it all together to create a story, like art. I think that’s the hardest thing, you need to bring it all together to sell it. It’s the ‘art’ of marketing.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I really want to work my way up with Mura Boutique as it grows. I’m looking forward to seeing where Mura Boutique will go. I envisage meeting many new people and seeing the new cities in its future.
I feel really blessed that I got this job from pure passion. I love that I jump up in the morning to go to work.