Anuraag S is a Creativist, a visual merchandiser and founder of Pencilbox Design consultancy, who has worked with the biggest names in Indian retail business, which includes, but is not limited to, Shoppers Stop Ltd., Landmark Group (Dubai), Future Group and Aditya Birla Group. He has more than 27 years of experience in the domain.
Visual merchandising is a combination of science, art and business acumen that uses façade, window displays, floor plans, colour, lighting, styling, technology, and other elements to attract customer attention and give them a multi-sensory brand experience. Its ultimate purpose is to increase walk-ins and drive higher sales transactions.
Anuraag S started his career as a Cartoonist making animations and illustrations that made people laugh and have smiles on their faces; giving his first sign of versatility, he also served at the premium full-service airline Jet Airways in his initial days.
On the corporate front he started in 1999 when his stint with the D2C (Direct to consumer) retailer started at Shoppers Stop Ltd. This provided him insights and experiences that would set him up to achieve even greater heights later in his illustrious career. Shifting into high gear then, Anuraag S created the first Visual Merchandising manual in 1999. In 2009 McGraw Hill Education asked his pioneering expertise on the field to pen a book so that people around him or away from him could understand the craft of Visual Merchandising.
By 2016, Anuraag had already penned his second book -ABCDVM, published by VJ Media Works, which is considered to be the most user-friendly book, or you may say Tip-Kit, for retailers to apply day-to-day Visual Merchandising practices. He established himself as an authority on this niche subject. His innovations to the world of VM includes-Window display in a matchbox (smallest in the world), conceptualized breathing & talking mannequins and initiated how to map the VM impact on the sales. Also, he developed a unique and interesting 1st ever VM Tool-kit for Area and Cluster VM’s in early 2013.
All this creativity led to his quest to share knowledge that has not stopped even now. His third book is under process of being published. The focus of the book is educating the industry about various display Materials, their applications, their effectiveness, and right usage to drive better customer experience.
Pushing the limits
This journey of being better than before has made him the best there is in the market of Visual Merchandising (VM). Picking a niche domain, finding the right information, and learning it, that is a tale that has been seen time and again. What changes in this story is the fact that Anuraag S took the backing of innovation to spread his knowledge, make his presence known and finally let more people join this world of VM. He also has a newsletter with 64 editions under the name of THINKtank which gained significant traction among its viewers. And his numbers are no joke, 85+ Articles published about VM focused on the innovation on the fields while garnering national and international reach of his success. His articles can be read on Retail Design International-New York. One of the most prestigious published works in the field of Visual Merchandising is the VMRD magazine (Visual Merchandising & Retail Design) Anuraag S has 40+ articles published in the magazine, a feather that makes his hat no less than a crown. Lastly, his endeavours with newsletters have been nothing short of spectacular. He introduced 2 issues of Visual Merchandising 3D Newsletter with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. published in 2016.
It is needless to say that he has won countless awards at various conventions and award shows such as the Windows and Façade design at In-Store Asia Conventions over the years. The convention is considered the Venice Film Festival for Visual Merchandising.
To top off his list of achievements Anuraag S has done VM assessment and audits for brands like Harley Davidson, Levi’s, and many more from Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Limited. In total his list is up to 1000+ stores. As mentioned before, he loves spreading knowledge, thus he keeps taking sessions at IIM (Indian Institute of Management), NID (National Institute of Design), NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology), Pearl Academy, PSG College of Technology, Symbiosis, JECRC University and many more such educational institutes. Apart from this, he has been also conducting a unique and hand-on workshop on developing a creative mindset, which he has developed over his 27 years of experience. Presently he has launched a ‘Musical Design Leadership Session’ inspired by timeless music director RD Burman (popularly known as Pancham), in collaboration with Kiwings Learning Solutions, which has been reviewed as being highly Inspirational and one of its kind, with the best Retail design case-study examples in the market.