JABER DABAGIA | VISUAL MERCHANDISER
Hello, I'm Jaber Dabagia. I was born and raised in Michigan City and have lived here my entire life. I’m obsessed with my two cats and have been married for almost 23 years to the man of my dreams. I’ve worked in the luxury retail industry for over 20 years, and my obsession within my career has always been visual creativity. I believe that your personal surroundings have a huge impact on your mental well being. Whether its your personal space at home or in the office or average work space, your surroundings can affect you positively or negatively, including your brand name and image. Visual structure and appeal not only enhance the mental system, but also enhances and affects how others view you and your brand. I love to play around with visual effects & decor and working with others on bringing out their true identity and story.
How long have you been doing visual merchandising, and how did you get into it?
I have always been the kind of person who rearranged my house and added things almost monthly. So, I have always kinda had it in me to always have a fresh look and help others do the same. Around 2004, I was working for a luxury handbag company, and I was assisting in opening a new store. The company’s visual team was not able to make it, so, my boss asked me to help out and merchandise the store. The VP of the company liked what I did and started having me visual merchandise new and pre-existing stores. I also would fly to NY monthly and help the corporate office put together look books for stores to use for inspiration when putting together displays.
What has been your biggest accomplishment working in this industry?
Learning to tap into what I feel is my creative talent and being able to make an impact on how a personal space or a business space can benefit financially and emotionally based on visual representation.
Most difficult thing when doing visual merchandising?
Sometimes, it’s hard to explain to others what I'm doing or trying to do. It's in my head, and I can see it clearly, but explaining it to others can be very difficult.
Favorite local restaurant
I don’t think I can ever get enough of Hokkaido in Michigan City’s Uptown Arts District.
Favorite local shop
Any place that that has a selection that gives me the ability to swap and change looks when I am feeling it.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I get my personal inspiration from actually having a starting point. I think of an idea, and it basically evolves through touch, feel, smell and seeing anything that resembles what I'm trying to accomplish. It can be very time consuming mentally. This process can sometimes take days, weeks or a month for an actual execution depending on the story I'm trying to show and tell.
Most valuable thing you've learned in this industry?
Accept that your idea and vision can, and will, change, and, you’ve got to let it go through that process. The initial idea is just a starting point and not always what the end result will be, and, that is okay!
Gilmore Girls and any horror movie.
I can do the choreography to every Madonna video.