12 March 2024Written by Annthoni Motti

A Day in the Life of a Visual Merchandiser with Lisa Mathieson

We are excited to showcase the inspiring journey of one of our graduates, Lisa Mathieson. Lisa’s story exemplifies the transformative power of pursuing creative passions and the opportunities that can arise from following one's ambitions in the design space.

You can watch the full webinar discussion which also features Michelle Oliver and Educator Gabrielle Rosenfeld here as they share their career paths and industry insights with the ISCD community.

Lisa Mathieson Embracing Creativity

Lisa’s journey into interior design and visual merchandising began after a successful career in the education and mental health sector spanning over 15 years. Despite her accomplishments, she felt a yearning for a more creative path. This led her to explore various creative pursuits, including starting a fashion label, creating abstract art, studying event management, and working as a freelance event planner and stylist. Emphasising the importance of self-belief and dedication in pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.

In 2021, Lisa decided to nurture her creativity further by enrolling in the International School of Colour and Design (ISCD). Completing her studies mid-last year, she landed a role in buying and visual merchandising with a high-end retailer Jefferies Provedore in Melbourne’s outer East. This part-time role allows her to continue growing her freelance design work while pursuing her passion for visual merchandising.

ISCD: Nurturing Creativity and Providing Opportunities

At ISCD, we are dedicated to providing quality learning and unique experiences that empower our students to realise their creative potential. Our courses, including the Diploma of Interior Design and Certificate IV in Interior Decoration, are designed to be flexible and accessible, allowing students to start anytime and learn at their own pace. Reflecting on her time at ISCD, Lisa’s gratitude for the knowledgeable and supportive educators who provided practical experiences through industry tours and trade shows is immense.

Lisa’s Challenges and Accomplishments

Lisa’s journey into the interior design industry is marked by a blend of challenges and triumphs, reflecting the dynamic nature of her role. One of her primary challenges lies in managing profits and margins, a critical aspect of retail. She navigates the complexities of store performance, analysing sales data to identify trends and areas for improvement. This demands a keen eye for detail and a strategic mindset, ensuring that the store meets its financial targets.

Another test Lisa faces is staying abreast of ever-changing trends. The interior design industry is known for its rapid evolution, requiring professionals like Lisa to constantly innovate and adapt. She must anticipate shifts in consumer preferences and respond with timely updates to the store’s product offerings. This involves careful market research and a deep understanding of design aesthetics, enabling her to curate a compelling and relevant selection of products. Lengthy wait times for certain products can disrupt the store’s operations and impact customer satisfaction, working closely with suppliers to ensure timely delivery of goods is a sure-fire way to proactively manage lead times. This requires strong communication skills and the ability to negotiate effectively to mitigate delays. 


Lisa’s journey is punctuated by numerous highlights that underscore the rewarding nature of her role. One such milestone is her pivotal involvement in the opening of a new store, a testament to her expertise in buying and visual merchandising. This experience not only allows her to showcase her talents but also signifies her integral role in the growth and expansion of the business. Furthermore, Lisa has adeptly leveraged her current role to build her own brand and business, demonstrating her entrepreneurial spirit and foresight. By networking with industry professionals and suppliers, she has expanded her reach and created opportunities for herself beyond her current position.

Central to Lisa’s success is her emphasis on defining boundaries and maintaining a balance between her work and personal goals. This commitment not only ensures her professional growth but also nurtures her personal aspirations, such as her ambition to become a freelance interior designer. By prioritising her wellbeing and staying true to her vision, Lisa sets a compelling example for aspiring professionals in the industry. 


Lisa’s journey in the interior design industry is characterised by resilience, creativity, and a passion for design. She embraces challenges as opportunities for growth, leveraging her skills and experience to navigate the complexities of her role. Her story is a testament to the rewarding nature of a career in interior design, where dedication and perseverance can lead to fulfilling professional success.

Through partnerships with industry leaders and access to cutting-edge software, ISCD students gain valuable skills and insights that prepare them for successful careers in the design industry. Our graduates, like Lisa and Michelle, are a testament to the transformative impact of pursuing creative passions and the opportunities that await those who dare to dream. Whether you’re looking to start a new career or simply explore your creative side, ISCD is here to support you on your journey. Embrace your creativity, follow your dreams, and see where they take you.

ISCD has a 40-year proven track record of producing leading Australian interior designers. We know design intimately, from colour theory, to furniture selection to the latest industry trends.

Are you interested in studying interior design or decoration? Do you want to know more about our online courses and where a career in interior design could take you? Connect with us today to learn more about our Diploma of Interior Design, the Certificate IV in Interior Decoration or any of our industry-focused microcredentials.

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