Dream Job

Luke Mortimer · Creative Manager, MIMCO

This morning we chat with Luke Mortimer who is the Creative Manager at MIMCO, and who will  probably have responded to all his work emails before you read this (yep, even on a public holiday!).

Visionary and dedicated, Luke exudes a disarming keep-it-real attitude, an inclusive management style, and an inspiring approach to the evolving retail marketplace.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make a truly rewarding career in retail, fashion or visual merchandising, Luke has the answers!

Elle Murrell

Working with Chantelle Ellis, Styling Manager for MIMCO. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

MIMCO’s Richmond HQ, which is part of the Country Road Group offices. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Bags for days; scenes of dreams. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Luke in his element moodboarding. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

In Luke’s opinion, nothing compares to a great retail experience – that’s where his expertise come in too. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Inside MIMCO’s Chadstone store, which owes part of it’s amazing look to Luke. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

For as long as he can remember, Luke has wanted to work in ‘far-shon’. Tick! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
14th of April 2017

Luke Mortimer is a Creative Manager at MIMCO. He started working at the Richmond-headquartered bags, jewellery and footwear behemoth in 2013. If you’ve ever wanted to move onwards and upwards from uninspiring internships, or discover a way to actually enjoy being buried by emails, you’ll love what Luke has to say.

We recently caught up with the 34-year-old to bond over not being a morning person and glitter:

The most important verb in the get-your-dream-job lexicon is…

… Werk. Werk, werk, werk, werk…

I landed this job by….

… a whole-lotta hard work and dedication.

I graduated from RMIT with a Diploma of Visual Merchandising in 2003. During this time I did some internships, but mostly ones that were relatively uninspiring. I started off my visual merchandising (VM) career straight out of university at the Gap in the UK (I lived in Oxford for two years).

When I returned to Australia in 2005, I landed a job at Country Road on the windows team, and from there moved into various roles before taking on a role at Trenery as a VM coordinator. After that I moved back to Country Road as men’s and homewares VM coordinator, which was about two years before I moved across to MIMCO. I spent three years as the VM manager at MIMCO, really shaping the team and the structure of the department (it has grown from just myself and Marie in the head office VM department, to include another five very talented ladies).

I started in my new role as Creative Manager in June last year, just before I took my long-service leave and ventured around the world for two months… it’s been a pretty crazy 10 months, but I’ve had the most amazing time.

I think that any dream job won’t just drop into your lap. I am a really inquisitive person and I spend a lot of time trying to understand how things work because I like efficiency (sometimes a little too much). I think this has put me in good stead for my current role because I have so many different touch points across MIMCO.

A typical day for me involves

If I am in Melbourne and headed to the office, the day starts off relatively early, I am up, dressed (from a pre-prepared wardrobe) and straight into the office to be at my desk by 7:30. I love the quiet that being in the office early brings. I’m NOT a morning person, hence why I organise clothes on Sunday – otherwise there would be some strange(er) than usual combos happening!

I usually have breakfast at work while I am going through my emails and to-do list; I like to get organised for the day. Sifting and filing emails is my greatest morning pleasure, I used to really hate it but now I play a little game to get the total in my inbox down to under 10… I don’t always win, but when I do its super satisfying!

Next everyone starts to trickle into the office and the day kicks off. A lot of my day is meetings with my direct teams and the wider MIMCO team on upcoming projects, its all about good forward planning and staying ahead of the game.

From VM setups to window mocks-ups to campaign styling sessions to store design sessions and a little bit of mood-boarding in-between to keep it fresh, my days are really so varied. I think this is what keeps my short attention span at bay (I have a one-and-a-half hour maximum meeting rule because after that I’m useless).

The highlight of my work day is

This is going to sound corny but in all reality it’s true: working with the MIMCO crew. MIMCO is such a collaborative, empowering environment in which to work and the teams here are so engaged; this really inspires me.

The most rewarding part of my job is…

… seeing a project through from start to finish. I often find myself working on multiple projects across several different departments so it’s extremely rewarding to see the final result and one creative message translating across all these touch points.

On the other hand, the most challenging aspect is…

… turning ‘the creative’ on at the drop of a hat. I joke sometimes that creativity has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon between 3:30pm and 5:00pm.

The culture of my workplace is

I’m a firm believer that empowerment, trust and collaboration breed the best work place dynamics. When I came across to MIMCO four years ago I really noticed how rewarding it is to be working with a small team of people, where everyone has a voice.

The best ideas don’t just come from one person, working as a team generates some amazing outcomes.

As a manager, I have learned quickly that stepping back to let those that you work with shine, not only gets the best results, it makes for a really fantastic bunch.

I’m always saying…

I think the general consensus around the office would be that I have a very dry sense of humor. This often gets me in trouble, but lightens the mood and reminds people ‘no one is going to die’.

My idea of the perfect work space is

I love a clean workspace; I can’t start unless everything is neat, tidy and away… then the mess explodes once the creativity begins.

On Job Day at school, I dressed up as

I always wanted to be in ‘far-shon’, something creative and something fabulous… guess I nailed that!

The best piece of advice

‘No one is going to die… we just sell frocks and mugs!’

This harks back to my days at CR, and it still resonates with me today; the retail game can be quite high pressure at times and there are a lot of über passionate people. Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a step back, a deep breath, and realise we aren’t saving lives, we do just sell handbags and shoes!

Over the years, work in my field has

…shifted into online. What this means for retailers is that what we are delivering has to continue to engage our customers. What is the reason to shop in-store? When you break it all down, it’s about the experience. I for one love a good online shop, but nothing compares to a great retail experience in a bricks-and-mortar store. I think that consumers are more aware of this now, and have higher expectations.

The example that I use is Hermes: you don’t go online and order yourself an Hermes bangle, you trek down to the store to have a good experience. It makes you feel good, then you get to parade your little (or large depending on your budget) orange bag around while you have lunch.

Let’s face it, we are in a consumer-driven market and people want something more for their money these days.

In the next five years I’d like to

I love what I am doing right now and really see myself taking an nose-dive right into it. Where I think that may take me in the future is probably somewhere around consulting and creative concept building for other businesses, but right now I’m happy in the glittery world that is MIMCO.

Luke Mortimer, Creative Manager at MIMCO. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

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