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This is how early John Lewis start preparing their Christmas displays

Posted by
Hannah Keegan
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Meet the woman responsible for the most festive window on the high street.

Lucy Lines, 48, is the design manager behind the Christmas displays at John Lewis & Partners. She lives in London with her
husband, Julian, and cat, Puff.

My alarm goes off…
At 5.30am, which my husband is always quite annoyed about, but
I need that time to wake up in the morning. The first thing I do is
 feed my cat Puff, she’s incredibly spoiled. I don’t have the TV or radio on, I just try to enjoy the quiet. Then I make some cereal and a cup of tea and get dressed. I’m usually in something casual, like a skirt and jumper. I leave to get the train to work at about 7am.

I’m responsible for… 

The design of John Lewis & Partners’ windows and seasonal schemes. I manage a team of designers who create concepts for every campaign we run; Christmas is the biggest one that we spend the majority of our time on.

I got the job…
By starting out on the shop floor while I was at art college. I noticed there was an advert for a visual merchandising junior, so I applied and I got it. I’m lucky in the sense that I fell into what I really love and learnt on the job. I began working on the windows and eventually moved to head office to work on store openings. I’ve been in my current position for 15 years. 

Christmas comes in June for her design team

My typical day… 
Begins with looking over
 emails and the day’s headlines on the train. I like to feel caught up by the time I’ve reached the office.
I usually start the day with a team meeting – I manage four designers and work with two on production. They tell me where they’re at with projects and I’ll assess how we can support each other. Then it’s more meetings; these depend on where we are in the production process.

We begin working on the Christmas windows in June when we’re given the Christmas advert’s script. From this, we come up with concepts that align with the advert. This year, we have a piano that spans the length of the windows to reference Elton John’s piano in the ad. Once we have our concept, it goes through the stakeholders and bosses before we commission a display company to bring it to life. Besides Christmas, I work on about four other campaigns a year.

I stop for lunch around 1pm, which is usually a salad eaten at my desk. I try to pop out to get 
a sense of what our windows are like compared to other stores.
In the afternoon, I might take
the team to meet suppliers or we might visit a mock-up of a window display in a studio. It is really exciting to see your vision come together. I leave at 5pm most days.

My most memorable moment…
Was when we won Best Christmas Windows in a Multiple Department Store at the Visual Merchandising & Display Awards twice [2016 and 2017]. We keep the awards in the office as a motivator. 

Winning awards is the cherry on top of the cake 

The worst part of my job…
Is being out of season all the time. All summer, I’m covered in glitter from decorations. When Christmas arrives, it’s like, ‘Finally!’

The best part of my job…
Is working with such highly-motivated people.

After work…
I dissect the day with my husband and cook dinner. I love cooking but I keep it simple – a crab linguine or fish pie. I wind down by watching TV. Right now, I’m enjoying Making A Murderer on Netflix. I don’t look at any screens after 9pm. I try to meditate, but it’s often tough to squeeze it in. I’m asleep by 10pm. 

Images: Paul Grover

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Hannah Keegan

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