Skip to main content
European Year of Skills

Meet the Champions of Excellence – Lola Bais’ journey to become a Visual Merchandiser, turning her childhood passion into a full-time profession

Lola Bais embarked on a transformative vocational education journey in the realm of visual merchandising, which ultimately propelled her into her career today – shaping spaces and crafting visual stories as a Visual Merchandiser for Galeries Lafayette, Paris.


Visual merchandising involves creating visually appealing displays to drive commercial success. Lola shapes spaces and tells visual stories, conveying brand narratives through elements like lighting, colour, texture and signage to captivate customers, increase foot traffic, and boost sales. 

Honing talent through internships 

Lola's journey began with a Baccalauréat in Visual Merchandising, inspired by her lifelong creativity. ‘I decided to do a Baccalauréat in Visual Merchandising because ever since I was a little girl, I've been a creative person,’ she says. ‘I've always loved drawing, imagining and creating.’ 

Lola explored various open days after secondary school, falling in love with the course at Lycée des Métiers d'Art Toulouse-Lautrec. Completing her Baccalauréat in 2020, she gained practical experience through internships with retailers like Brico E.Leclerc (home improvement and DIY), Don't Call Me Jennyfer (clothing), Sostrene Grene (homewares), and BOUCHARA (household linens and upholstery). 

Eager to expand her skills, Lola pursued a bachelor's degree in space design and interior architecture from École de Condé, graduating in 2023. Here, she further honed her expertise with an internship at Agence BoÔbo, solidifying her skills for a successful career. 

The power of vocational pathways 

Lola's diverse experiences in various retail sectors highlight the versatility gained through hands-on learning. Reflecting on her journey, she encourages others to embrace vocational pathways without hesitation. ‘You shouldn't be afraid or ashamed to follow a vocational path,’ says Lola. ‘In my experience, that's the best way to learn about our profession and about ourselves – we try different things and see what we like best.’ 

WorldSkills triumphs 

Lola's educational journey culminated in triumph at the WorldSkills competition, where she showcased her mastery of visual merchandising. Winning a silver medal in the regional phase in 2020, gold medals in the national phases in 2021 and 2022, and a remarkable silver medal in the international phase in 2022, Lola's accolades stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence. 

A day in the life 

As a Visual Merchandiser at Galeries Lafayette, Lola's daily routine involves a mix of creative tasks.‘Visual merchandising is a highly diversified profession with many different branches, and no two days are alike,’ she says. From designing captivating displays, to bringing them to life using power tools and paint, Lola's role blends artistic vision with technical expertise, presenting new challenges each day. 

Championing excellence 

Beyond her professional success, Lola is a passionate advocate for vocational education and training.  

‘Being recognised as a Champion of Excellence in Visual Merchandising is a pleasure and an honour, the reward and recognition of a lot of hard work and personal investment,’ she says. ‘I hope that this event will raise awareness of and inspire people to take up my profession, help develop vocational career paths, and inspire young people to take up what they enjoy and take part in the WorldSkills competition.’ 

Learn from Lola to take your skills higher! 

Lola is one of many EuroSkills, WorldSkills and Abylimpics Champions who will be sharing their journeys to success at the upcoming ‘Meet the Champions of Excellence’ event on 23 February 2024. If you are interested, you can watch part of the event online and keep an eye on the webpage

The European Year of Skills helps people get the right skills for quality jobs and supports companies in addressing skill shortages in Europe. Having a workforce with in-demand skills is important for long-term sustainable growth and competitiveness. Interested in finding your path through vocational education and training and work-based learning? Check out our articles on other inspiring Champions of Excellence and learn more about the opportunities available to you!