with people that’s at the crux of my
work—is also an important lesson from
psychology. There are more and more
people with anthropological backgrounds
coming into the field, but probably most
people are from psychology.
How do clients use what you learn?
One example: Along with colleagues,
I did work for a major retailer on how
women shop for lingerie to help them
redesign the lingerie department. We
were commissioned by an anthropologist
who worked in the company’s research
division. The company acted like selling
bras was the most difficult thing because
of the multiple size and design possibili-
ties, even though men’s dress shirts have
the same issue.
We talked to women about lingerie
and went shopping with them at the
store in question and at its competitors.
That research led to a whole redesign
of the displays and dressing rooms,
which were made much more soothing,
with nicer furniture and better lighting.
Another thing was coordinating bras and
panties displayed together. Also, even
if people don’t buy them, there’s something alluring about high-end, gown-like
negligees, which could be shown on the
outskirts of the department to be aspira-tional to people.