Which buying job is right for you?

When you want to buy a new piece of clothing the first place you would probably go is straight to your nearest boutique, department store, or your favourite fashion website. However, did you ever wonder how the items that you are buying made it to the store in the first place, or how they were chosen?

Enter the fashion Buyer, who is responsible for deciphering current fashion trends and ensuring that retail stores and their eommerce sites present the ‘right’ products to their consumers. The beginning of your buying career is likely to involve both administrative as well as creative tasks; it is the perfect job for somebody who is looking to take their next career step in the retail or fashion sectors.

However, it’s not quite as simple as that! The world of fashion buying is large and varied, with people working for department stores, luxury brands and even collaborating with designers to find the best products for a fashion-hungry market. If you are thinking about taking your career in fashion buying further, it can be hard to know where to start, and which job might be right for you. Here are some tips for finding out, and some job ideas to spark your interest.

Be a Buyer for a multi-brand retailer

Combine your creative flair with your analytical skills as a Retail Buyer and help to forecast market trends within high street or luxury fashion brands. At its heart, a Retail Buyer is responsible for planning and selecting finished products such as apparel, accessories, footwear, jewellery etc, to be to sold in their online and physical stores.

As a Retail Buyer, your job is all about getting that exclusive product before anybody else, at a great price. You are essentially sourcing finished products to sell directly to customers, and you need a great eye for fashion to do it. Your job will be to spot up-and-coming brands before others realise the potential, and you’ll likely be spending a lot of time at fashion shows, trade shows and scouring Instagram to do it.

Your day-to-day responsibilities would be:

  • Managing stock levels and adjusting those levels according to changes in demand.
  • Building relationships with different brands and wholesalers
  • Analysing customer buying patterns so you can predict future trends.
  • Constantly sourcing new products with the objective to maximise sales opportunities for the business.

According to champion fashion Buyer Shira Suveyke, a great buyer will walk the line between creativity and practicality with a strong sense of profits and margins as well as an eye for what makes a great style.

Be a Buyer for a fashion brand

If you would rather spend your time working for a brand rather than a multi-brand retailer, then the life of a Branded Buyer might suit you much better. You will then get the chance to work very closely with suppliers and being a part of the product development process.

As part of your day-to-day job, you would be:

    • Working closely with the Development and Design teams to source the right material for the ranges you are creating.
    • Working with internal teams, such as Marketing, Merchandising and Ecommerce to create the right look and feel of the store and website.
    • Evaluating the supplier base and sourcing new suppliers.
    • Negotiating prices, quantities and delivery time-scales, working to a tight critical path.

    Be a Product Merchandiser for a luxury brand

    Be a part of the high fashion scene by becoming a Product Merchandiser! The luxury fashion industry is growing steadily, with women’s luxury fashion expected to take a 18% share of the UK market, pulling in billions more pounds every year. Could you help it grow and flourish even further?

    Luxury brands usually hires a Product Merchandiser rather than a fashion Buyer. This is somebody who uses their expert knowledge of fashion to:

    • Work closely with the brand’s Designers to create a clothing or product range that will then be sold in store and online.
    • Analyse the market, customer needs, price margins and more to create a profitable product.
    • Create fashion forward designs that positions your brand at the forefront of your market.
    • Build relationships with suppliers and manufacturers.
    • Negotiate prices, quantities and delivery timescales, working to tight deadlines to get a product completed.

    To thrive in this role you’ll be using your advanced numerical skills to deal with complicated figures when pricing up options and calculating profit margins for the stock you help to design and sell. It’s a demanding job and you’ll need excellent business sense, negotiation skills and - of course - the ability to work well in a team.

    The rewards? The chance to shape fashion at some of the most high-end brands in fashion, many of which we work with.

    Take your first steps into fashion buying with us

    No matter which type of buying career you want to pursue there is one thing these roles have in common; retail experience is essential to develop your commercial awareness. If you feel like your CV could need a boost, the quickest way to gain experience and add luxury brands to your CV is to do temporary work with us. Click here to browse our latest temp jobs.

    Not sure if fashion buying is for you? Read our blog on ‘Which fashion job is right for you?’ to see if we can help you choose your dream career.