Many people may wonder what a Fashion Buyer does in his or her day to day life…
Whilst being a fashion buyer may seem all glitz and glamour, there is in-fact a lot of hard work and relevant skills required that go into becoming a Fashion Buyer. Some of the essential skills that qualify you to become a Buyer are listed below;
1. Being an excellent communicator – this is a must, as you will be travelling around the world to network at a variety of fashion shows and Trade Shows!
2. Business minded –you do not need to go to business school for this. However, a Buyer you’re expected to be a logical and mathematical thinker. Having strong negotiation skills is also important as this will come handy when investing into new brands and fashion designers.
3. Trend Spotting – even outside of your work hours you’re expected to constantly be trend spotting, as this contributes massively to fashion buying. Reading trend-focused websites such as Drapers, WGSN and Business of Fashion (BoF) is an activity you must undertake at all times!
A typical Fashion Buyer will undertake a variety of roles. Every day is different! Some of the key roles include;
From a Buyers own knowledge of fashion and business, she or he will decide what to buy based on what is on trend and will market well to the chosen demographics.They will have already conducted some market research beforehand in order to know what their customer is looking for.
Buyers will constantly be looking for new and upcoming fashion brandsand fashion designersto work with, they will use platforms such as Instagram to find these designers and network at fashion trade shows.
In addition to trend forecasting, as a Buyer you will need strong analytical skills. This means having basic numerical knowledge as you will be writing up buys, working out budgets and processing orders. You will need to understand software such as Excel and/or Google Sheetsas these are likely to be the platforms you use to document pricings. This is an important part of the process as you may be presenting to a board with your buying decision, so you will definitely need numerical figures to present and explain!
Working Closely with Merchandising
Not many people can distinguish the difference between a Buyer and a Merchandiser.
Merchandisers tend to oversee research and development of the product at a wholesale level. They focus more analytically and look into customers buying patterns; this helps them decide how much of each item they need to buy and what fashion products to buy for each location- this usually depends on ‘best-sellers’ in each store. Buyers works closely with the merchandising team through-out and will make the final decision of what purchases will need to be made.
If you’re interested in Fashion Buying, make sure you attend as many creative networking events as you can. If you’re a recent fashion graduate, you will likely start your fashion buying career as an ‘Assistant Buyer’, but you will have plenty of time to work your way up to a ‘Junior Buyer’and then eventually a ‘Fashion Buyer’.