What is Fashion buying?


Many people give little thought to the fashion selections offered in stores. However, the items available for you to purchase do not appear without great skill and research. Fashion buyers discover the latest trends and stock retail stores with items that are projected to bring in the most revenue and sales.

Fashion buyers purchase women's, men's and children's clothing for both retail and wholesale stores. They're responsible for buying all kinds of items, including lingerie, shoes, scarves, belts and jewelry. Some purchase goods for a particular department and are given a specific budget to work with.

A flair for colour and design is very important in this field. In addition to being creative, buyers must be analytical, well organized and good at basic arithmetic

When purchasers come up with a buying plan, they think about the customer's needs, fashion trends, potential suppliers and prices. A buyer must make sure that the department or store will make a profit from their purchases. Money is always a concern, It's not like a shopping spree because you're ordering out of your business's pocket. If they don't sell, you don't have a business.

In order to know what to purchase, a fashion buyer analyzes market reports, talks to consultants, goes to fashion shows and keeps in touch with customers and suppliers.

Fashion buyers who work for larger stores spend much of their time tracking inventory and shifting stock between stores. You have to monitor the sales in each of the stores because something that is hot in one store may not be selling in another.

Most buyers work Monday through Friday. However, the job requires weekend and evening work to travel to shows or attend meetings. Overtime is also required when buyers prepare new budgets and make purchasing decisions. The holiday season is especially hectic.

This is a job that often requires experience in retail. Generally, people work as sales clerks or as assistants before they become fashion buyers. Of course, you have to love clothing to enjoy this job. Successful buyers have good taste in clothing and know their customers.

Throughout the year, tasks typically involve:

  • analysing consumer buying patterns and predicting future trends; 
  • regularly reviewing performance indicators, such as sales and discount levels;
  • managing plans for stock levels;
  • reacting to changes in demand and logistics;
  • meeting suppliers and negotiating terms of contract;
  • maintaining relationships with existing suppliers and sourcing new suppliers for future products;
  • liaising with other departments within the organisation to ensure projects are completed;
  • attending trade fairs to select and assemble a new collection of products;
  • participating in promotional activities;
  • writing reports and forecasting sales levels;
  • presenting new ranges to senior retail managers;
  • liaising with shop personnel to ensure supply meets demand;
  • getting feedback from customers;
  • training and mentoring junior staff.
Are you interested in Fashion Buying as your career, here are some helpful tips to get you started:

Gain as much knowledge as possible about the fashion industry. Purchase fashion magazines and research the various trends.  Make yourself familiar with the fashion market.  Become acquainted with the top fashion retailers and investigate their requirements and desires for their fashion buyers.

Begin your education by taking college courses relating to fashion and merchandise.  Look for universities that offer courses in fashion merchandising or other fashion related fields. Enroll in the college of your choice and work toward your degree. Check with companies that may offer an executive training program. Some companies have their own fashion merchandising programs. These programs are typically run by prominent retailers.

Apply for a job as an intern or assistant fashion buyer for retailers, department stores and independently owned fashion stores.  Very few people become major fashion buyers without first gaining experience working under other experienced buyers in the fashion industry. Work for a few years as an intern or assistant and learn skills to help you succeed in the career.

Does this sound like a job for you? are you a fashion buyer? tell us by leaving a comment below.

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