Fashion Merchandising Degree
In the retail industry, a buyer is an individual who selects what items will be stocked in a store, based on his or her predictions about what will be popular with shoppers. Retail buyers usually work closely with designers and their designated sales representatives and attend trade fairs, wholesale showrooms and fashion shows to observe trends. They may work for large department stores, chain stores or smaller boutiques. For smaller independent stores, a buyer may participate in sales as well as promotion, whereas in a major fashion store there may be different levels of seniority such as trainee buyers, assistant buyers, senior buyers and buying managers, and buying directors. Decisions about what to stock can greatly affect fashion businesses.
According to "The Role of the Fashion Buyer," buyers typically specialize in one type of merchandise such as women's dresses. However, in a smaller retailer, a buyer may buy for a larger, less specialized range such as women's casual wear which may include shirts, skirts, pants, and jackets. The larger the retailer, the more specific the product area is for a buyer. Large companies that have a broad range of products will often have separate buying departments for menswear, womenswear, and children's wear. A buyer at a smaller retailer may buy name brand products while a large company buyer may have the opportunity to be involved in the design and development of the products. A buyer with experience will travel to learn new fashion trends and to visit clothing suppliers.
Assistant buyers play a smaller role in the selection of merchandise since they are still gaining experience. They may help senior buyers with basic aspects of retailing. Assistant buyers may also be in charge of orders and shipments, supervise sales personnel, keeping records, and dealing with customers who are returning or exchanging merchandise.
Along with an eye for fashion one seeking a career as a fashion merchandiser must also possess business skills. Along with a degree in fashion one might look to add an MBA degree to their resume. Someone with an existing Bachelors degree can obtain their MBA in as little as 15 months. If you are seeking a career in fashion merchandising, check out how to get an MBA