When starting a career in the fashion buying industry, one typically begins as a junior, or assistant, fashion buyer. With experience, a junior buyer can become a senior fashion buyer and earn a higher salary. To succeed in this career, one must be analytical, make strong decisions and understand fashion trends. A buyer's role is to select products that will appeal to shoppers, so her role is an important part of a company's success.
Responsibilities of an Entry-Level Fashion Buyer
A junior fashion buyer helps with the selection of clothing or accessories to be sold in a retail environment. Because a typical junior buyer has less than three years of experience, she is often not allowed to complete purchases without the approval of a senior buyer.
At first, a fashion buyer must follow specific purchasing guidelines. As she learns about her company and the fashion industry, she will gain more creative freedom. She will also gain responsibilities such as tracking fashion trends, negotiating pricing with vendors and attending fashion shows.
Entry-Level Salary of a Fashion Buyer
An entry-level fashion buyer can expect to make a base salary of about £28,600 a year, along with bonuses and benefits.
When a junior buyer earns senior status, she is given more freedom to choose what items to buy, and has the responsibility to oversee junior buyers. Her salary will increase to about £60,450.
One can progress further to become a purchasing manager, who can earn about £77,181 per year.
Qualities of a Successful Fashion Buyer
A successful fashion buyer must have strong communication skills. The buyer will communicate with an organisation's external stakeholders, so she must be able to form and maintain relationships.
Willingness to travel and dedicate long hours to her job is essential for a fashion buyer. A fashion buyer will find herself at fashion shows and clothing manufacturing plants all over the world. She must interact well with people of different cultures and work well in a fast-paced environment.
A fashion buyer must be analytical, as she will be responsible for researching and understanding past and present fashion trends. She will take this data to predict future trends and decide which fashion products to buy.
Education Needed To Become a Fashion Buyer
Having a degree in marketing, business administration or merchandising is ideal for a fashion buyer. Fashion-related education is a plus. According to FindDesignSchools.com, companies prefer to hire fashion buyers who hold degrees in Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising. Additionally, experience working in a fashion retail environment is beneficial.
Some companies provide training programs for entry-level buyers that introduce them to the company's buying regulations and practices.