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How to Become a Fashion Buyer (Skills and Education)

The fashion industry depends heavily on fashion customers. They make choices that enable businesses to supply them with items and stay abreast of fashion trends. Being a fashion buyer can be difficult because the industry is so competitive. We go through what a fashion buyer is, what they do, how to become a fashion buyer, skills, income, and employment outlook in this post.

What is a Fashion Buyer?

A fashion buyer is a person who collaborates with a clothing retailer or a fashion business to assist them in choosing products that will support their brand. In department shops and corporate settings, fashion buyers play a crucial role because their decisions can effect the company’s revenue, brand recognition, and sales. They bring in inventory that can help businesses and retail establishments reach their objectives.

how to become a fashion buyer

What Does a Fashion Buyer Do?

The unpredictable nature of a profession in fashion buying is what makes it so appealing. Depending on the business they work for and their level of experience, fashion buyers may have different duties. The following tasks and competencies are typically specified as requirements in job descriptions for fashion buyers:

  • Research & Trend Forecasting
  • Building and maintaining connections with suppliers
  • Product ranges and pricing planning
  • Working with marketing & merchandising
  • Evaluating product ranges for quality and sustainability
  • Making sales strategies and supervising budgets.

1. Research & Trend Forecasting

Researching companies and designers and predicting fashion trends are also parts of a buyer’s job. In order to choose wisely how to purchase and create a new collection, trend forecasting involves analyzing market trends and consumer behavior.

A buyer will take into account the shapes, design elements, colors, fabrics, and trims of apparel when predicting trends. They will employ a range of materials and tools, including as social media, trade exhibitions, events, runways, periodicals, and fashion forecasting services, to carry out trend forecasting.

Buyers will choose clothing from the brands and designers they believe will be the most popular with their customers and, as a result, the most profitable, based on the trend predicting study.

2. Building and Maintaining Connections with Suppliers

Building and sustaining connections with suppliers is one of the most crucial facets of a buyer’s job. Fashion buyers may successfully bargain on pricing, turnaround time, and delivery while also acquiring the greatest quality product when they have an excellent working connection with a supplier, brand, or designer.

A fashion buyer may be in charge of procuring textiles and overseeing the creation of new collections in addition to purchasing clothing. As a fashion buyer, they will need to be able to manage any cultural differences with suppliers, work with a worldwide supply chain, and gain knowledge of the ethical, political, and environmental context of garment production.

In order to ensure that a collection is flawlessly created as well as that it hits the shelves and reaches customers on time, it’s critical to be able to communicate and coordinate with suppliers successfully.

3. Product Ranges and Pricing Planning

Fashion buyers create a range plan in order to efficiently plan a product or garment collection. Every facet of a product’s life cycle is covered by the range plan, including production, lead times, size, quantities, price, margins, and launch date.

The range plan will then be used by fashion buyers to determine how to price their products, together with their understanding of market pricing and trends. Buyers determine this by computing profit margins, the overall cost of goods, conducting customer research, and comparing prices with those of competitors.

4. Working With Marketing & Merchandising

The merchandising and marketing divisions frequently collaborate with the fashion buying department. This guarantees that the brand’s vision and direction are shared by every department.

Plans for collections are developed by merchandisers and fashion buyers in accordance with the brand’s total budget and consumer purchasing trends. By ensuring that product ranges fulfill consumer needs at the appropriate price, in the right location, and at the right time, merchandisers may assist buying teams in making important decisions.

In order to create seasonal marketing strategies, content, and promotions, fashion buyers collaborate with marketers. By advertising products that haven’t sold as well as anticipated and showcasing the brand’s best sellers, fashion marketers play a crucial role in ensuring that a product sells successfully.

5. Evaluating Product Ranges for Quality and Sustainability

Buyers must attempt to meet consumer expectations in addition to making sure products pass quality tests and adhere to the brand’s standards. Fashion manufacturers now need to focus more on sustainability and quality while purchasing stock due to a movement in consumer behavior toward a more sustainable way of life.

The ethical, political, and environmental context of clothes manufacture and consumerism must be understood by buyers. By doing this, they can make sure that their purchases and production of clothing appeal to consumers in terms of sustainability as well as usability and style.

The environmental impact of manufacturing, the working conditions and welfare of individuals who source the products, as well as the lifecycle and quality of each product, are all factors that a buyer of fashion might take into account.

6. Making Sales Strategies and Supervising Budgets

As they must support any creative decisions with facts and figures, fashion buyers need to have good numerical and analytical abilities. Buyers are in charge of setting up budgets and processing orders, therefore it’s crucial that they do this correctly because there isn’t much room for error.

Fashion buyers typically utilize tools like Excel to analyze data in order to maintain track of stocks and make sure that products come in under budget. Additionally, fashion buyers must be proficient in quick mental calculations such as ratios, percentages, budgeting, and currency conversions.

Being effective in the profession of fashion buyer requires a rapid and analytical thinking process because the industry is fast-paced.

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Wage and Employment Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2019 and 2029, there will be an annual increase in employment of around 36,600 buyers and purchasing agents. A fashion buyer typically makes $32,082 a year ($13.87 an hour).

Fashion Buyer Skills

You need a wide range of skills to become a fashion buyer. The following are abilities for a fashion buyer:

  1. Mathematical Proficiency: In order to make calculations and compare pricing from several providers, you need to possess mathematical proficiency. Additionally, you must make sure the business is receiving the best deals or discounts.
  2. Organizing: Fashion buyers manage a lot of jobs and information. You must be able to maintain organization.
  3. Negotiation Skills: You must be able to negotiate contract terms with suppliers, take care of other legalities, and discover the best bargains for the business.
  4. Decision-making Abilities: You must be able to choose products that will appeal to customers and make purchases on the company’s behalf.
  5. Analytical Abilities: As a fashion buyer, you must make wise decisions that will benefit the retailer. Making wise judgments requires the capacity to evaluate the products’ profitability, quality, and pricing.
  6. Interpersonal Skills: In order to avoid any future issues and to maintain a fantastic workflow, you must be able to establish strong, professional connections with suppliers and coworkers.

how to become a fashion buyer

How to Become a Fashion Buyer

Your chances of breaking into the fashion industry can be improved by meeting certain requirements. These conditions are:

1. Obtaining a Diploma From High School

For jobs in the retail industry, some companies want a bachelor’s degree, while others only demand a high school diploma or a GED. To prepare for a career in fashion buying, take accounting, arithmetic, and business courses. Participate in any activity that will help you improve your social skills.

2. Complete a Bachelor’s Program.

If you simply have a high school diploma, you might only be able to get entry-level employment, whereas a bachelor’s degree can open up more chances for you. Large businesses expect their personnel to have marketing expertise, thus they need fashion buyers to have a bachelor’s degree. It is useful to earn degrees that include coursework in statistical analysis, accounting, economic theory, and consumer behavior. You can select from the following degrees to pursue:

  • Bachelor of Science in Merchandising: The Bachelor of Science in Merchandising gives you knowledge of the processes involved in product creation, communications, and manufacturing.
  • Bachelor of Science in Marketing: A bachelor’s degree in marketing will equip you for work in the marketing, public relations, and advertising fields.
  • Bachelor in Fashion Design: With a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, you can learn about the creation of clothing and fashion illustrations.
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: A bachelor’s degree in business administration will teach you about management, finance, and accounting.

Also Read: Best Fashion Design Schools In The World

3. Educate Yourself About the Fashion Sector

You need to understand the wants of the consumer as a fashion buyer in order to stay current with industry trends. Your biggest asset is knowledge, so learning should never cease. Make an effort to learn more about the fashion industry by reading fashion blogs and magazines. You can also notice clothing trends and people’s personal style preferences by going to shopping centers.

4. Acquire Experience

You must put your skills into practice, and gaining knowledge can help you identify your advantages and disadvantages. Here are several methods for gaining experience:

  • Apply for internships in the fashion industry: Some businesses recruit individuals after they complete their internships. To see if there are any internships available, check the websites of fashion companies that provide them or get in touch with a department shop.
  • Obtain an entry-level position: Assistant buyers, retail salespeople, and buying clerks are all positions that are open for entry-level employment. These positions can teach you about inventory, price haggling, and the procedures of sales systems.
  • Join an organization: There are organizations that offer networking opportunities, training, scholarships, and professional development, such as the American Purchasing Society (APS) and the National Retail Federation (NRF). These groups also keep their members up to date on market trends. These organizations accept members at all career levels.

If you’re not sure where to begin your job search, check for reputable recruiting firms that can assist you in discovering open positions with their retailer clients. Once a match is made, the agencies set up an interview for you with the company.

5. Acquire a Certificate

There are certificates that can improve your resume-building abilities and fashion industry understanding. These certifications include:

  • The NRF, or the National Retail Federation: With the aid of this certification, you can improve your mathematics abilities to assist with sales transactions, fundamental customer service abilities, and sales credentials. The required minimum age is 18.
  • The APS: The American Purchasing Society The APS offers five different certifications, including the Certified Professional in Distribution and Warehousing (CPDW), Certified Professional in Purchasing Consultant (CPPC), Certified Green Purchasing Professional (CGPP), and Certified Purchasing Manager (CPPM). The Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) designation is advised for buyers of clothing. To be eligible for the CPP exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree or three years of work experience.

6. Get Ready for Interviews

Examine the websites and social media accounts of the company to learn more about its culture before an interview. This aids in acquainting you with the brand of the business. Additionally, it’s critical to dress professionally if you want to make an impression. Make sure your attire reflects your professionalism, sense of fashion, and sense of style.

Also Read: How Much do Tax Preparers Make Per Client?

how to become a fashion buyer

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a fashion buyer do?

Fashion buyers are in charge of deciding what is shown in retail locations with the intention of making the most money. The job of a fashion buyer is to analyze consumer purchasing behavior and forecast emerging trends. Buyers must take the overall market, pricing levels, and client demand into account while creating new ranges.

What is a buyer of fashion called?

The clothing that is offered in retail stores is chosen and ordered by fashion buyers, also known as retail buyers, purchasing managers, or purchasing agents. A fashion buyer makes sure that the items on store shelves appeal to customers in order to optimize a company's earnings.

Do fashion buyers attend fashion shows?

Stylists and buyers are at Fashion Week for work, not for fun, just like editors and writers. They attend the shows and presentations, but they frequently like ree-sees, or individual, private appointments scheduled throughout the week so they can interact with the brands and see the outfits up close.

What distinguishes a buyer from a merchandiser?

Retail buyers concentrate on the merchandise. They are in charge of choosing the things that are sold in stores or online after conducting research on fashion trends. Retail merchandisers guarantee the product's commercial and financial viability.

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