How To Shop As A Fashion Buyer

Clothing stores of all levels are always full of the season’s latest fashions and these styles aren’t just automatically shipped to the stores from the factories. Fashion buyers have to decide what is going to be sold in their stores and they choose each individual piece themselves. Then they order the quantity and it’s delivered to their stores to be sold. So how do these buyers find all of these fabulous pieces for the stores you shop in?

Fashion buyers have a few different ways of coming across clothes for their stores. They can visit local designers if they’re the type that likes to carry high-end, limited clothing. Or they can order pieces from factory magazines and have large quantities shipped. What happens for most stores that are mid-level and not looking for mass or limited quantities, is that they attend apparel shows.

Apparel shows are conventions where fashion designers and buyers can meet in one place and make orders. It’s often times a one-stop-shop for fashion buyers to fill all of their stock by choosing from hundreds of vendors in one location. Fashion designers and distributors from around the world will fill convention centers with their clothing, either samples of a large quantity or the entire stock of a limited design, and buyers come from all over the country to order the latest trends and styles.

The latest trend in apparel shows is the Virtual Storefront an online version of a vendor’s collection. Buyers can go online and view the entire stock or just a special selection of what the vendor has to offer before they visit the show, giving them a chance to decide who they would like to visit. The Virtual Storefront also provides fabric information and pricing to make shopping faster and easier on the buyer who has hundreds of stores to visit in a matter of days.

Not everyone has access to this temporary shopping mall, in order to access apparel conventions a buyer has to go through a long list of certifications to be sure that they’re not just the everyday shopper looking for a bargain. Buyers have to supply things like a business license, imprinted business check, merchant credit card, personalized business identification and proof of possession of the actual retail store that the clothing will be sold in.

Buyers have to take their jobs very seriously because they are setting their stores up for success for the next season. They have to choose the next big fashion statement so that customers will buy out their stock and make room for the next season’s apparel show finds. The life of a fashion buyer is not as glamorous as it sounds, it is hard work. The fashion you wear today is the result of a fashion buyer’s research and time spent ordering clothes from a wide-range of suppliers.

How To Get Your Fashion Designs in Boutiques: The Inside Scoop From a Fashion Buyer!

Getting your fashion designs in stores can give you major credibility, exposure and prestige! Retail stores have large customer bases, lots of foot traffic, and well-marketed online sites that can really help to launch your brand!

For new designers, I recommend that you focus on getting your designs sold in small boutiques before trying to get into department stores to gain exposure and to learn the ropes. Small boutiques are usually more flexible for new designers and you can use the exposure in their store to help build up press about your brand.

Trend & Lifestyle
Do your designs cater to the stores target demographic? Do your designs fit into the lifestyle of the consumer? Does your product work with what is fashionable/ on trend in their stores? Make sure that you visit stores to make sure your brand makes sense there before setting up meetings with Fashion Buyers. You don’t want to waste a ton of time trying to sell your hipster clothing line to a store, only to realize that they focus on purchasing wear-to-work clothing for businesswomen.

Price Range
Do you understand what customers are willing to pay for your product? How much are customers paying right now for similar products? Have you done your research? Stores have to be able to make a profit and you need to make sure you have priced your designs for you to make a profit before even meeting with any buyers. In a tough economy, Buyers are playing it safe when it comes to price, so this can make or break you.

Hanger Appeal
Does your product sell itself just by being on a hanger or is it tricky and only looks good when a customer tries it on? Your product must function and look fabulous with no explanation/convincing from sales people. Product needs to have hanger appeal that will convince buyers that customers will see your product in their stores and will just have to buy it on the spot!

Distribution
Fashion Buyers will want to know who else you sell your designs to. Are you established in other stores, like small boutiques or do have a big online following? Will your designs be exclusive to their store or is it the same product that you are selling in other stores?

Delivery
You have to be able to ship your product on the agreed date. You cannot be late. Trust me, you don’t want to be late…it can become a very, very expensive mistake! If you are late on shipping your product, a buyer might decide to just cancel their order all together, which can potentially put you out of business if it’s a big order because you’ve already spent the money to make the product and now you have nowhere to sent it. Also, how often will you ship new collections? Generally, most brands ship new designs monthly, some ship new product twice a month.

Are you Ready?
Fashion Buyers want to make sure you are really ready to be in business. Their stores credibility is at stake if something goes wrong with your product (such as quality issues, late shipments, etc). Stores are taking a risk by doing business with you and do not want to be let down if you can’t deliver on your agreements.

Next Steps
If Fashion Buyers are excited about your line and you meet all of the applicable criteria that I mentioned in the post, they may want to give you an order. Buyers may want to “test” or try your product in 1 of their stores or in a handful of their stores. You will sell the product to them at a cost price (set by you) and you and the buyer will work out the rest of the details from there.

It can be a difficult for a brand new designer to launch their designs in well-known stores because of the lack of credibility and selling history as a newbie. This is why I recommend that new designers start out trying to sell to small boutiques. You can start out with a small order, as a test and hopefully grow from there.

Some new designers may decide to start out by doing consignment with small boutiques. Selling on consignment basically means that your designs will be put up for sale in the store and you will only get paid for what sells. Just be aware that this concept works to the stores advantage, not yours (there is basically no risk for the store if the product doesn’t sell). You will have to take back what doesn’t sell (or you can try sell it to the store at a discounted price).

Schools for Fashion Design: Helping You Get the Fashion Career You Want

Several schools for fashion design offer different courses to help students pursue a career in the field. These colleges provide training and education for students to help enrich their talent, while strengthening their cultural, social, and economic experiences. Students can choose from several career paths. Here are some of the jobs they can take once they graduate from a fashion design college.

Merchandisers

These people specialize in clothing production and market analysis. They can earn over $100,000, depending on their level of expertise. They determine the production cost, sales number, and product direction manufacturers can take for every season. Fashion merchandisers may also design mannequins, store windows, and layout of an outlet. Their overall evaluation depends on the inventory-a merchandiser can become successful if a specific style of apparel is sold out of stock. They also keep up with the fashion trends, anticipating the supply and demand to prevent the inventory from selling out too quickly or not selling at all.

Managers

These people can work as supervisors in boutiques. They are accountable for arranging the sales force and handling back office support staff, which are important for the store’s success. Some fashion managers oversee a particular section of an outlet, monitor employees, manage the inventory, and ensure the store meets its sales goals. Some managers are also in charge of making advertisements and other promotional displays for a certain project or clothing.

Marketers

These people work in the frontlines of the fashion industry. This profession is also one of the most sought after in the fashion industry. Fashion marketers research and analyze the public’s taste and different methods of trades. They can conduct interviews, surveys, and study customer traffic throughout different stores. They compile their findings to help clothing manufacturers and stores make a unique selling point that can appeal to their consumers. Marketers should have a graphic design degree from an accredited university. They should also be creative and capable of working with others.

Fashion buyers

Like merchandisers, fashion buyers aim to analyze the trends and help manufacturers or stores come up with the right course of action. They are responsible for maximizing and boosting sales through development and implementation of business strategies. They visit boutiques, meet with clothing manufacturers, and attend trade and runway shows. Fashion buyers need to have an impeccable taste and knowledge when it comes to forecasting trends. Fortunately, fashion schools provide training on different techniques for product selection, pricing, and promotion.

Fashion designers

This is one of the most exciting and popular careers in the fashion industry. Fashion designers use their inherent sense of style and creativity to create unique and eye-catching apparel. Fashion design schools in Texas train aspiring students with different courses on production, textile, and illustration. This profession opens several opportunities-designers can make a major name in the industry or work with clothing companies to produce their designs.

Who’s Hiring in Fashion? Hot Jobs You Can Land With a Fashion School Education

When one thinks of a career in the fashion industry, the job that most comes to mind is that of the fashion designer. But the fashion industry is broad and multi-faceted, with myriad job opportunities available. So even if you don’t have an interest in starting your own fashion design label, you can still be an integral part of the industry. Take a look at the following jobs, and you’ll see that depending on your particular interest and skills you’ve learned in fashion school, there is a perfect job in fashion for you.

Fashion Merchandiser – Do you see clothes in stores and think, “I know I can make that better”? The fashion merchandising professional spots trends and translates them into products that sell. He or she is responsible for product development from conceptual design, budgeting and production, to the final marketing of the product.

Buyer – If you love shopping and always seem to know trends before anyone else, a career as a buyer could be right for you. Responsible for maximizing sales and profitability, fashion buyers stay ahead of the curve on fashion trends as well as their target consumers’ tastes so they can plan retail store inventories. Besides selecting merchandise, they are involved with the promotion and selling of the goods.

Brand Manager – Fashion companies are not just selling clothes, they are selling a brand. Brand managers create an image for their fashion line, and then develop unique and creative ways to present this image to the public. Fashion college courses in Merchandise Product Development are a great background to have for this career.

Trend Analyst – These professionals have a direct impact on fashion’s future. Trend analysts shop for and research the latest trends and analyze their influence on future markets. They provide forward direction on color, style, and fabric to the merchandising team, who then incorporate the upcoming trends into new product lines.

Technical Designer – The all-important technical designer takes a fashion designer’s idea and works with the factory to make that idea a reality. They determine the most efficient method of producing a garment to fit a particular market and price point, and are responsible for pattern making, size fitting, technical flat sketches and garment specifications. These are therefore some of the most important skills learned in any fashion institute.

Visual Design Director – When you walk into a store, your shopping experience is created by the Visual Design Director. This person develops visual merchandising presentation and store concepts that enhance the brand’s image. The Director also determines visual merchandise directives for all the stores in the chain to make sure the vision of the store is carried out across all locations.

Textile Designer -This job is perfect for designers with a love for creating graphics and patterns. Textile designers develop designs for a variety of apparel and interior design markets, including printed, woven and knit fabrics.

Footwear Designer – If you believe that fashion is all about the shoes, you might consider a career in footwear design. Footwear designers travel to the hottest markets to research trends, attend trade shows, and find inspiration to create designs for a company or their own labels.

Costume Designer For those interested in the entertainment industry, costume designers create costumes used in film, television, or theater, overseeing everything from apparel and accessories to jewelry and wigs. They work with the director and production team to develop the right look for each project, whether it’s set in the past, present or future.