Careers in Buyer

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Looking for an entry level job or internship in buyer? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

Like many of you, I loved the movie Clueless. OK, I’m the only one who liked it. But I bet you’ve seen it. And you probably remember the lead character, Cher, who spent her days matching up her friends, and her clothes. With a closet full of hundreds of outfits, Cher held a truly trendsetting wardrobe. If she had ever come to me for job advice, I would have told her to look into fashion buying. This position would combine her keen fashion sense with her ability to build relationships. Not all buyers work in fashion, but all buyers do analyze past purchase behavior to make predictions about what is most likely to be popular with their stores’ shoppers and then works with suppliers to get those items stocked.

Buyer Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user destroyphotography

Buyer Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Buyer Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Buyer
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Buyer
  4. Best Locations for Buyers
  5. Pros and Cons of Being a Buyer
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career as a Buyer
  7. Buyer Resources
  8. Careers Related to Buying
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships for Buyers

What a Buyer Does

A buyer makes predictions about what is most likely to be popular with shoppers and then stocks their store with those items. To make their predictions, retail buyers usually work closely with product designers and attend trade fairs and shows to observe trends. It’s also important for a buyer to create a strong relationship with suppliers since one of a buyer’s main roles is to regularly negotiate prices and delivery with the product suppliers. There are many opportunities for buyers, as they may work for large department stores, chain stores, or smaller boutiques.

A Typical Day for a Buyer

A fashion buyer definitely keeps busy during a typical work day. First a buyer spends time responding to emails and making calls to designers and wholesalers. Then they hit the road with the majority of their workday spent at trade shows, designer showrooms and manufacturing companies checking out the new products and trends for the upcoming season and placing orders on items that will appeal to the buyer’s shoppers. If the buyer sees a way that an item should be tweaked to be more attractive to their shoppers, they request the change (such as adding a pocket in the case of a fashion buyer). The buyer also meets with designers and store owners to assess which items have sold well and which haven’t in order to help decide what to purchase again.

Salary and Career Progression for a Buyer

A buyer makes about $29,000-$52,000 per year and there’s plenty of room for advancement based on performance. So an assistant buyer can easily work their way up to senior buyer ($43,000-84,000) within a couple of years.

Best Locations for Buyers

Here are some hot spots for buyers:

  • New York, New York
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pros and Cons of Being a Buyer

Pros
  • Lots of creativity
  • Clear career path
  • Deep involvement in the industry you’re working in
Cons
  • Need to be flexible because you may be working in the office one day and traveling to another country at short notice the next
  • Can be hard to get started
  • Lots of pressure to forecast correctly

What You Need to Know for a Career as a Buyer

To be a fashion buyer, you’ll most likely need a bachelor’s degree in retail, buying, marketing, fashion, or business. Beyond that, retail experience as a sales associate is helpful. Sometimes larger retailers offer training programs that prepare participants for jobs as assistant buyers and eventually buyers for the company. In additional to a formal education, there are many qualities like creativity, good judgment, and strong analytical skills (to study past industry trends to forecast for the future) that are necessary to be a successful buyer.

Buyer Resources

If a career as a buyer still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Buyer

Huckberry Logo

Huckberry - Huckberry is a San Francisco, CA based company that “is like your favorite store, your grandpa’s favorite store, and your favorite magazine all rolled into one.”

See the complete Huckberry profile


Things Remembered Logo

Things Remembered - Things Remembered, based in Highland Heights, OH, is “the nation’s largest and most prominent retailer of personalized gifts.”

See the complete Things Remembered profile


Vince Logo

Vince - Vince is a New York, NY based fashion brand that offers a “collection of iconic essentials that women and men would want to wear every day.”

See the complete Vince profile


Hayneedle Logo

Hayneedle - Hayneedle is based in Omaha, NE and “has become one of the nation’s largest online retailers, offering more than 3,000 brands and nearly 2 million products for the home.”

See the complete Hayneedle profile


REVOLVE Logo

REVOLVE - REVOLVE is based in Cerritos, CA and is the “virtual home for an unrivaled collection of the world’s most coveted brands.”

See the complete REVOLVE profile


Destination Maternity Corporation Logo

Destination Maternity Corporation - Destination Maternity Corporation, which is based in Philadelphia, PA, does $500 million in annual sales as “the world’s leading maternity apparel retailer.”

See the complete Destination Maternity Corporation profile


Reformation Logo

Reformation - Reformation is an LA based “environmentally sustainable fashion brand that repurposes vintage and surplus materials to create a chic, limited edition collection.”

See the complete Reformation profile


Arc'teryx Logo

Arc’teryx - Arc'teryx is a Vancouver, BC based company that merges “unrivaled designs with the best quality, highest performing materials" to keep you warm.

See the complete Arc’teryx profile


Art.com Logo

Art.com - Art.com is based in Emeryville, CA, and it “is a leading authority in wall décor and the world’s largest online retailer of posters, prints, and framed art.”

See the complete Art.com profile


ShopHQ Logo

ShopHQ - ShopHQ, based in Eden Prairie, MN, creates “the ultimate interactive shopping experience by uniting live TV, online and mobile shopping opportunities with social media engagement."

See the complete ShopHQ profile


Horizon Media Logo

Horizon Media - Horizon Media, based in New York City, is “the largest independent media services agency in the world.”

See the complete Horizon Media profile


Dylan's Candy Bar

Dylan’s Candy Bar - Dylan's Candy Bar is a New York, NY based company that has built "the world's largest confectionary emporium and lifestyle brand."

See the complete Dylan’s Candy Bar profile


Restoration Hardware Logo

Restoration Hardware - Restoration Hardware is a Corte Madera, CA based retailer that considers itself a “curator of the finest historical design the world has to offer."

See the complete Restoration Hardware profile


Coldwater Creek Logo

Coldwater Creek - Coldwater Creek is a multi-channel "specialty retailer of women's apparel, jewelry and accessories" that started as a one-room mail order business.

See the complete Coldwater Creek profile


The North Face Logo

The North Face - The North Face is an Alameda, CA based company that pushes “the boundaries of innovation so that you can push the boundaries of exploration.”

See the complete The North Face profile


Charming Charlie Logo

Charming Charlie - Charming Charlie is a Houston, TX based “fashion accessories retailer” with more than 200 stores across the country.

See the complete Charming Charlie profile


DNA Footwear Logo

DNA Footwear - DNA Footwear is a Brooklyn, NY shoe retailer that is now working to be “the top online destination for today’s latest trends in the world of footwear.”

See the complete DNA Footwear profile


Rue La La Logo

Rue La La - Rue La La is a Boston, MA based e-commerce company that offers flash sales on "the best in women’s and men’s fashion, home, travel, kids, and more.”

See the complete Rue La La profile


Christmas Tree Shops Logo

Christmas Tree Shops - Christmas Tree Shops is a Union, NJ based group of retail stores that are all Christmas, all year, and always at a discount.

See the complete Christmas Tree Shops profile


Quarterly Logo

Quarterly - Quarterly is a Los Angeles, CA based company that allows “anyone to subscribe to influential contributors and receive physical items in the mail from them.”

See the complete Quarterly profile


Campbell Soup Company Logo

Campbell Soup Company - It’s nearly impossible to think about soup without thinking about Campbell’s. They're a billion dollar brand.

See the complete Campbell Soup Company profile


Pacific Sunwear Logo

Pacific Sunwear - Pacific Sunwear is an Anaheim, CA based company “dedicated to embracing the amazing diversity and unique sense of adventure that California offers."

See the complete Pacific Sunwear profile


Zulily Logo

Zulily - Zulily is a Seattle, WA based company that offers “daily deals for moms, babies and kids.”

See the complete Zulily profile


Totsy Logo

Totsy - Totsy is a New York, NY based company that offers flash sales on products for new parents and parents-to-be.

See the complete Totsy profile


Tory Burch Logo

Tory Burch - Tory Burch, which is based in New York, NY, calls itself “a luxury lifestyle brand defined by classic American sportswear."

See the complete Tory Burch profile


Claire's Logo

Claire’s - Claire's is a retailer with more than 3,000 stores that sells fashion, accessories, and jewelry to young women and girls, and they're hiring.

See the complete Claire’s profile


Eastbay Logo

Eastbay - Eastbay is a Wausau, WI based online and catalog retailer of sports apparel and equipment, and they have some great job opportunities.

See the complete Eastbay profile


OpenSky Logo

OpenSky - OpenSky is a New York City based company that curates product recommendations based on recommendations from topic experts, and they're hiring.

See the complete OpenSky profile


Nasty Gal Logo

Nasty Gal - Nasty Gal is a Los Angeles, CA based e-commerce site that features "a highly curated selection of vintage pieces," and they're hiring.

See the complete Nasty Gal profile


Wayfair Logo

Wayfair - Wayfair is a Boston, MA based e-commerce company that focuses on furniture and home goods. They're growing rapidly and hiring a ton of new grads.

See the complete Wayfair profile


Uncommongoods Logo

UncommonGoods - UncommonGood, based in Brooklyn, NY, is a great site for finding "unique gifts and creative design," and they have some excellent job openings.

See the complete UncommonGoods profile


Kembrel Logo

Kembrel - Kembrel is a Philadelphia, PA based company that is blending traditional retail with e-commerce to reach college students, and they're hiring.

See the complete Kembrel profile


Blue Nile Logo

Blue Nile - Blue Nile is a Seattle, WA based online jeweler that offers amazing customer service and user experience, and they're hiring.

See the complete Blue Nile profile


Urban Outfitters Logo

Urban Outfitters - When I hear Urban Outfitters, I think hipsters, but maybe I should think jobs. The fashion retailer has a ton of opportunities for new an recent grads.

See the complete Urban Outfitters profile


Brunner Logo

Brunner - Brunner is a Pittsburgh, PA and Atlanta, GA based advertising agency that does some great work and has some great job opportunities.

See the complete Brunner profile


Fab.com Logo

Fab.com - Fab.com is an NYC based site that offers daily deals on design for everyone, and they have a ton of jobs available.

See the complete Fab.com profile


Traffiq Logo

Traffiq - Ever wonder how an ad gets displayed? Traffiq has the answer along with some exciting jobs in the advertising industry.

See the complete Traffiq profile


RadiumOne Logo

RadiumOne - If you’re excited about the future of social advertising, check out RadiumOne’s Jobs page.

See the complete RadiumOne profile


Hill Holliday Logo

Hill Holliday - If you’re digging Hill Holliday’s portfolio, then you’re in luck, because they also appear to be an awesome place to work.

See the complete Hill Holliday profile


Trunk Club - If you like what Trunk Club is doing for men's fashion, then you should check out their Jobs page for some really cool opportunities.

See the complete Trunk Club profile


One Kings Lane Logo

One Kings Lane - One Kings Lane offers the “world’s top home decor brands and designers at up to 70% off retail.” They’re headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

See the complete One Kings Lane profile


Opening Ceremony Logo

Opening Ceremony - If you love what Opening Ceremony is doing by merging fashion, business, and international cooperation, then you need to check out their Jobs page.

See the complete Opening Ceremony profile


Bluefly Logo

Bluefly - If you are excited at the prospect of a career at the crossroads of fashion and e-commerce, then you’ll want to move on to Bluefly’s Jobs page.

See the complete Bluefly profile


Otterbox Logo

OtterBox - OtterBox, based in Fort Collins, CO, is “dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic, graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable.”

See the complete OtterBox profile


ModCloth Logo

ModCloth - ModCloth is building a foundation that ensures that they’ll be able to effectively grow an indie brand. Another key part of their growth has to do with hiring.

See the complete ModCloth profile


American Eagle Outfitters Logo

American Eagle Outfitters - Most people outgrow American Eagle Outfitter's clothing lines when they reach their mid-20s, but they can stick with them by landing an entry level job.

See the complete American Eagle Outfitters profile


Net-A-Porter Logo

Net-A-Porter - If you’re looking to work where fashion, e-commerce, and digital media intersect, then you’ll have to check out London based Net-A-Porter.

See the complete Net-A-Porter profile


Elie Tahari Logo

Elie Tahari - To get a feel for what the line is all about, you should head over to ElieTahari.com. Getting the scoop on their jobs won’t be so simple.

See the complete Elie Tahari profile


Mona Lisa Style - If you love the risk and want to work towards changing the way that the fashion industry works, then you should check out Mona Lisa Style’s job postings

See the complete Mona Lisa Style profile


Kate Spade - Entry level positions at Kate Spade in New York City include E-commerce Coordinator, Assistant Buyer, and International Marketing Assistant.

See the complete Kate Spade profile


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