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.
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 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.
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.
Here are some hot spots for buyers:
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.
If a career as a buyer still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
CarMax Gaithersburg, MD
George Mason University Fairfax, VA
KiD to KiD Rockville, MD
|Investment Banking Associate - M&A|
District Capital Partners Dulles, VA
Confidential Manassas, VA
|Vice President Business Development - AmeriSpeak|
NORC at the University of Chicago Bethesda, MD
Aon Arlington, VA
|IT Business Analyst|
comScore Reston, VA
|Account Executive, Mid-Market|
Genesys Chantilly, VA
|National Sales Coord - Washington|
NBC Sports Group Bethesda, MD
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