A Day in the Life of a Buyer

A Day in the Life of a Buyer image

As a Buyer, you’re in charge of selecting the products which end up going into stores. But this exciting and diverse role is about so much more than simply shopping and choosing garments – it’s a varied position which requires an analytical mind and creativity by the bucketful.

Sound like you? Read onto find out what a typical day in the life of a buyer might look like.

9am – Every day is different in buying, and you’ll get to work closely with different roles across the supply chain. Your day might begin by attending an appointment with a brand at their offices. You’ll be shown their full range of new stock, and you’ll be expected to make decisions on what to buy based on what’s right for your customer, thinking about things like demographics and past sale figures etc.

11am – In the mid-morning, you’ll return to the office to update the rest of the team, including the Assistant Buyer. Sometimes it’s necessary to make buying decisions based on what’s sold well in the past, so you’ll spend time getting up to speed with sales data and analytics in order to maximise profits. Equally, it’s important to keep in mind what hasn’t sold so well, so that you can perhaps negotiate your way out of non-profitable stock.

1pm – After lunch, you might attend meetings with the whole of your team, including Merchandisers and Garment Technologists, to discuss what they are working on and what hasn’t been so successful. You’ll also work on identifying any upcoming trends early, to inform what you might need to buy next and to formulate accurate forecasts. Buyers work seasons ahead so you need to know about future trends, using forecasting websites such as WGSN. Ultimately, it’s important to make sure that the whole team is aligned and feeling excited about the products your brand is offering to the customer.

3pm – Part of knowing your customer base is about devising a pricing structure. As a buyer, it’s your job to decide how much things are going to cost. You’ll negotiate prices with suppliers, so you’ll need to have a good head for numbers and be on top of budgets. Like many aspects of the buying role, pricing is highly reactive. It’s important to always keep an eye on what the rest of the market and what your competitors are doing so you can make sure you’re up to date with trends and pricing. Your afternoon might involve deciding if you need any markdowns and on which products, or planning ahead to the next year. 

5pm – Your day could end with a quick visit to a fashion or trade show to scour for new suppliers or products. You’ll take some notes so that you can then pitch these ideas to stakeholders at future meetings. On your way home, you might have time to pop into a few shops to get some inspiration. One of the best ways to get new ideas and predict what trends are coming in, is simply to people watch. You might even spot someone wearing one of the products you’ve selected for the store – surely one of the most satisfying parts of being a Buyer.

How to get started in buying

Beginner positions in buying include Buying Admin Assistant, Merchandising Admin Assistant, Buyer’s Clerk and Allocator. If this sounds like the perfect job, our L4 Fashion Buying course has been tailormade to equip you with the skills you’ll need to succeed. Over the course of a year, we’ll cover the following:

  • How to negotiate deals with suppliers
  • Supply chain management
  • Costing and sourcing
  • Garment technology
  • Details of different manufacturing regions
  • Merchandising
  • Critical path management
  • Use of fabrics
  • How to plan a range
  • Forecasting trends
  • And much more.

What makes our L4 Fashion Buying course so unique is that as well as classroom learning, you’ll benefit from a three-week placement with a fashion brand, complete an individually negotiated retail project and plenty of masterclasses from leaders in the industry. All of these hands-on opportunities are designed to give you real-world experience of the fashion retail environment, and help you put your theoretical skills and information learned during your course into practice.

Find out more about our L4 Fashion Buying course, as well as the other courses we offer at the FRA.