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A Day in the Life of a Buyer

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28th January 2020

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 just shopping and choosing garments – it’s a varied position that requires an analytical mind and a lot of creativity.

Here's what might happen on a typical day in the life of a buyer!

9am: Brand Appointments

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. It's important to think about things like demographics and past sale figures to inform your decisions.

a day in the life of a fashion buyer

11am: Sales Data and Analytics

In the mid-morning, you’ll return to the office to update the rest of your team, including your Assistant Buyer. 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: Team Meetings with Merchandisers and Garment Technology

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: Planning Pricing

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 the rest of the market and your competitors 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: Trade Show Visit

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 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 – 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 Level 4 Fashion Buying diploma has been designed to teach you all the skills you’ll need to succeed. Over the course of a year, we’ll cover a wide range of topics including:

  • How to negotiate deals with suppliers
  • Managing supply chains
  • Costing and sourcing
  • Details of different manufacturing regions
  • How to plan a range
  • Forecasting trends

As well as timetabled lessons in the classroom, studying a Level 4 diploma at the Fashion Retail Academy means you'll also have the opportunity to complete three weeks of industry experience with one of our retail brand partners. You'll also complete an individual retail project and attend plenty of masterclasses from our Visiting Industry Experts. All of these hands-on opportunities are designed to give you real-world experience of the fashion retail environment, and help you put the theoretical and practical skills you've learnt on your course into practice!

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