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What’s it like being a Senior Menswear Buyer at Ted Baker?

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25th February 2016

From the initial design to the shop floor, a product goes through many stages to get into the hands of a customer. The success of a brand naturally depends on the sales of its products, so keeping up with current trends is vital. It’s the job of the Buying department to make sure collections are made with the bestselling items.  

We spoke to one of Ted Baker’s Senior Menswear Buyers to find out how the team makes these crucial business decisions.  

menswear buying at Ted Baker interview

What makes a good buyer? 

Communication is key when you’re a buyer. From negotiations with suppliers to sharing your ideas and decisions with your team, you need to share your point of view.  

 You also need to be assertive to secure the best deals with suppliers, which can be challenging. Attention to detail is also important, so you’re always making informed commercial decisions. 

How do you make your buying decisions? 

It’s important to thoroughly understand your customer profile and their shopping habits. Spending time working in a store helps you to listen to, and engage with, the customers and the sales team.  

Looking at what products have been selling well is key when developing a new range. The proof is in the sales! 

What’s it like working at Ted Baker? 

Ted Baker Head Office is a bustling, open-plan space. It’s always buzzing with creativity and ideas, which makes for a refreshing environment to work in. We’ve also got plenty of quiet spaces and meeting areas for when you need to focus.  

Describe a typical day for the Buying team. 

 We’re always working on multiple seasons at a time: trading one, buying another and developing a third. The office is fast-paced and extremely varied from day to day! 

So, the day could start with reviewing the bestsellers and figures from the previous week. That helps us when reviewing the upcoming season buys, which we base on previous sales figures.  

After we’ve made our decisions, we present the range to other departments, such as Wholesale, Visual Merchandising, E-commerce and the Press team. 

How do you buy for international markets? 

To deliver an international range, we have several things to consider that are different from the usual UK retailing. Trends, customers' shopping habits and cultures change considerably across regions, and we need to be aware of this.  

To make sure we’re appealing to these audiences, we have a dedicated International Team based in Ted Baker HQ. They gather data from stores and feedback to everyone on product risks, opportunities and general changes to buying habits. That way we’re always up to date on what works, and we can adapt to the ever-changing market. 

How do you keep in line with both trends and the heritage Ted Baker identity? 

With trends emerging and evolving so fast, the most effective way I keep abreast is through dedicated fashion sites online. Social media has also become enormously impactful and important to how we work. It’s our job at Ted Baker HQ to ensure new trends filter down and are delivered in a commercial way to our customers while maintaining that Ted Baker handwriting. 

 Ted Baker Buying

What do you find most rewarding in your role? 

When you see a product you’ve developed in stores, it’s fantastic. It’s always rewarding to see a coat that you worked on from a drawing and fabric swatches, now out on the street keeping someone warm and stylish! 

… and what do you find most challenging? 

My main objective is to buy the right product at the right time, at the right quality and price. With outerwear, it’s always important to be aware of the trends in the weather! When the weather is unusually warm, people aren’t shopping for coats. But the second it turns, we’ve got to make sure we have enough options for them to choose from! 

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming a buyer? 

Find an area that you’re interested in, and that you really enjoy, and make it your expertise. You’ll need that passion for product, and for industry. I chose to focus on outerwear because I loved the options. 

What do you have coming up in the new season?   

This year in Outerwear, the bomber is key for us, so we’ve got it coming in a variety of different fabrics, colours and prints. We’ve also got a feeling for a smarter look, so we’ve got some double-breasted pea coats, some textured overcoats in herringbone and ombre wool and a new style leather jacket in a rich tan colour - perfect for any dapper gent. And of course, we’ve also got the must-have hooded parkas!  

If you’re interested in becoming a fashion buyer, our specialist fashion courses offer one of the quickest routes to a career in fashion retail. Learn more about Level 4 Fashion Buying, Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising or our BA (Hons) Buying & Merchandising undergraduate degree.

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