So it's been a while since we've had a Breaking into Fashion post. For those new to the blog, I'll clue you in: from time to time, I interview insiders to give readers the scoop on how to break into Fashion Industry jobs.
For today's post, I'm answering a question from reader Brittany of Arkansas State University:
She says, "I am majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising and a Minor in Marketing...whew...lol! Because I'm in Arkansas, I know that it's going to be that much more difficult to break into the world of fashion. My dream job is to become a Fashion Buyer. I don't have much time since I'll be graduating in less than a year...any advice, pleaseeeee!! Thanks!!!"
To help you out, I got in touch with Krista Land...
...a buyer for Macy's in New York! A 2004 graduate of Howard University, Krista has been working at Macy's for three years.
Krista got her start with Inroads Inc, an internship program for minority students (inroads.org). She says, "I interned at a bank for 2 summers and then interned at Macy's for 2 summers. When I graduated, I was offered a spot in the Executive Training Program for the Macy's East Buying Office. I finished the few months of training in the program and became an Assistant Buyer. I was an Assistant Buyer for about 2 years. I am currently an Associate Buyer."
Buyers, who select and purchase apparel and accessories from designers, manufacturers or wholesalers, "need to have a good eye for fashion, be organized, and easily able to adapt to change," she says, "They should also be pretty good with numbers since those things play a big part in the job."
Being a buyer includes understanding customer likes and dislikes, keeping in touch with retail staffers to see if product is moving, and seeing if the company should buy more or less of an item. Krista, who has a Bachelors in Marketing, says the key to getting your foot in the door is an internship. "I would advise college students to intern in retail to get a feel for the business and have a better idea if it's something that they want to pursue," she says. For someone mid career, she encourages reading up on the profession, then contacting industry representatives for exploratory interviews.
Fashion buyers have a pretty fast paced lifestyle. "Day to day, I manage several departments (a few responsilbilites are maximizing sales performance, coming up with pricing strategies, reordering product that's selling well). There's a lot of analysis involved," she admits.
But as with any industry job, it seems you must start at the bottom before you climb to the top!
So Brittany (and anyone else out there), hope that was helpful!
*A hot preview of Oscar de la Renta's Fall 2008 Collection...
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