I often find myself in conversations regarding what I do. I am an assistant buyer at a women's clothing catalog and prior to that I was a manager/assistant buyer at a women's boutique. Being in the fashion industry for about 6 years here are some fun facts. It is not all glitz and glamour.
You Need Degree
Just like any other field one must complete a degree to get an entry level position. There are always a handful of exceptions to this but the fashion industry is competitive and most times a degree is mandatory. By schooling I don't mean the "History of Polka Dots" class mentioned in Legally Blonde. I received my bachelor's of science in Fashion Merchandising, this included classes such as history of fashion, product development, consumer behavior-the list goes on. To be in the fashion industry you need to understand the consumer to be able to properly deliver what they desire. Heck, I wrote my senior thesis on reviving manufacturing in the USA. Try glamourizing that.
You have to do the Dirty Work to get to the Top
Before my promotion at the boutique I was a Sales Associate. Aside from assisting customers I had to steam boxes of clothes, clean the bathrooms, take out the trash etc. As mentioned I then got promoted where I gained more responsibility and experience. That was when I started to go to NYC for buying trips. Now that I have graduated college and begun my new job at the catalog I find myself working up from the bottom again, making copies and entering products. This isn't a new concept, like any other field you need to gain the experience to get to the top.
Buying Trips are Rather Exhausting
I think buying is one of my favorite aspects of the job but these trips are rather exhausting. Picture it 3 days of work, running from showrooms to shows and making appointments. Not only are you trying to find the perfect merchandise to fit your customer base but there are a million other things you need to think about like when is the product going to come in, how much over stock do you anticipate you'll have to take a mark down on, how can you market this to your customer, what kind of promotional email should you send out, what kind of profit margin will you be able to accomplish. How about deciphering between your personal style and the consumers. By the time you get back to the hotel room your head has been spinning a million miles a minute and all you want to do is crash just to get up and do it again the following day. Then the desire to shop for yourself seems to diminish.
Sometimes you Prefer Mannequins Over People
Don't get me wrong I have loved everyone I have worked with and for but sometimes you prefer mannequins over people. In a field mainly run by the female sex you can only imagine the issues created by estrogen. It is important to keep in mind not to take things personally and to develop a back bone real quick.
I hope you learned some things about the industry. Although I absolutely adore my job and the industry I find myself battling a lot of misconceptions. I got in this industry because I wanted to teach women to dress for themselves and their beautiful figure in turn giving them the confidence they deserve. This goal is what keeps me going. Till Saturday dolls, enjoy the rest of your week.
Stay Sassy & God Bless xo
P.S. I hope you also enjoyed my mediocre iPhone pics LOL