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Buyer

Industries:
Fashion and Textiles
Personality type:
Entrepreneur
Departments:
Apparel | Footwear | Technical Textiles | Textiles

The lowdown

  • Purchasing the raw materials or equipment required for the manufacturing process
  • Finding products for sale and trade to retailers

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have planning, budgeting and negotiation skills
  • work under pressure
  • work to deadlines
  • have strong literacy, numeracy and IT skills
  • be creative
  • develop ideas 
  • be ahead of the market

What does a Buyer do?

Buyers work throughout the fashion, footwear, textile and apparel industries.

They often work alongside senior management staff to determine buying requirements and budgets. Fashion Buyers also work closely with design teams to research and inform new trends and plan ranges.

They source fabrics and trims as well as finding suppliers and factories. They negotiate prices and deliveries, while following and facilitating the full production process of garments.

Buyers manage the fit and quality control processes to ensure they meet company standards. They then present and justify ranges to senior management.

Buyers also work alongside a merchandising team who review historical sales and other data. This team controls the financial budgets and works with the Buyers to plan the introduction of new ranges, control mark downs of stock and conduct sales forecasting.

The working hours of a Buyer can vary from company to company but they mostly work normal office hours of between 37 and 40 hours a week. Longer hours and overtime may be required to meet deadlines and when travelling.

A Buyer is usually office-based but will be required to travel both within the UK and overseas to meet with suppliers and attend trade shows.

What might I earn?

A Buyers Administration Assistant can expect to start on a salary of £12,000 to £18,000. An Assistant Buyer earns £18,000 to £23,000, a Junior Buyer £23,000 to £28,000. A Buyer earns £26,000 to £46,000 and finally a Buying Manager could earn from £45,000 to £80,000 depending on experience, the size of the company and its profitability.

Will I need a qualification?

You will find that employers usually expect a candidate to be educated to A-level, HND or degree standard. Many larger companies run training schemes and experience of the industry is also valued highly.

Many universities now offer degrees in buying, specifically for the fashion or textile markets.

Professional qualifications are available from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) to enable Buyers to progress their career, including Certificates and Diplomas in Purchasing and Supply.

You could also take an ABC Award, Certificate or Diploma in Business for Creative Practitioners.

What's the best route in?

The typical career route is to enter a business as a BAA (Buyers Administration Assistant). Normally you will need to work as a BAA for two years, however faster progression is possible.

You could then expect to move into the role of Assistant Buyer, again this role will normally last two years. At both of these stages you will have no responsibility for managing finances or budgets but you will be assisting the department in varying functions.

Following this is progression into the roles of Junior Buyer, Buyer then finally Buying Manager. Advancement through these stages is related to the amount of money you control within your budget and your commercial success.

Where might the role take me?

Buyers within the fashion and textile industry may be able to move into related areas, such as distribution, logistics, merchandising, sales, marketing or management.

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

Publications

  • Childrenswear Buyer (CWB)
  • Womenswear Buyer (WWB)
  • Menswear Buyer (MWB)
  • Drapers
  • Textiles

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