Fashion buyers (also known as apparel buyers) are paid to shop for a living. Buyers, often employed by small boutiques or larger department stores, purchase clothing and accessories from designers, manufacturers or wholesalers, either on their own discretion or following the selections of their store's merchandisers or sourcers. A buyer's business goal is to create the best overall customer experience in a store to encourage sales. They do this by analyzing trends and providing an assortment of apparel and accessories that would be of interest to the customer and also meet the store's brand image.
Fashion design buyers travel as needed to search for products at trade shows, preview new items that suppliers are offering, present these new products to company executives, and negotiate prices and margins. They also track orders and make sure that purchased items are delivered on time to where they need to go.
Like most other fashion professionals, buyers need to consider target markets and key trends when they make their purchasing decisions. And to make good deals for their companies, fashion buyers also need to find the highest quality products for the best price. Buyers study sales records and inventory levels, identify reputable foreign and domestic suppliers, and keep abreast of changes that may affect the supply and demand for specific fashion products and materials.
Education: Fashion buyers should have a college degree in fashion merchandising or a related field. Coursework in fashion design and business is helpful.
Schools that offer degrees in fashion merchandising include the Art Institutes Online, the International Academy of Design and Technology, Westwood College, American Art University, and Keiser University.