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ROHIT.S PG FR
Working in the fashion retail industry – Careers in Fashion Retail
Employment opportunities in clothing, fashion and related media fields whether salaried or freelance, are often never advertised formally. Therefore, it is vital that we seek out companies that could potentially offer work and contact them directly. In order to do this we have to be able to identify companies, know who does what and whether what they do matches what we want to do. Through this I aim to help fellow students understand the different roles within product development within the fashion industry. I have included an overview of the types of organizations we might be working for and job descriptions for some of the major job roles in fashion retail sector. Which company to work for? When considering careers within fashion retail and manufacturing we need to think about the type of market level in which you want to work and what suits you. Are you interested in producing cheap or luxury goods? Do you want to work for a company where mass output is important, like Arcadia, M&S or for a specialty market? Within these markets there are different approaches. For example ‘The Gap’ is concerned with mass volume production but has a clearly defined product and target customer, where as M&S endeavors to produce products for people of all ages and for people of all walks of life.
Types of organizations
Very large Corporate PLCs - (400 - 600 stores) Advantages Structure & Training Up to date systems Company benefits Disadvantages Small fish in a big pond Competitive environment Large Independent Chains or Dept Stores - (100 - 300 stores) Advantages Structure and training Systems Flat management structure Disadvantages Cultural differences (i.e. dealing with strong corporate identities)
Tend to employ people who: Like an organized environment Have strong academic background Are focused Are competitive Have good communication skills Small Independent Chains/Single site retailers - (less than 100 stores) Advantages Big fish in a small pond Exposure to other areas Prestigious brands Disadvantages Fewer benefits Fewer transferable skills No structured training Tend to employ people who: Work on own initiative Like attention Are organized and efficient Are multi-skilled Have a hands on approach Take responsibility Manufacturers/Suppliers Suppliers often provide the link between the manufacturer and the retailer. A supplier will source manufacturers to produce their garments on behalf of the client retailer. Some retailers deal directly with their manufacturers and are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the production process. Some manufacturers and suppliers will have their own retail outlets to sell their stock. Advantages Pay more initially Possibly less competition for jobs Disadvantages Less structured career progression Geographical situation - may have to move First to be affected by changing economic climate
Jobs available in retail industry:
The roles of Allocator/Distributor are often found within the merchandising department, although some companies have a separate distribution and merchandising department. Distribution is the first point of contact for any queries between Head Office, Stores, Suppliers and the Distribution Centers. Such queries are dealt with using the PC based database system. The Distribution function accurately replenishes store stocks necessitated by the sale of products, and allocates new ranges of stock to the appropriate stores, providing analysis for Buying & Merchandising teams on past store sales and increasingly, identifying opportunities for the future fulfillment of potential store sales.
Some companies have a separate distribution section where Allocators/ Distributors work. For others this is the initial graduate entry point in a merchandising team. Allocation can be defined as the first stage of merchandising, involved with distributing stock to retail outlets using a computerized system under the guidance of the merchandising team
There are generally three times as many merchandising positions as buying positions and the role is fundamentally about liaising with suppliers to deliver the best performing products to customers. Merchandiser is expected to drive sales and profitability, setting targets which reflect future trends; to negotiate prices and production with suppliers; and to ensure stores are stocked with products the local customer wants to buy. The merchandising function is continually increasing in importance within major retail multiples and is an integral part of the Head Office buying process. Job titles under merchandising: Assistant Merchandiser Responsible for assisting the Merchandiser to plan stock and sales The work: Administration of the department Data entry –allocation of stock to stores Analysis of sales history to produce new season’s range plans e.g. using sales figures regarding styles, sizes, colors to form a view about what will sell in the future As experience widens will have responsibility for planning own area Ensures Allocators/Distributors effectively distribute stock Liaison closely with buyers, designers and suppliers
There are two types of buying. Firstly developing a product from concept to production, sign off each agreed style, check samples with garment technologists/QC and negotiate cost price as agreed/set by merchandising. Secondly buying readymade ranges (brands) from suppliers. Buyers are in charge of the cost price whereas merchandisers are in charge of the sell price, margins, budgets and forecasts. Job titles under buying: Buyer’s admin The work: Entering orders onto the system Looking at ‘best sellers’ on Monday’s and presenting to team Obtaining lab dips and samples from suppliers and ensuring quality standards Writing garment and size specifications for new lines Chasing deliveries and liaison with suppliers to help develop the product Liaising with distribution department Visiting branches Assistant buyer The work: Will buy own product area once experienced Justify decisions and range presentations to senior management teams Forecast with designers through analyzing past and future trends in order to determine the Percentage of the budget to be spent on different garments Visit manufacturers and factories (can include travel abroad), chase suppliers and deal with imports Assist in sourcing new suppliers Negotiate cost price and make sure have achieved margins Deal with press/PR and sometimes organize events like fashion shows
Deals with the promotion of products or brands within the market place. Securing sales orders and customer satisfaction, including after sales care. The sales role is also involved with developing new business. Job titles under Sales: Sales administrator Providing full back up to the sales team, often with the general day to day running of the showroom The work:
Inputting orders dealing with customer deliveries and returns General upkeep of showroom/office Helping with exhibitions and promotional fashion shows Responsible for distribution of samples, price lists, watches/books & brochures In house contact for Agents or Representatives The work will vary depending on how the sales team works within individual companies Retail manager Responsibility for the day-to-day management of a department store, this includes ensuring that sales targets are met. The focus of the Retail Manager’s job is to improve the commercial performance of the company, working towards an increased market share. The work: Managing and motivating a team to increase sales and efficiency Making key decisions relating to the constants demands of stock control Analyzing sales figures and forecasting to ensure maximization of sales and profits Organizing special promotions, displays and events Responding to customer complaints and comments Updating senior colleagues on business performance and new initiatives Initiating changes to ensure that the store can compete within the local market
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