A clothing retailer employs an assistant fashion buyer to assist one or more buyers, who are in charge of planning and purchasing the retailer’s clothing lines. As glamorous as the title may appear, an assistant fashion buyer is primarily responsible for behind-the-scenes administrative tasks, leaving runway shows and international travel to her superiors. She may be asked to analyze sales trends, assist in pricing decisions, and develop marketing strategies. She might also be in charge of inventory management and processing supplier invoices. In order to work in this field, you must first obtain a fashion degree and work experience in the industry.
While senior fashion buyers are soaking up new runway trends and visiting clothing suppliers, an assistant fashion buyer is usually working behind the scenes, bridging the gap between the buyer’s purchases and the actual appearance of products on store shelves. Before selling clothing to customers, retailers must conduct market research to determine what types of clothing are likely to sell, how much customers are willing to pay for similar items, and how products should be marketed. In some cases, working in collaboration with a retailer’s marketing department, an assistant fashion buyer may be required to prepare detailed reports in all of these areas. She’ll probably have to study past sales records and possibly familiarize herself with the products, price points, and marketing tactics of competing retailers to get the information she needs to compile reports.
Managing inventory and supplier accounts is another important aspect of the assistant buyer’s job. Before new inventory is distributed to retail outlets, she may need to photograph samples of it. She might also be in charge of keeping track of inventory levels and ordering extra garments from suppliers when the stock in the stores runs out. In some cases, an assistant buyer is in charge of processing supplier invoices and ensuring that suppliers are compensated for inventory provided.
Those who want to work as an assistant fashion buyer should have a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, fashion design, or a related field. Working in a retail store or interning at a design house may be required, as well as one or more years of experience in the clothing industry. An assistant fashion buyer who proves herself capable may be promoted to full-fledged buyer, a position that often comes with a slew of benefits, including international travel.