A textile buyer is someone who works for a company that makes either clothing or furniture. It is usually the buyer’s responsibility to purchase materials made of natural or synthetic fibers. Furthermore, most buyers make use of their extensive knowledge of the products and industry to obtain high-quality, high-demand products at the lowest possible price.
When a textile buyer realizes that the company’s inventory is running low, he or she usually looks for products that will appeal to potential customers to replace it. The buyer typically conducts extensive research on potential suppliers to determine which ones can deliver textiles that meet quality standards in the quantities required and within the time frame specified. Once those suppliers have been identified, the buyer will usually enter into negotiations to close the deal.
Successful textile buyers have a diverse set of skills. The majority of buyers are knowledgeable about textiles and are aware of the differences between high-quality and low-quality materials. He or she usually has a thorough understanding of the entire textile industry.
Another important skill for a textile buyer is the ability to negotiate. When the components of the finished product are purchased, the profit margins of a company are determined. The company will already know what price the market will bear for the finished product before purchasing these components — the price of each component determines the overall profitability of each item. The buyer can help keep the price of materials low using good negotiation skills, thereincreasing the company’s profit margin.
A company that makes competition garments for figure skaters, for example, uses Lycra®, thread, and Swarovski crystals in each outfit. The company knows that the going price for each outfit is around $1,000 USD, and that the fabric, thread, and crystals cost $400 USD, giving it a profit of $600 USD on each garment. The profit on each garment increases if the textile buyer can negotiate a lower price on the components.
Because many textile buyers get their materials from overseas, knowing a foreign language and understanding foreign currencies can help them save money. While some buyers rise through the ranks of the textile industry from lower-level positions, others enter with a strong background in business and marketing and learn the industry as they go. In either case, a successful textile buyer is typically made up of a combination of negotiation and marketing skills as well as a thorough understanding of the textile industry.