Children's Wear Buyer Jobs - Fashion & Clothing Industry Buyers Job Description
Children's wear is a fun area in which to be a buyer. Not because of the adorable clothing and the bears and bunnies, though it's fun because children's wear is a product area that is usually already a successful seller. It's fun because children's styles don't change as quickly as adult styles do, so you don't have to nearly predict the future, like you do in many other fashion industry purchasing jobs.
That does not mean, however, that one can step into this role without a healthy degree of experience. It's a bunny-eat-bunny world out there. Most companies seek candidates for this position who already have at least three years in either a senior purchasing position or in children's wear, working with major retailers.
The duties of a children's wear buyer will probably also include a selection of footwear and children's accessories. It will be your duty to find new sources to supply these items. You will develop the range of children's wear and children's products to best suit the needs of your customers. In footwear, and even more in accessories, trend forecasting comes into play quite a bit more than it does in just straight children's apparel purchases.
You must have good communication skills, as you will work with designers on concepts for innovating the products, merchandisers on promotional strategies, and the rest of your buying team on reaching sales margins and growth goals.
As is the case with many senior buyer positions, having worked with overseas suppliers in India or other Eastern countries, is a sizable advantage. If you don't have contacts in manufacturing and sales in India and the Far East, those relationships can be created. (These geographical areas tend to produce attractive apparel and accessories that sell well due to both mass appeal and affordability.)
You will make pre-season orders of merchandise, and make decisions involving stocking the stores with inventory in all the right categories not too much, not too little. When you are planning for the upcoming seasons, keep focused on the company culture and the brand identity. The personality of an upscale children's boutique brand is very different from that of Gap or Gymboree.
Conducting or studying market research will help in your pre-season decision-making. You will continue to search for new brands or products to carry, or to work with designers to create in-house designs. The children's wear buyer communicates regularly with new people while sourcing new products.
You will also find yourself making negotiations with suppliers for the best discounts, payment terms, and delivery times/methods available.
Attendance at photo shoots could be part of your job duties, as well. Your visual merchandising skills will be put to the test during selection of items for print catalogs and promotions if necessary. You may have to work with the marketing team to plan pricing and promotional strategies.
In addition, you will be a part of a team inside of a much larger entity your company. You will need to communicate effectively with lots of different people in several departments on a regular basis in order to do your job. The key word is effectively quickly and clearly and politely. It's easier to say than to do.
With so much to do, by the end of the day, most children's wear buyers will sleep like babies!
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