Footwear Buyer Jobs - Fashion & Clothing Industry Footwear Buyer Job Description
|Fashion Jobs Women's Footwear|
So you're looking for a career as a footwear buyer?
Well if the shoe fits
As with any senior buying position, having a background of at least three years as a senior buyer, or in footwear, will give you a leg up (ahem) on the competition. Working as an assistant footwear buyer, or as doing admin work for a senior buyer, especially a footwear buyer, will put you a step ahead of other applicants. (If you would like more information on what the requirements are for an accessories buyer or assistant buyer, please visit links to those descriptions in the Buying/purchasing Jobs Fashion and Textile Industry section of our site, ApparelSearch.com.)
It is not unheard of for the job of footwear buyer to include the purchasing of other accessories, such as handbags, so experience in the area of accessories purchasing could be helpful as well.
In order to gain your footing as a successful shoe buyer, you will need to have a knack for seeing the future. In other words, success in the footwear business depends largely on keeping a close eye on the market and developing appropriate strategies for the entire calendar year. This includes both timely and accurate ordering, as well as effective promotions. It will be your job to enter pre-season ordering with the facts in hand, and manage to neither overload nor understock products in any category or product group. You very well may have to work with an inventory analyst or risk analyst to manage this task. You also will be responsible for seeking out new products and for previewing the latest, greatest footwear items and trends out there. It is highly likely that you will find yourself traveling to trade shows, meetings, and demonstrations in order to find the newest market trends.
The footwear buyer is responsible for filling the shelves with an exciting selection based on the directives of your company. You will walk the line between having a fantastic assortment for your stores and end consumers and meeting gross sales margins, which you will probably have helped to determine/project. The ability to interpret numerical data and make informed decisions from that data is mandatory in order to perform this part of the job.
Good communication and people skills are also a must. Although a footwear buyer must possess the ability to handle a large degree of autonomy and have top-notch organizational skills, you will also need to have the ability to work well within a team. Your department's strategy is part of a bigger picture that of the company. You will also have to work with people in several other departments, including inventory, accounting, and marketing.
Footwear buyers have to be familiar enough with visual merchandising to select items for print catalogs and other promotions, if called upon to do so. You may have to work with the merchandising/marketing team to plan pricing strategies, as well as promotional ones. Those communication skills will come in handy here, as the buyer is often the one who will share the promotional strategies with the vendor.
Interactions with the vendor do not end with sharing promotional strategies. The ability to handle vendor negotiations with candor and grace is past of every successful footwear buyer's repertoire. Payment terms and shipping dates that are in line with your accounting and inventory departments projections will have to be negotiated with vendors and suppliers. It helps to keep contact information very up-to-date.
Keeping track of all this requires some basic knowledge of spreadsheets and databases. If you don't have this experience (although we at Apparel Search think that if you have made it to a senior buyer position, you probably do) or simply don't have the time, another aspect of your job will be to develop and manage (okay, let's just cut to the chase and say train) an assistant footwear buyer or an administrative assistant.
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