Handbag Buyer Job Description by Apparel Search Company

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Handbag Buyer

Become a Handbag Buyer

So you want to spend your days and nights immersed in the purse? It's definitely possible, as long as you know that most handbag buyers already have experience in purchasing purses or accessories.  Not for their personal collection, of course
as a junior buyer or senior buyer's administrative staff. If you have at least three years as a junior buyer or buyer's admin, then you could have this job, ahem, in the bag. 

If you're looking at this as a career, you are probably already an ambitious assistant buyer with six months experience or more, or an accessories buyer who is looking to find a niche.  Many firms prefer that their buyers be graduates in fashion design, although this requirement varies by company, and is often disregarded in lieu of experience.

Apparel Search isn't looking to discourage you - if you have experience in handbags or accessories either in a purchasing or retail environment at all, it could prove helpful to purse purchasing prospects, so to speak.

The handbag buyer may also be responsible for buying a range of accessories, most of which will probably have a direct relation to handbags, such as wallets and cell phone cases, and some which are more general accessories, like scarves.

Your enthusiasm for fashion is a key factor in your success as and handbag buyer.  In strategy meetings, you will be called upon to think ahead to what consumers will be looking for in the coming season.  You will order pre-season merchandise, so stocking the stores with enough inventory in each product category will be in your hands.  The latest purse is harder to find than just about any other fashion accessory.  Women will get on waiting lists for the right bag.  And the right handbag can change faster than event the right pants or dress. 

Successful handbag buyers know what is hot, and what is about to be.  They are as passionate about their companies as they are about fashion, and make decisions that are in line with the company culture and the personality of the brand.  For example, smaller brands are usually more design-led than name-led.  A smaller company will probably allow for more innovation and creativity in design than a larger one that has specific image and a brand identity to keep in the forefront.  The culture is going to vary depending on if you are shopping for a mass retailer, or picking the next Kate Spade or Louis Vuitton to carry.

The senior handbag buyer will want to stay up on market research and continue to source new brands and designs within current brands that your customers/retailers are carrying. Even women who don't pay much attention to clothing fads know what a good impression the right handbag makes.

You don't want to be a negotiating novice, either. What does a handbag buyer negotiate?  A senior handbag buyer will negotiate with suppliers for optimum discounts and payment terms, and for quick delivery. 

Good communication and people skills are a must.  Although a handbag buyer must possess the ability to handle a large degree of autonomy, you also need to function well in a team environment.  Your department's strategy is part of a bigger picture
that of the company.  If a handbag buyer is working with a designer, care must be taken to ensure an understanding between the buyer and the designer about the best way to balance creativity with commercial needs.

In addition to working out the basics with the designer(s), the handbag buyer will display strong presentation skills for the senior managers. The ability to interpret numerical data is as important to the job of handbag buyer as creativity is.  Handbag buyers must be mentally ambidextrous, so to speak.  The best projections and presentations are informed ones, and you want your decisions to be easy to present to senior execs, and ultimately more profitable for the company.

You may have to attend photo shoots and be familiar enough with visual merchandising to select items for print catalogs and promotions.  In that case, you will work with the merchandising team to plan pricing and promotional strategies.

Most handbag buyers have an assistant buyer. If you have past experience as an assistant buyer, you understand the drive required for that position.  That knowledge makes managing and developing an assistant buyer less daunting.  You will be better equipped to give them a, um, hand.

Find a job as a Handbag Buyer.

Welcome to the handbag buyer job description section of the Apparel Search employment directory.  In this section of our guide we present information relevant to a career as a handbag buyer.  Although for many of our career descriptions we provide information that we have developed internally, a large portion of this section relies heavily on user input.  No one knows a career path better than someone that has actually worked in the particular position.  Therefore, we welcome members of the fashion community to submit their personal experience to this page.  Active members of the fashion industry are welcome to contribute to the job descriptions by using the comment area below.

If you have previously or currently work as a handbag buyer please add your insight to the community discussion.  Educators such as fashion school teachers and knowledgeable garment industry veterans are also welcome to comment.  Let's all work together to help educate the world about various fashion careers.  More specifically, let's education regarding this particular career path.

Please only post educational information or questions specifically relevant to the job of a handbag buyer.
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