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What Does a Fashion Merchandiser Do?
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Fashion merchandiser can be an ideal job for skilled multitaskers with a solid background in business and a true passion for fashion. Although it's not one of those glamorous fashion careers that grant you opportunities to attend grand fashion shows in New York City or work closely with supermodels, it does allow you to take part in various interesting aspects of the industry. In a nutshell, the fashion merchandising job is mainly about number crunching and profit maximizing. It's a very important position in the fashion retail industry, which requires a lot of analytical, team-working and decision-making skills. If you are more interested in the aesthetic and creative side of fashion, this might not be the right career choice for you. If you have a good head for figures and like the idea of blending fashion with business, however, you would probably enjoy the job of a fashion merchandiser quite a bit.
Fashion Merchandiser Job Description
In most retail businesses, fashion merchandisers usually work in the head offices along with the assistant merchandisers and the buying teams. Yet, in some smaller chains or independent retailers, the merchandiser may fulfill the role of the fashion buyer as well. In this career guide, we are going to discuss the responsibilities of a merchandiser only, not those of a buyer.
Traits and Skills Needed for a Fashion Merchandising Career
- Interest in fashion
- Analytical skills
- Business-oriented thinking
- Ability to be a great team player
- Organizational and multitasking skills
- Computer skills, especially Microsoft Excel
Analyze Previous Sales
Fashion merchandisers look into the past to predict the future. They analyze previous seasons' sales and get a clear understanding of what sold well, what didn't, what made a good profit, and what had to be discounted in order to sell. In addition, they also study their customer groups to define the average ages, purchasing behaviors and motivations to buy. All this information allows fashion merchandisers to determine what styles of garments are more likely to sell in different stores and how many items should be distributed to each store. The ultimate goal is to maximize profit and not to have any unsold product at the end of the season.
Work on Clothing-Line Plans
Apart from the number crunching and analyzing process, fashion merchandisers also work closely with the buying and designing teams to come up with a "line plan" for each new clothing line. While designers and buyers are more keen to focus on the creative aspects and fashion trends, it is merchandisers' responsibility to advise them what colors, styles or types of fabric are more likely to sell well and make profit.
Useful College Courses for This Fashion Career
- Business Studies
- Retail Operations
- Communication Studies
- Commercial Implications
- Fashion Management
Create Pricing Guidelines
Although fashion buyers usually have final say on product prices, merchandisers' role in the pricing process is also significant. As the one with the most insight about the buying trends and target customers, the fashion merchandiser usually helps the buyer create an ideal price range, as well as predict what items are likely to sell at full prices and what items may need to be discounted at the end of the season.
Coordinate with Each Store
Once the products are ready, a fashion merchandiser lets store managers know how many of each garment are being sent to their stores. If there are products left over at the end of the season, the merchandiser will usually collaborate with the store managers to decide on discounts. Some fashion merchandisers also get involved in the displaying process by working with each store's visual merchandiser and making sure the garments are being showcased in a chic and engaging way.