This full-time Fashion Buying and Merchandising programme encompasses the foundations that are necessary to succeed as a fashion buyer in today’s competitive environment. While fashion trends change from season to season the fundamental role of the fashion buyer and fashion merchandiser remains the same. As a fashion buyer, or fashion buyer assistant, you will play an integral role within the infrastructure of the retail team, tracking and analysing seasonal trends, ensuring production costs are kept within budget and most importantly, ensuring profit and growth for the company. You must have a good eye for style and trends together with a great sense of design and creativity, but foremost you must have good business acumen to achieve sales targets. Salaries for buyers start at €26,000 whilst Merchandiser salaries start at €32,000 per annum.
Putting into practice the skills learned in class is key to gaining employment in the fashion industry. Portobello Institute has established a strong network of connections with many of the main fashion buying and merchandising departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. We have developed a work experience placement programme for our students to participate on with some of the leading fashion brands in Ireland. These include brands operating in the luxury fashion arena such as Brown Thomas and Harvey Nichols to brands operating in fast-moving high fashion such as Primark and Vera Moda. Companies participating on our work experience placement programme invest considerable time in our students and recruit directly from the placement programme.
This Fashion Buying and Merchandising course introduces you to the busy but exciting world of fashion. The relevant field trips, events and guest lecturers all enhance your opportunity to gain further relevant and practical experience. You will learn to prepare mood boards, retail display and analyse fashion trends in line with customer needs. This course is designed to prepare our graduates to undertake a variety of roles within the fashion industry by introducing subjects from the worlds of fashion, business and retailing which are customized to the needs of the fashion industry.
A retail buyer is responsible for planning and selecting a range of products to sell in retail outlets. The buyer must consider the following factors when making purchasing decisions:
- Customer demand, including price, quality and availability assortment
Buyers source new merchandise and review existing items to ensure products remain competitive. By fully understanding customer needs, they are able to maximise profits and provide a commercially viable range of merchandise at competitive prices. Keeping up to date with market trends and reacting to changes in demand are key elements of the role.
Retail buyers have a considerable amount of responsibility and autonomy in what is often a pressured environment.
Typical work activities can vary according to the season. This is particularly true for those working in fashion. For example, out of season, the majority of time will be spent in the workplace (in the office and on the shop floor), and during the buying season, a significant amount of time will be spent away from the workplace in order to assemble a new collection of merchandise.
The Retail Merchandiser
Merchandisers are responsible for ensuring that products appear in the right store, or on a website, at the appropriate time and in the correct quantities. This involves working closely with the buying teams to accurately forecast trends, plan stock levels and monitor performance.
While the buyer selects the lines, the merchandiser decides how much money should be spent, how many lines should be bought, and in what quantities. In smaller companies, the same person may be responsible for both buying and merchandising.
Merchandisers play a key role within organisations, as profitability can be affected by how successfully they undertake their work. Merchandisers set prices to maximise profits and manage the performance of ranges, planning promotions and markdowns as necessary. They also oversee delivery and distribution of stock and deal with suppliers.
Portobello Institute Certificate in Fashion Buying and Merchandising
QQI Level 5 Major Award in Retail Practice (5M2105)
Entry is by direct application to Portobello Institute and is based on interview selection.