Fashion buyers and merchandisers are key decision makers in the fashion industry and as such are required to constantly keep their fingers to the pulse of one of the world’s fastest moving industries. By tracking and analysing market trends it is their job to recommend to their employers the next direction to take in line with upcoming style shifts. As a fashion buyer your job will be to attend shows held in the fashion capitals of the world, forecast trends, buy the right clothes at the right time, whilst at the same time always ensuring profits and growth for the company.
The part time Fashion Buying and Merchandising course covers all the essential elements to turn a creative eye and an interest in fashion into a practical career in an incredibly exciting industry. Putting into practice the skills learned in class is key to gaining employment in the fashion industry. Our graduates have been incredibly successful gaining employment both at home and abroad. Much of this success is due to the established strong links with many of the main fashion buying and merchandising departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. Part-time students have the option to participate on the work experience placement programme, contribute to the Irish Fashion Designer Showcase and attend key events in the annual fashion calendar.
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 Certificate in Fashion Buying & Merchandising
QQI Level 5 minor award in Fashion Buying and Merchandising (5N1445)
QQI Level 5 minor award in Fashion Industry and Design Studies (5N3845)
QQI Level 5 minor award in Visual Display (5N1861)