Saturday, 24 November 2012


Hey lovelies! How's your weekend going? 

Gosh, it's been a while, but really, I've been dying to share part two of "I want this Job" Footwear Buyer for Topshop, since Jo has moved onwards & upwards and I wanted to follow up on what she's up to now. If you missed part one, check it out here first. You'll find that Jo spills the beans on what it's like to have a career in Fashion Buying along with a sneak peak into what it's like working for another amazing British High Street brand.
Where do you work?  Whistles, London
Job title: Buyer - Shoes and Accessories
Ba Hons Fashion, BAA (Buyers Admin Assistant) at BHS 2000-2002, AB (Assistant Buyer) at Dolcis 2002-2003, AB at TOPSHOP 2003-2006, JB (Junior Buyer) 2006-2008, Buyer 2008-2010, Designer and Sales 2010-2012, Established Buyer 2012.
What does the job involve? 
Responsible for building a balanced range in terms of price points, end-use, mix of casual/dressy and core range/top store. (imagine a pyramid - the bottom tier is the core/main range - the top being the design/top store pieces -smaller buy) We work on 3 hits per season - phase one, phase two and high summer or Xmas and it is bought as a collection so everything ties in together in terms of the colour palette, trims, prints, silhouettes and details creating a considered, confident and cohesive collection. 
This is put together working closely with the designer and the merchandiser, looking at past best and worst sellers and new emerging trends. Finally when all the samples are back, the range plan is worked out with the merchandiser and presented and signed off with the management team.
  via Google images

What's your general day to day working pattern like? 
Monday is always the busiest. We go through all the sales and figures from the week before and forecast the sales for the following week. (This is a huge wadge of paper with all the styles etc which all Buyers have to go through to check the sales figures/how fast/slow something is selling, I remember the first time I saw one of these and was incredibly overwhelmed) We analyse each style in terms of sales and react accordingly. If something is selling well we will look to repeat it quickly or move it on with something newer that might take those sales as long as it fits with the on-coming trends and collection in store. 
If something has reacted poorly whether its a style, colour or trend, we try to amend and adjust any orders placed that are similar and pose a threat to our sales, The rest of the week is spent working with the team (design, merchandiser, Assistant Buyer and BAA).... 
Chasing samples and re-working them, fitting and confirming black seal samples, confirming production samples, chasing delivery dates, placing orders, negotiating prices, meeting with suppliers, strategising the on-coming season, trend research (using blogs, magazines, websites such as net a porter and We also try and get out to shops as much as we can to look at what the competition are doing and look for new ideas from aspirational brands and vintage stores.

 via Google images
Working hours? 
9am until 6pm but sometimes work late and when we're travelling the hours can be long!
Travel: Buying trips? What trade shows do you attend, trips abroad etc?  

Lineappelle leather fair in Bolognia, Premiere Classe in Paris, Micam shoe trade fair in Milan. Shops - Paris, New York, Milan, LA, HK.....Factory visits in Brazil, China, Spain, Portugal and India. There's a lot travel involved but you generally have someone to share it with!
What do you love about this job? Any extra perks? 
The beautiful product, the buzz, the lovely, creative and passionate team.  
Our inspiring visionary, CEO Jane Shepherson. We also have amazing sample sales where we can buy something that's not in store yet for a tenth of the price and all proceeds go to charity.

 Remi Chain Necklace £65 - I just adore this so much!

What's not so great about this job? 
Not sure - its all great at the moment! Sales are good, but when sales are down its tough - as with any business - and requires some quick thinking, strategic planning and some risk-taking!
How different is this role compared to your Buying role at Topshop? 
The customer is more mature with a higher disposable income so she comes into the store looking to invest in an item. She has high expectations in terms of quality and styling and is generally a loyal/frequent shopper so the range planning is really focused around this and the collection is considered, planned and phased throughout the season, rather than a rolling, monthly buying calender that is a lot more reactive to sales and has a large amount of different options.
 Kir Royale Suede Boot £150 here
What you wish you'd known & advice to anyone looking to get into the Buying industry?  
Hard to answer this as every company is different and the buying role can be as creative or as number crunching as you make it. Advice would be for anyone getting into buying to target a brand you are passionate about and identify with. Success can come from having good taste levels and a personal love for the product. You have to be able to juggle alot at the same time and be flexible in the a fast paced environment. Change occurs a lot due to sales reactions, new trends emerging or price/lead times making things unworkable so you have to be adaptable and motivated to move forward constantly and learn from your mistakes.
Everyday essentials:  
Trainers or ballet pumps, 2 blackberries (one work, one personal), Chanel rouge Coco shine lipstick, Chloe love perfume, Mulberry diary and notebook, Benefit hula bronzer, calculator, business cards and my new LULU Frost for Whistles statement diamante necklace (online now!)
You've been a shoe product developer/designer, which celebrity would you love to design a shoe for and why? 

 I love Rita Ora! - maybe I could come up with the ultimate heeled hi-top trainer for her?! ;0)
 via GQ mag
Any style secrets you'd like to share?  
Not sure I withhold any secrets but if you want to be the envy of everyone in your office, lectures or local pub then this seasons varsity jacket from Whistles is a must and you can get your initials sewn on - need I say more?!
As a Buyer, what's your attitude to shopping, seeing as you always work a season ahead? Is it not difficult buying accessories and footwear? Do you prefer to invest in key pieces with longevity? 
It's not difficult but can certainly make a dent in your bank account! Absolutely all about investing in key less and pay more seems to be a growing trend. De clutter your wardrobe and invest in key staple pieces that you'll wear and love for years, Plus you save time in the morning trying to decide what to wear!

 Pure sophistication: Beatrice Box bag £85

 Which beauty product can you not live without? 
Carmex, Bobbi Brown extra eye repair cream and L'Occitane shea butter hand cream  - nothing else will do!

Thank you so so much Jo! I hope you all enjoyed this!
For more fashion careers in the "I want this job" series, please click here.

Pin It


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...