Fashion merchandisers are responsible for analyzing the store’s sales for the previous season so that they can make informed predictions on the company’s future performance. Your role involves finding out the demographics of the customer groups that your store serves and determining their ages and buying behaviors.
You will be in a position to find out the kinds of clothes that your store will stock and in what quantities. Your task centers on ensuring that the company gets the most profits and as much as possible be able to sell all inventory before fresh stocks for the new season comes in. You will be doing a lot of number crunching as you determine how best to make the business thrive in this highly-competitive industry.
A job as a fashion merchandiser is going to be far from the glamorous spotlight of the fashion runway. You won’t have the chance to rub elbows often with fashion models and meet with fashion designers. However, it is one of the most important positions in any fashion retail business because your analytical skill and solid business knowledge will be crucial in helping the business make profits, expand and survive for the long-term.
The research that fashion merchandisers do will also influence the work of fashion designers. Part of your work delves on studying the colors, types, textiles and designs that have a higher chance of being well-received by customers. You will be looking at industry magazines, fashion trends and other sources in order to come up with these predictions.
Your role will involve coordinating with store managers to inform them of the clothes, accessories and other merchandise that are delivered in their stores. In the event that a store was not able to sell all its previous season stock, the store manager works with fashion merchandisers to determine what the sale discount is for the items that have remained.
To succeed as a fashion merchandiser, you need to have a keen interest not only in fashion but in the business side of the industry. You must have the innate ability to determine the styles and trends that will most likely be a hit with customers. Since this is a very demanding position which will require you to do a lot of things at the same time, you need to know how to multitask without losing efficiency. You also need to be knowledgeable with computer software programs like Microsoft Excel so that you can organize your work.
Why Become A Fashion Merchandiser
One reason to become a fashion merchandiser is that it allows you to combine your deep love for fashion with the analytical side of running a business. The job provides a certain level of fulfillment especially if it was your research on trends that guided fashion designers in creating new styles that have become very popular and saleable in the current season.
Being able to overcome the problems that are inherent in this profession also make this a very satisfying career for those who welcome challenges at work. Another reason to make fashion merchandising a career is that it can be a very lucrative profession the longer you stay there and become more experienced with the industry.
Fashion Merchandiser Work Environment
Fashion merchandisers work in department stores, children’s clothing stores and other fashion outlets. They may also work for a designer who carries his own clothing brand or a textile maker. The job may entail some travel to fashion shows to check out the latest trends or to a fabric manufacturing company within the country or abroad to order fabrics for the designer to use.
Fashion merchandisers typically do their research and trend analyses in the comfort of their very own offices. Fashion merchandisers have very hectic and demanding schedules. It is normal to work very long hours and even during weekends.
Fashion Merchandiser Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not gather data for the wages of fashion merchandisers. However, surveys from private sources revealed that the entry-level salary for this profession can be as low as $24,000. Those with anywhere from three to five years of experience earn an average of $43,000 a year with the low end pegged at close to $33,000 and the higher paid earning nearly $53,000.
Fashion designers working in Washington, D.C. receive higher wages compared to those working in other parts of the United States at about $68,000 annually. Meanwhile, fashion merchandisers in Mississippi were paid the lowest at $34,000.
Fashion Merchandiser Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not gather the employment rate data for fashion merchandisers. However, it does have the employment rate for wholesale and retail buyers that work closely with fashion merchandisers. For these professionals, the Bureau of Labor Statistics places the employment rate at seven percent for the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022.
This rate is slower than the average rate for all job types. When the projected three percent decline of fashion designers in the same time period is taken into consideration, it can be surmised that the employment rate of fashion merchandisers is not going to as high. Because of this, fashion merchandisers need to be ready to face tough competition for existing jobs.
Fashion Merchandiser Degree
The entry point towards becoming a fashion merchandiser is a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising or related field. In these programs, students learn about fashion retail marketing, fashion buying, retail marketing and promotion and retail management, among others.
These programs also allow their students to have a real hands-on experience in the field through internship programs in fashion retail stores.
Those who wish to earn money while they are learning the ins-and-outs of the job can seek out special fashion merchandising training programs in retail outlets. In many cases, the student who is able to finish the program successfully will be employed by the same retail store.