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How to be a buyer for a home shopping retailer

This week Henry Fox director Devorah Albert talks to Drapers about how to get a job as a buyer for a home shopping retailer.

In order to get into buying, which is a highly competitive career, you should ideally aim to do a relevant degree course within product development or fashion merchandising. [However] what is more important is relevant work experience. So you should try to secure an internship as part of your degree or a placement within a buying office.  This will enable you to get into an entry level buying assistant role.

Most employers will provide on the job training and it will take on average five to six years to work your way up the ladder to buyer level.  You will need to be creative with a passion for product as well as being highly organised with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills. 

Being a buyer is incredibly varied as you will be responsible for keeping abreast of the latest trends, developing supplier relationships, working with design and technical teams to develop products and presenting your them to senior management – where you will need to be able to justify a commercial range.  If you work for a home shopping retailer, then in addition to the above, you will also get involved in pagination and will brief photographers on getting the right online and catalogue images. You will need to be prepared to travel to visit overseas factories and to complete trend shopping. 

Being a buyer is an exciting but often pressurised career option. However, the best part of the job is seeing your products selling either in store or online.

Salaries range from £40,000 to £55,000 plus benefits.

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