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Think you’re a top buyer?

Next product director Christos Angelides challenged Next Generation delegates to prove their buying stripes


1 Why did you join your company?

2 Which of the following is the most important quality to have as a buyer?

  • Hard-working
  • Passionate
  • Team player
  • Confidence

3 Which is the most important skill to have as a buyer?

  • Be good at product
  • Be good with numbers
  • Know what the customer wants
  • Intelligence

4 Rank the following in order of importance to the customer’s purchasing decision:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Colour
  • Trend
  • Style
  • Fabric

5 Which is the best-selling outfit from Next’s spring 11 collection?


1Think not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for it. “Firms and chief executives want to know what you can offer them, not vice-versa.”

2 None. These are all useful skills but no one quality stands out for employers.

3 Know what the customer wants. This is the single most important thing. If you know this, you will succeed. “I don’t care if someone arrives late, is bad-tempered or timid if they know what the customer wants.”

4 Trend, colour, style, fabric, quality, price. “The most important thing transcends whatever is going on in the economy or age. The best lines are in some way always driven by trend.”

5 B. “It’s not always easy to know what [the customer] wants.”

Angelides’ tips on making it as a buyer

Know your customer
You need to keep coming back to this every minute of the day. The customer doesn’t care if you’re good at managing open-to-buy or designing a sketch. If you sit in a meeting for two hours, is it relevant?

It’s not if it’s not what the customer wants you to do. There are at least 10 things to think about on what the customer wants. They expect you to think about what they want all the time. That’s what you’re paid to do.

Have courage
You’ve got to be able to stand up in a crowd or in a selection room if you believe in a garment and it goes against what people are saying. The simplest thing is always to fail as a group rather than stand out as an individual. Be yourself but don’t pretend to know it all. If people get to know who you are as an individual, they will trust you whether you get it wrong or right. Be honest.

Your career is in your hands
It’s not a manager’s or training department’s position or responsibility to help you succeed. If you rely on other people you won’t go as far.
You get out what you put in so that means hard work. If you work 9am to 6pm and someone as good as you works 7am to 7pm or every weekend they do store visits, they will go further and get there faster.

Enjoy the ride
This is a great industry but you will have ups and downs. You will be driving home feeling terrible having picked the wrong garment one day, but at other times you will have got it right and be very excited. You have to even out those ups and downs.

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