How to Become a Fashion Merchandiser?: Designing is an important aspect of the fashion industry, but it is definitely not the only aspect. A lot of hard work goes into getting the clothes from the manufacturer to the retail shop and finally into the customer’s wardrobe. There are so many things that you can do to be a part of this loop and fashion merchandising is one of them.
This career opportunity is quite rewarding, once you attain the correct training and experience. If you are one of those people who can dedicate themselves to their work and will not shy away from a dose of sheer hard work, fashion merchandising is the perfect path for you. We are going to give you a detailed description of this profession and answer every single question you may have.
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How To Become A Fashion Merchandiser?
To become a Fashion Merchandiser, you need creative, motivated, goal-oriented, resourceful and must have good communication skills.
Master the basics to win the game
You need to learn the basics first in order to excel in the profession. Your role is somewhat similar to a forecaster, except you do not study weather changes, but market economy changes.
You need to be able to look at the past performances of the company and the present situation and predict the direction in which your company is heading. Your role involves determining which products will assuredly be profitable and the ones that are an absolute loss.
The Fashion Merchandiser acts like an agent between the manufacturer and the customer, the link that communicates between the two. You need to look over the processes of packaging and marketing the products. It is the only through proper branding and promotion that will shape the success of the product.
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Get skilled up!
We have already discussed the major skills that a Fashion Merchandiser needs to develop. It is on the basis of how many skills you have acquired that you will get your coveted job.
As John Ruskin said once,
Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect, and passion in their operation”
Unless you are passionate about your job, you will not enjoy honing these skills.
There are various talents that a Fashion Merchandiser exhibits, starting from knowledge about the market trends, consumer relationship, and aesthetics of display management to being a financial wizard.
Unless you get yourself aptly skilled up, you most definitely will lose your competitive edge. Always remember that education only makes you sufficient, but skills are what make you efficient.
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Create value through connections
If you want to succeed in the fashion retail industry, you must develop connections in the industry. Knowing too many people never harmed anyone.
It might even surprise you how much you can benefit solely through the relationships you have built with the people you met. Be it store managers or college professors, they might be the reason you get your big break in the industry.
As a Fashion Merchandiser, you need to work on the floor of the retail shops. This enables you to administer full control over all the factors that are in direct contact with the customers.
Since your role as a Fashion Merchandiser involves being the Jack of many trades, you need to have a solid background to help you move forward.
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What Is Fashion Merchandising?
Every industry requires a strategic analyst and a marketing executive, someone who will administer advertising and management. These are the basic responsibilities of Fashion Merchandiser. The promotion of sales is one of the most important aspects of this job.
It is vital to introduce the products at the right time to a suitable market where the target customers frequent. It is the duty of the Fashion Merchandiser to make an analysis of the sales from the previous season and predict the most likely future performance of the company or the store.
They are responsible for the type and quantity of clothes that will be available in the store for the customers to buy. They will need to make strategies on how to sell all the existing stock before the stocks from the new season come in.
It is because of the systematic analytic skills of the Fashion Merchandiser along with their in-depth knowledge about the business that profits are made. Their market study on the type, color, design, and textiles helps the designers to come up with products that will be accepted by the customers.
They work with the designers to ensure that the products are affordable for the target market while making a profit for the whole chain of departments involved in the product from creation to sales.
All the Fashion Merchandisers live by the 5 rights of merchandising to be able to properly satisfy the customers as well as turn a good profit. These 5 R’s include the right merchandise, at the right price, in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities.
This enables the Fashion Merchandisers to evaluate the variety of customers that the target market welcomes and their specific needs.
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Why Become A Fashion Merchandiser?
If you are someone who loves fashion and has a commercial interest in the industry, this is the perfect profession for you. The analytical aspect of running a business in the fashion industry demands a thorough knowledge of the fashion trends coupled with a keen eye for financial details. This profession can give rise to feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment if it is because of your incessant research that fashion designers came up with certain clothing trends.
If you are someone who likes a challenging job, which keeps you ready on your toes at moments of dire need, then being a Fashion Merchandiser will be a good choice for you. One of the best reasons to opt for this career path is because the longer you stay in the industry, the better you get. Your job does not get monotonous since trends in fashion keep on changing.
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What Is The Typical Work Environment?
The most commonly seen work environments for Fashion Merchandisers are retail stores, children’s clothing stores and sometimes with designers who run their own brands. It also involves traveling to a few fashion shows to remain updated on the latest trends and strategizing ways to make that available for the customers.
There are a number of things that you can do before and after starting the career as a Fashion Merchandiser. Some of these professions you may stumble upon are, sales associate, store manager, customer service representative, visual merchandiser, fabric trend analyst, merchandise director or stylist.
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Basic Duties Of A Fashion Merchandiser
There are some duties that are specific to the job of a Fashion Merchandiser which may be targeted daily or weekly or monthly.
- Obtain regular knowledge about existing and upcoming trends
- Work with retails managers to arrange visual displays to make them appealing for the customers and increase sales
- Could be in charge of setting the retail prices for products
- Analyse financial estimates for the upcoming season
- Determine the different fashions, clothing, and accessories that should be stocked in a particular store
- Travel to be in good terms with buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers to encourage cooperation
- Take to social media to connect with potential customers and understand their needs
- Maintain strict control over the inventory and regulate budgetary requirements
- Organize floor plans to accommodate new arrivals and maintain a systematized sales floor
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Every profession demands a few special skills from the individuals in order to excel. To become a Fashion Merchandiser, the following are a few skills that you need to master:
- Fashion awareness at all times
- A keen eye for details
- Ability to meet deadlines on time
- Communication skills to interact well with the whole team and a variety of customers
- Customer service and feedback to create a strong customer base
- Prevent losses and gain market share
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After finishing your high-school, you should enroll yourself in a fashion merchandising graduation program, which will lead you straight into this field. If you have already done your graduation in a different stream, you can always attain a diploma degree in the said field.
Although it is vital to have experience in the field rather than just bookish knowledge, it will play to your strengths when acquiring the said hands-on experience. You must learn everything about your job in text and then apply them when gaining experience.
BBA in Fashion Entrepreneurship, PG Diploma in Fashion Entrepreneurship or Masters in Fashion Entrepreneurship will lead you straight into the career path Fashion Merchandising.
These courses will make you proficient in topics like market research and consumer behavior, fundamentals of merchandising, surface ornamentation, retail and brand management, fashion marketing, visual merchandising among others.
You should grab the opportunity to be a part of Industry Internships and get your career started.
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Starting A Career In Fashion Merchandising
Starting a career requires you to follow a strict process that will not only enrich your knowledge but also help you attain your goal. The following points will guide you through the whole process of becoming a professional Fashion Merchandiser.
- After pursuing the necessary educational requirements, you need to attain hands-on experience through retail businesses. You can try to get into fashion retail stores in shopping malls, boutiques or a chain of clothing brands. You must learn through everything that you experience, these will help in sharpening your skills for a successful career in fashion merchandising.
- Internships are a crucial factor in this profession. Try to get an internship from the institute you are studying in or on your own. While interning, you get a close look at what your future awaits you. You can intern as an assistant buyer, sales executive at a retail store or social media internships. You might also get in touch with Fashion Merchandisers and work under them, learn from them and observe what they do closely.
- Put together a compelling portfolio because this career path is quite competitive. In order to get a competitive edge, your résumé needs to provide potential employers with visual proof of your outstanding abilities, educational excellence, and valuable internships. The fashion merchandising portfolio can include reports based on market research, sample plans for showroom or store floor layout and visual merchandising plans to tip the scales in your favor.
- Keep an eye out for job openings both online and offline. Make a note of the skills that different employers are demanding, find some in common and gain experience to hone those skills.
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Know Your Employers
For all aspiring Fashion Merchandisers, it is vital to know your potential employers. You can always choose to be a self-employed freelancer in this field, owning your business, which quite a few fashion designers do. You may work full-time with companies, brands, and retail stores on a contractual basis.
Fashion businesses involved in various fields as production, promotion, designing, clothing, cosmetics, shoes or jewelry require Fashion Merchandisers. Following are a few examples of potential employers whom you need to target:
- Manufacturers of textiles and fabrics
- Fashion publication house, both print media and online
- Advertising agencies who promote designers and retails stores
- Fashion shows (both production companies and individual shows)
- National department stores and retails chains
- Specialty and consignment stores
- E-commerce stores
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The earnings in this profession vary from one country to another. We are going to explain with the use of US dollars and INR to get across a larger audience. The starting salary in the US as a Fashion Merchandiser is $24,000 (per annum). The higher end of the salary goes up to approximately $68,000 yearly.
In the Indian market, the expecting salary ranges between 1.3-6.4 lakhs, annually at the very start of the career. Although it might seem like an average number, these are always scoped for improving this number with more experience.
As a Fashion Merchandiser, you need to be equally interested in the fashion and business side of the industry. You will need to develop the innate skill of determining which trends will be a great hit among the customers and the ones that will hardly become popular.
This job demands a lot from you which requires learning to multitask without losing your efficiency quotient.
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