Fashion Merchandising

Careers in fashion merchandising are challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Some jobs require people with a high degree of artistic creativi...

Careers in fashion merchandising are challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Some jobs require people with a high degree of artistic creativity and originality, while others require people with business know-how and management skills.

The job:
Merchandising is a specialised management function within the fashion industry. Fashion merchandisers are responsible for selection of materials, liasoning with the production team and meeting market requirements.The job demands knowledge of fashion trends, textures, materials and colours on one hand and understanding of market demand and the production processes on the other.

The work:
Fashion merchandisers combine the advertising, marketing and retail know-how of the marketer with the creativity of the designer. Anticipating consumer preferences and ensuring that goods are in stock when they are needed require resourcefulness, good judgment, and self-confidence. Buyers must be able to quickly make decisions and to take risks. Marketing skills and the ability to identify products that will sell also are very important.

At the outset:
For people just beginning a career, many large companies offer entry-level training programmes while smaller firms offer a wide variety of entry-level positions. Typical entrylevel positions include executive trainee, buyer’s assistant, and department manager. Regardless of the starting position, responsibilities increase with hard work and a keen interest in the job. For those people who demonstrate the necessary talents, upward mobility is relatively easy. Individuals work as merchandisers, buyers, sales representatives, store managers, regional managers, wholesalers, manufacturer’s sales representatives, merchandise planners, merchandise analysts, promotional co-ordinators, manufacturer’s store co-ordinators, fashion co-ordinators, fashion directors, visual merchandisers, resident buyers, fashion forecasters, educators, divisional merchandise managers, product developers, general merchandise managers, entrepreneurs, and company owners. So many choices!

The key is to start with disciplined study to direct your talent into a successful career.There are also many opportunities for internships and these should be considered vital for advancing your career. Indeed, any work with experienced industry connections, be it in a design house or in retail, provides a key stepping stone for students to meet important industry personnel who have open positions and knowledge to share.

Qualities required:
“Fashion is an art that’s created to be sold, and fashion merchandising is a science which goes hand-in-hand with this,”says Mitesh Thakkar, a fashion graduate who now owns his boutique. Success in fashion merchandising careers relies on having the best education you can get. Pursuing advanced learning teaches you not only the theoretical principles of the business, it also gives you the practical knowledge you need to take into the workplace.You learn about distribution, marketing and how latest technologies impact the fashion industry.

Personal factor:
Analytical ability, computer skills, strong communication skills, leadership ability, initiative, high degree of motivation and energy, maturity, fashionable appearance is required.

Future prospects:
In the words of fashion merchandiser Veena Manghnani, “As with many industries and professions, the Internet has brought a number of changes in the world of fashion merchandising. New planning and distribution organisations have been created via networking to assist the buyers and merchandise managers to manage the business more profitably. As e-commerce grows and users become more comfortable shopping online, fashion merchandisers will spend more time with this nascent medium — trying to identify target customers and creating a merchandising strategy uniquely suited to them in order to create a differentiation among brands and retail operations.”

Money matters:
“Remuneration mainly depends on the personal ability and skills of the individual,” says Manghnani. As a fresher you’ll start out with a monthly package of Rs.8,000-14,000. A couple of years down as your designing skills mature, your salary would be in the range of Rs.30,000-40,000.“The best bet for a beginner is to get associated with an established designer or design house, and begin with doing the menial work. Most trainees get a stipend of around Rs. 4000, but what you can learn in terms of working knowledge is immense,” Manghnani adds.

Study routes:
After Graduation: Students from any subject or stream may enter the course through a competitive written examination. Most fashion institutes run a course in fashion merchandising.These courses are offered to graduates. Production management is a postgraduate diploma. The course curriculum is aimed at imparting training in practical skills and techniques of merchandising.



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Higher Study : Fashion Merchandising
Fashion Merchandising
Higher Study
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