Are you creative, innovative and often think outside of the box? Do you have a great sense of style and an eye for detail? Are you flexible and open to new ideas and constant change? Why not become a designer?
Designers are the creators of the fashions, shoes, accessories, bags etc. that you see in stores each season. Some designers specialize in apparel while others specialize in accessories. Regardless of your specialty, there are responsibilities that all designers will have. These duties include:
As a designer you will conduct research in order to create products that meet the needs and wants of your customers. Because fashion trends change so often, designers must be “in the know” when it comes to the latest styles, colors, fabrics and silhouettes.
Designers must also be able to illustrate or hire an illustrator. The illustrator will bring the designer’s mental concept to life on paper, which will then become the foundation for the design.
Designers must be able to create and manage a budget. As a designer you will be using different fabrics, materials etc. It is your job to make sure that your finished product meets the needs of your customers financially and esthetically.
Designers must be able to create patterns or hire someone to create patterns. Patterns are the blueprint for your designs.
Designers must know how to sew/construct their pieces or hire someone to sew/construct them. These will become the samples that are shopped around to buyers. Therefore, a designer must be able to recognize a well constructed garment.
Designers need to know how to market and sell their designs or hire someone to market and sell them. The only way for a designer to get their name and designs out to both buyers and consumers is via a good sales and marketing plan.
Are you a visual person? Do you love displays and have an appreciation for how merchandise is presented in a store? Then, you may enjoy fashion merchandising.
Fashion Merchandisers are the individuals that create the fantasy for customers that entice them to buy products. As a fashion merchandiser you will present merchandise in the most appealing manner for the purpose of generating sales. Some fashion merchandisers create displays, dress mannequins and build props. Other fashion merchandisers design the look and feel of the store utilizing strategic merchandise placement techniques in order to draw the customers in and ultimately maximize sales. No matter the type of fashion merchandising, there are responsibilities that all fashion merchandisers have. These include:
Follow and Give Directions
As a fashion merchandiser you must know how to follow instructions as well as give instructions. Fashion merchandisers are given specific instructions for store and window displays and are, in most instances, required to follow and execute floor plans that are issued from their corporate offices.
Fashion merchandisers need to be physicallly flexible. Much of the work requires bending, reaching, twisting, climing on step stools and ladders, and moving around in small spaces.
As a fashion merchandiser, you will need to have some creative abiity and knowledge composition and color.
Fashion merchandisers work with many different materials when creating merchandise displays i.e. fabrics, display racks, stick pins. As a fashion merchandiser you will need to know how to execute plans within a given budget.
As a fashion merchandiser, you will need to be able to work well under preassure and meet deadlines. Oftentimes, stores perform entire floor rearrangements for particular events and promotions. Fashion merchandisers need to know how to work effectively to meet timelines.
Fashion Sales Representative
Do you love fashion, but aren’t necessarily a “creative type”? Do you enjoy working with people? Consider becoming a fashion sales representative.
Fashion sales representatives promote merchandise for designers or manufacturers in exchange for a percentage of sales. As a fashion sales representative you will be calling on fashion buyers, mail order companies and web retailers to promote and sell your client’s products.
Some fashion sales representatives work in designer or manufacturer showrooms. Other fashion sales representatives are independent contractors and work out of their homes and “on the road”. All fashion sales representatives have primarily the same responsibilities. These resonsibilities include:
As a fashion sales representative you will spend much of your time convincing people to buy your merchandise. Therefore, fashion sales representatives must be personable, enthusiastic, and polished.
Fashion sales representatives must be knowledgeable about the product lines they are selling. In order to effectively promote products, fashion sales representatives must know and be able to present detailed information about their merchandise from fabrics and colors to shipping dates. Fashion sales representatives must also be aware of the merchandise and pricing of their competitors.
Attention to Details
As a fashion sales representative you will need the ability to pay close attention to details. Fashion sales representatives not only sell, but complete administrative tasks such as completing purchase order forms and taking inventory.
Fashion sales representatives need to be very organized and keep good records. As a fashion sales representative you will need to know important dates and times related to sales transactions, delivery dates, meetings and follow up activities.
Tips and Considerations
While a degree is not required for any of these careers, it is recommended that those interested obtain some formal training by taking courses or doing internships/apprenticeships.
The fashion world is always looking for talented designers, merchandisers and sales representatives. Work hard, master your craft and be open to learning.