Interview with Stephanie Atkinson, Buyer, Roman Original

Friday 9th March 2017

Interview with Stephanie Atkinson on Phone

Buyer Trousers, Skirts and Jersy tops.

 

Unit 1 Vantage Point,

5 Wingfoot Close,

Birmingham,

B24 9JH

 

1. Tell me about yourself. How did you get into buying, how did you get to where you are today?

I did fashion design for a year and changed to fashion buying for a retail. Joined Evans as buyers admin. Then to George. Then to Sainsbury. Then yours clothing. Then at Roman originals. Each move i was moving up a level. Buyers admin- then assistant buyer-then junior buyer and then buyer.

2. What qualities are required to be a good successful buyer.

Try to take on as much as you can. Put yourself forward, have yourself known. Do beyond what your job roles is. All this to make yourself seen. Push yourself to learn other roles too. Even when you start in admin roles, take on more than your role and push yourself. Because this is what takes you forward.

3. How do you understand your customers, how do you focus on customer profile.

Do a lot of research. Get stores feedback. Always know who your target customer is. Where else they shop. What else can you do to get more customers in. What else will your customs also want to buy. Make sure there are no missed opportunities.

4. Timescales how long does it take to develop a collection, from idea to store.

Depends where its been sourced from. Different companies have a design team , they work on different presentations to see what future trends are like. Send design packs to factories. Then selection meeting and all. The process takes a long time, Some companies where there are no design teams, you work with suppliers directly. Really depends on where its been sourced from. You can source from different countries like either UK or India, China, European countries etc. Each source will have different lead times. Longest could be 24 weeks, shortest could be 4 weeks.

5. How many buying divisions are there in you company. How many members in your team.

We are quite a small team. 3 teams. 2-3 people within those teams.

6. How many different team have you worked in yourself.

Quite a lot ! Children’s wear, Girl’s wear, ladie’s wear.

7. How do you plan your diary.

Buyers could be juggling with many different things at the same time. Because you source from different countries. Eg, you have something sourced from china that would not be delivered for 4 months but there could be something sourced from UK that could be delivering within weeks. Both equally important. Priority really depends on day to day basis and you have to be flexible. You must accept the fact that your task during the day could change. But follow your lead times and follow your critical path. But in your work you get to learn what your priorities are.

8.How do buyer’s and designers work together.

This may differ in different companies. Our current design functions work differently compared to other           I have worked with. Often designer’s and buyer’s work very closely together. Designer’s would take buyer’s input for trends to see where the range should be going. Buyers’s will look at previous  sales and have a shopping list of certain things. Then work together to decide on the buying range.

9. How do buyer’s and merchandiser’s work together.

merchandiser’s are like analyses for buyer’s. They look at missed opportunities, What could have had more stock of, what could have sold more. Sometimes which sizes should have been more. Correct ratio of what we should we should have done. They also look at analysis of sales in a very different manner as compared to a buyer.

10. Talking about trend, how do you get your inspiration

DO you use WGSN / how do you pick fabrics 

WGSN we use. Many a times suppliers suggests. They also suggest whats selling more for that season. For fabrics, we can look at whats coming through from shopping trips. And also what the fabrics mills are showing. What are they pushing.

11. How do you do sample/ Fit sessions

We fit on models and also on stands. We fit on a size 12. We go through a process of a first sample, there could be a second sample. Then graded sample, where they have made a pattern and done all the sizes. So now you get to see what the image you had in a size 12 also look on size 16.

12. How do you negotiate with suppliers.

You see you prices, supplier gives you theirs. You then go back to see how it fits in the margin you are targeting. Then you go back to supplier to negotiate close to your target price. Sometimes there is no way, you can’t negotiate at all. Most negotiations are by email. Picking up the phone and speaking to them is also something I do very frequently. Human contacting is sometimes better than email.

13. How do you keep a track of competition.

Look on internet. Go out i stores. see whats selling etc on their websites.

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