Fashion Industry Secrets – Inside the Head of a Fashion Buyer

One of the questions that I get asked the most by independant and small fashion brands is what makes a fashion buyer decide to choose one collection over another? Having worked in the fashion industry for over a decade I can finally reveal what goes through the mind of a fashion buyer when they’re considering whether or not to buy your brand:

  1. Exclusivity– Some stores work on an exclusivity basis especially at least for the first year. If you are already selling in another similar store, especially within the same catchment area (think postcodes with the same starting letter), then this could reduce the appeal of stocking your brand. Buyers get extremely annoyed about walking into a competitor’s store and finding that it had the same product as they had, possibly at a different price, before they did! If you were in their position, would you invest in that brand?
  2. Target Market– Your collection needs to appeal to their target market and you need to be able to clearly demonstrate this. Researching who they’re key customers are is crucial. You can research by checking out the look and feel of their website and social media content, downloading or requesting a media pack and reading their press releases. Lack of research will be quickly picked up resulting in a loss of sale from the buyer.
  3. Sell through guarantees – Some stores will only buy from you if they are refunded for any items that go unsold after a certain time. This is known as a Sell Through Guarantee. You should aware that there a different types of STG’s and the store may also demand that you cover any return postage. So the takeaway here is that you should only offer a STG if you can afford to do so, but offering one can only increase your appeal in the buyer’s mind.
  1. Delivery – That leads us onto delivery, and this is so crucial and where many new and small brands fail, because you will need to be able to meet the buyers delivery times and the times are non negotiable, with a capital NON. Buyers will want reassurance that you One way of the best ways you can offer them reassurance is by explaining the infrastructure that you have in place to meet their requirements, i.e. during your meeting the buyer highlight your manufacturers minimum order quantities and how effective they are at meeting large orders, combined with the expertise of your logistics teams in getting the stock from the factory to the stores.   Remember you can’t bambabozle a buyer, so being clear on your level of professionalism and reliability can only increase your brand appeal.

Post Author: Yolande Letshou

Yolande is the co-founder of Fashion Brand Bible. She previously worked in fashion buying for the UK's leading department store and has a passion for promoting and raising the profile of emerging and independent designers, who are often struggling to gain exposure due to financial constraints/lack of professional direction. As a result she has been fortunate to work on some unique projects and with some fabulous brands and organisations across four continents, North America/the Caribbean (New York & Jamaica,) Europe (Paris, Romania, Poland), Asia (China), and Africa .

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