Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry, but it takes more than avant-garde designers and chic models to make it so. Marketing and management play a critical role in its success by establishing brand awareness and unearthing new trends. The various roles within fashion marketing and management leverage changing consumer habits to generate substantial profits within the fashion industry.
Fashion Marketing and Management Overview
Fashion marketing and management involve the core functions of selling products and managing supply. Those on the marketing and management end of the fashion industry are tasked with the unique challenge of merging their creative aptitude and business acumen in order to generate brand awareness, which in turn generates sales. Both fashion marketers and managers create and execute well-planned marketing strategies aimed at keeping their retailers relevant by positioning them as stylish and better than their competitors.
The Art of Retail Buying
Retail buyers keep track of emerging fashion trends and purchase retail goods for merchandisers to sell. When employed by a large department store or organization, fashion retail buyers may sub-specialize into area such as men's or women's clothing, shoes and accessories. If employed at smaller retail outlets, a fashion retail buyer will procure items across multiple fashion departments. Retail buyers will be responsible for maintaining positive relationships with suppliers and negotiating purchasing contracts on behalf of their employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for fashion retail buyers was $63,900 in 2012.
The Role of the Merchandiser
A retail buyer may decide what products and fashion lines to purchase, but it is the retail merchandiser who decides how much money is to be spent acquiring the products and in what quantities. They ensure that the correct clothing items make it to the correct retail outlets. Retail merchandisers also decide what fashion items are displayed on the store's website and at what time. To achieve this, the merchandiser will collaborate closely with buyers to forecast emerging trends and regularly monitor performance.
Duties of a Fashion Manager
In addition to traditional management duties, such as supervising employees, fashion managers must also coordinate the daily operations of their assigned sales markets. For instance, a fashion manager may be tasked with helping their associates reach individual sales goals in order for their team to meet revenue targets. A fashion manager will also partner with other departments within their organization, including manufacturing and production, in order to help them achieve shared goals. According to Glassdoor.com, fashion managers earn an average of $48.47 per hour.