Tuesday, March 01, 2011

tuesday ten ~ fashion merchandising

i have gotten quite a few questions about what exactly i do in the fashion industry, and even more questions about what exactly fashion merchandising is so today i hope i can explain it a little further. :) the truth is that merchandising for every company is different, but i sort of love that about it. 

so here's ten things i do for my job ~

1 ~ calendar. i build the calendar for the company that sets due dates for all departments including design, sales, pr/marketing, production, etc. i work with the department heads to figure out their lead times, and then put everything together so we know when we need to start conceptualizing the future seasons.

2 ~ sku planning. each season i give design a plan of what we need for the seasons. i'll tell them something like...we need 12 swim tops, 10 swim bottoms, 3 one pieces, and 3 cover-ups. the style count i give them is based on the concept for the season, our best sellers from previous seasons, up coming trends, and making sure we can hit our sales goals with the amount of product we are creating. there's a ton that goes into it, but that's the short version. :) *i usually map out groups like the below so i can double check my numbers will create a story.

3 ~ pricing. i love this part of my job. i start out by getting the designs for the season, and then doing price comparisons. (ie. i visit stores and websites to find comparable styles to evaluate their pricing, quality, materials, etc ~ it's basically window shopping!) after that, i look at the materials we are using, our style/price history, the perceived value of the new styles, set a price, and give production target costing so we can hit our margins.

4 ~ the name game. once styles are ready to be adopted to the line, i provide a list of suggested names to the owner for approval. the inspiration for the names usually varies by company, at my previous company i think i used ALL of my friends and families names so that was always fun. 

5 ~ style codes. every company has style #s that are different. they usually can be de-coded to mean: season, division, fabric, silhouette, etc. after i have the designs for the season, i go through each one to create it's style # based on the style's details. it's a little tedious, but since i create them, it helps me remember them a little better. some people have super easy short codes... and others have really long ones that you literally need a chart to figure out what they mean. see rachel pally's vs. young, fabulous, and broke. :)

6 ~ projections. each season after sales has seen the line, i work with them to figure out projected quantities by style. it gives us a chance to get feedback on the season being sold, and see where we are at with our financial goals. it's an opportunity to get rid of any duds, and also push any styles that look to be the best sellers of the season. *i couldn't find a good picture, but this one made me smile thinking about this being my meeting.*

7 ~ trade shows. going to trade shows and meeting with accounts is super important. it gives me first hand feedback from our buyers, and also allows me to ask them questions about their business and future needs. it's also a good time to give them a sneak peek at things design is working on for upcoming seasons so they are excited about what's next.

8 ~ production buys. after we are done selling a season (and unfortunately sometimes before) i work with the sales team, and our planner to figure out how many units of each style we are going to actually produce. we look at bookings, our retail/web needs, and the financials for the season. when everyone's numbers are set, i get the owner's approval, and pass off the quantities to production. 

9 ~ spreadsheets. ok so it's a little weird. i love a good excel spreadsheet. i get to put my ocd to good use here. :) i keep track of all the styles for a season, the costing, the wholesale/retail prices, margins, projections, buys, delivery dates, etc. i actually really, really love working on these because it always makes my life easier in the end. it's a great place for me to look at past history, and it's an important tool in my planning process.

10 ~ communicator. merchandising is usually where all the information goes to be disseminated. basically if the owner or sales needs something, they work with me, and i work with the rest of the departments to make sure their needs are met. if design changes something, i send out the information to everyone else so all records can be updated. you tell me... i tell them :)

sooo that's a little insight into what i do. :) i've been a merchandiser for five years, and for two years before that i did visual merchandising for stores. as far as my corporate career, besides FIDM, where i went to school, i learned almost everything i know from my first boss maggie. even though we didn't get to work together for a super long time, and i was just a baby in the industry, she definitely taught me the most. x's and o's to you magpie :) glad we are still friends!

so hopefully i didn't just completely bore you out of your minds. if you're still reading this... what do you guys do for your real jobs?? :)
image sources: one, two, threefour, five, sixseven, eight & eightnine, ten


Noodles and Waffles said...

This is so interesting...thanks for sharing.

Brooke said...

oh my goodness! How fun :D

Rebekah said...

This is so neat! My sister has a degree in Fashion Merchandising but she's getting her bachelor's in Business. She decided she didn't want to do it anymore.

Diana Smith said...

what an amazing job you have!! I bet you love it!! I wish I could do something like that!

Monique said...

Wow what a cool job you have. Sounds awesome. Congrats again lady!

Nikki said...

I loved the break down! All my friends in College were in FM so it's nice to know.

Katia is my Sister's name, great name ;)

Megan said...

I loved reading his! Sounds like a fun job!!

Miss K said...

holy cow batman! this was a great post, it was seriously so interesting! i'm quite J of your job now! how did you get into this?

Amber Blue Bird said...

hey there, thanks for the super sweet comment the other day. i have been poking around your blog and thinks its pretty rad

Kimbirdy said...

wow, it looks like you have a lot of variety at your job, which i think is totally ideal. it's also really comforting to see that you have an awesome job you love, after so many months of being unemployed. it gives me a lot of hope! :) thank you so much for your encouraging words. and to answer your question, the mister is an interior designer, hoping to find a job at an architect or design firm. but he also does freelance residential design projects. i am looking for a therapy internship, but in my field internships are all unpaid, so i'm also looking for a part time job that i can stick with for the next couple years. that job could be anything really - restaurants, coffee shops, retail, administrative, etc. thanks for keeping your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed! :)

Liesl @ FabulousFashions4SensibleStyle said...

What a FUN fashion blog you have...love it! Thank you so much for stopping by mine! :)

Liesl :)

Things to Do said...

Haha - this post could not be boring in the least. I work with computers and let me say that if I tried a list like this I would have fallen asleep before I was done with #1. Plus I love knowing that spreadsheets affect us all! :)

mary said...

hello fashion beach bunny! i just stumbled upon your blog! I am a very similar gal, working in fashion and living life at the beach! nice to meet your blog! im your newest follower! xox!

this free bird said...

you have a great job...you wouldn't happen to know a planner with hard and soft goods experience looking for a job would you? i'm a recruiter and have a really great position open in seattle right now. placed 2 ppl w/the company and they love it.

anyway, back to you: your brownie request has been fulfilled. prepare to delay that diet!


Jen said...

Your job sounds so interesting!! Oh, and love that cup ;-)

Happy Tuesday Dear! xo

Oh, and pop by and enter my perfume GIVEAWAY!

drollgirl said...

dude! you have an awesome and amazing job! and it sure sounds like you know what you are doing! wow!!!

Jess said...

Okay - so where can I get a job like yours?!!! Sounds like a dream job!

Swiss said...

hey that was extremely informative. i've always wondered how that all worked. thanks for sharing!

i work as a freelance artist/graphic designer/costume designer/photographer/painter/whatever and part-time as an art director at boys and girls club. Some days it's a blast some days (like today) it's hell haha :P

Pilar said...

I have just discovered your blog and i'm so glad i did! this post is super informative and cool, it's great to hear about the lesser known aspects of the fashion world :)