Interview with a Buyer at Ted Baker
Tell us a little about what the role of a buyer at Ted Baker - what are your main responsibilities
The role is extremely varied and can include developing product with the design team, working with the merchandising team to select product and agree store distribution, cost negotiations on fabric and samples as well as being reactive to trade and ensuring the right product is in stores at the right time.
Describe a typical day in the office.
The office is fast-paced and extremely varied from day to day. We are working on multiple seasons at a time, trading one, buying another and developing a third. So the day could start with reviewing the bestsellers and figures from the previous week. That helps us when reviewing the upcoming season buys, which we base on previous sales figures. After we’ve made our decisions we then have to present the range to other departments, such as Wholesale, Visual Merchandising, E-commerce and the Press team.
What are the most rewarding parts of the job?
Seeing a product, you’ve developed in stores become a reality is fantastic. It is always rewarding to see a coat that you worked on from just a drawing and fabric swatches, now on the street keeping someone warm and stylish.
What are the most challenging parts of the job?
The main objectives of the role, is to buy the right product for the right time, at the right quality and price. With outerwear, it is always important to be aware of the trends and the weather. When the weather is unusually warm, people will not shop for coats and the second it turns we have to make sure there are enough options to choose from.
How do you make your buying decisions?
It’s important to thoroughly understand your customer profile and their shopping habits. Spending time working in store enables you to really listen and engage with the customer and sales team. The proof is in the sales, so looking at what product is selling well is really key when developing a new range or doing ‘the buy’.
What key attributes make for a good buyer?
Communication is key when you’re a buyer. From negotiations with suppliers, to communicating your ideas and decisions internally, you have to be able to get across your point of view. You need to be assertive to get the best deal for your company with suppliers, which can be challenging. Most importantly though is an attention to detail that is always informed by commercial decisions.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in following a similar career path?
One thing you will need is real passion for product and for the industry. I chose to focus on outerwear, because I loved the options. Find an area that you really enjoy and are interested in and make it your expertise.