by JaNaie Fort
I'm often asked what a typical week for me is like working as an Assistant Buyer. While no week is identical, there are certain tasks that must get done at certain times. I spread my time between our New Jersey headquarters and our New York buying office during market days, which are usually two days and sometimes three days a week.
Mondays are normally pretty hectic days and include several meetings. My job on Monday morning is to come in and go through our selling. I analyze what styles are performing and what our customers may or may not be responding to.
From there I develop a recap of our best styles based on their sell-thru and send it along with photos to all the members of my department including our Divisional Manager. Based on the information from my recap, my Buyer and I are then able to figure out what vendors we need to contact or go see that particular week.
Tuesdays are also days that I typically spend in the office typing up orders we've finalized, approving samples that we received, as well as keeping in touch with the Marketing Department and providing them with products to use for social media shoots, advertisements, and commercials.
I usually keep a to-do list of what I know needs to get done for the days that I'm in the office, but as the day progresses, new issues or questions arise from our vendors or even management that require my investigation or problem solving. One thing I can say is that it never gets boring!
Market days are probably my favorite. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I travel to Manhattan to our buying office, which is located right in the middle of the garment district. This is where all the action takes place. On an average day in the market we will have appointments with anywhere from four to six vendors in their various showrooms. My buyer and I get to be surrounded by products, shop trends, negotiate amazing deals, and build relationships.
Finally on Fridays I am either back in the office to finish up anything that needs to be taken care of or I am "Comp Shopping" at other stores. What we call "Comp Shopping" is when we visit the stores of our competitors or just other specialty chains in the market to see what is happening.
We compare prices and trends to make sure we are providing our customers with the best products at the best value. We also make sure to frequently visit our own stores to ensure that what we envisioned is being properly executed in the store and then decide if we need to re-evaluate our strategies.
Having time in the office to sit in my cubicle and get the administrative tasks taken care of is extremely important and a large portion of my job as an assistant. However, being able to engage with vendors is important as well in order to get to the next level of my career as a merchant. Going into the market and making deals is what being a buyer is truly about and I learn so much from this experience.