If you’re as fierce as Tyra Banks, know your Prada from your Primark and know what’s bang on trend in every season, then a career in fashion retail is right up your catwalk.
Ok you might not be working at London’s Fashion Week or partying with designers, but you’ll still get to work surrounded by clothes and accessories which is close enough.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Just like a shopaholic’s wardrobe, the choice of jobs in fashion retail is endless. From the shop floor in a sales assistant role, behind the scenes in the warehouse, or deciding what should be stocked in the first place in a buying and merchandising role, there’s something for every interest.
Your daily tasks will change depending on your job title. If you’re working on the shop floor, you job will include:
- Displaying items
- Serving customers
- Dealing with any queries or complaints
- Advising customers on their purchases
- Ordering, managing and taking out stock
- Helping with promotions
- Overseeing deliveries
- Managing and motivating staff (in a senior role)
- Making sure sales targets are met
Whereas more head office roles such as buyer and merchandiser will include tasks like:
- Selecting new products and reviewing the old
- Finding the right suppliers
- Negotiating prices (so the store doesn’t get ripped off)
- Ensuring the products are delivered on time
- Helping to interpret reports and predicting future sales
- Pitching ideas to senior management
- Stock control
- Promoting products
- Reacting to any changes in customer demand
- Maintaining relationships with existing suppliers while seeking new ones
Attending trade events
- Getting feedback from customers
- Supporting design and production teams
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The nitty gritty
Expect to work around 40 hours a week in flexible shift patterns. As is common in retail jobs, you’ll be expected to work on both weekdays and weekends.
No matter who you’re working for, you’ll be expected to reflect their values and style, particularly when dealing with customers or meeting clients. This means it’s quite common for fashion employees to wear their company’s brands at work.
Money, money, money
Depending on your position within the company and your location, you starting salary as a sales assistant will be between £12,000 and £15,000.
Work your way up to an assistant manager career and you’ll earn around £17,000-£25,000, and become the big cheese store manager and you’ll earn anything between £40,000 and £70,000.
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The good points...
This is an exciting sector to work in, it’s fast paced and always changing thanks to seasonal trends.
...and the bad
Competition can be fiercer than a model’s signature stare, so you’ll need plenty of work experience and a drive to beat the other candidates…just pretend you’re on Britain’s Next Top Model.
Is there study involved?
A passion for fashion is more important than formal qualifications. Although some general education (or a degree in something relevant like fashion) is handy, without an enthusiasm or an interest in the job, you’re unlikely to impress employers.
Previous work experience (either in retail or fashion) can also be incredibly useful to have, as it will develop your knowledge and arm you with some great transferable skills such as sales, customer service and marketing.
If you still want to hit the books, make sure you study something relevant to the job. Anything that makes you more knowledgeable about sales, marketing, merchandising or business is a bonus on the CV.
If you don’t have the time to take a study break from work, the good news is that fashion retailers offer lots of in-house training and work-based qualifications. These include:
- NVQ Level 2 in retail skills
- Level 3 in retail
- Level 4 in sales
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Hate clothes shopping and always skip the fashion pages in magazines because you couldn’t care less about the latest styles? Then this isn’t the job for you.
As well as an interest in fashion and a stylish wardrobe, to work in this industry it’s useful if you have some or all of the following skills: