By Karin Eldor
Monster Contributing Writer
Working in the fashion industry likely conjures up images of men and women dressed to the nines, decked out in enviable threads and attending fashion shows. Basically, straight out of a scene from “The Devil Wears Prada.”
You may be passionate about fashion and always dreamed of a career in retail, but are not sure you have the skills to cut it as a fashion buyer
The truth is, there are a multitude of job opportunities at a fashion retailer’s head office, no matter your passion, experience, skillset or the season. So much goes on behind the scenes of a retailer’s success, it wouldn’t be able to function solely on the strength of its buying department.
So we are raising the curtain to reveal the range of career options available at a fashion retailer
. The only question is, which one suits you best?
For the creative types:
department usually includes in-store and online marketing, public relations
, graphic design
, and visual presentation (this can vary from store and window displays to signage and mannequins). Some of these jobs, such as graphic design, usually require a technical certificate or degree.
In the merchandising department, the buyers work their magic. While we’re at it, it’s worth dispelling a myth that fashion buying is strictly a creative job – it’s actually very high in number crunching and budgeting, as buyers are always analyzing the profit margins and costs of every item produced.
The creative side of merchandising can also include technical design and product development (those who create the designs and patterns of the clothing or products), which may require a specific specialty or degree.
For the number crunchers:
If you’re more passionate about accounting, there’s a myriad of positions that add up for you at a retailer’s corporate office. Of course there is the accounting
department (which can include payroll), as well as the planning and allocation team. The people in planning and allocation study and plan sales targets, as well as the inventory levels sent to each store based on budgets and forecasts. It’s rather dynamic and can be unpredictable, especially when a retailer is in sales mode (especially an unplanned sale period). You would likely require a business, math or accounting background to excel in this field.
For the techies:
Of course, every big company has its share of tech and web support, and the bigger the enterprise, the bigger the department. These jobs range from web development and programming, to IT
and network support, and usually require a certificate or technical degree. With the ever-growing importance of social media in most companies as well as many retailers’ foray into e-commerce, people in this department can also flex their creative muscles.
For those who love working with people:
If you’re the type who loves dealing with people
, a job at a retailer’s human resources department can be a fulfilling career. This can range from the recruiting team to training and development; HR
is certainly a career that requires a specialized degree, but it’s highly rewarding.
Retailers’ head offices usually require several administrative assistants, ranging from the main reception area to executive assistants – this is certainly a position that puts you in contact with many people throughout the day and requires a high level of organizational skills, as well as quick thinking and poise.
is also a department that requires people skills, whether you’re answering the phone or dealing with customer e-mails daily. If you’d like to work with customers first-hand, then a career as a store sales associate or manager could be just the ticket for you – and can lead to a job at the corporate level if you so choose.
Other jobs that make a retail company succeed:
If you’re looking to work within a retailer’s head office, there are many other jobs that ensure everything runs smoothly. Everything from the shipping department and mailroom to working as a stylist or fit model offers opportunities.
It’s important to keep in mind that most jobs can’t be boxed into one category or “type” – it takes a specific skillset for anyone to excel in any job, and of course these jobs can touch on a variety of the aforementioned requirements.
So if you’re considering a career in fashion
or retail, remember: there’s a whole world out there waiting for you!
Check out these jobs
at our Monster.ca site!