Question: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
Answer: I assist the store buyer in selecting and purchasing merchandise. Basically, that means that I do the grunt work that makes things happen. I am the one who worries about the details and makes sure that everything goes according to "the plan". When I first got this job, I had visions of attending fashion shows, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, and all of that. It didn't happen. I'm not going to say it won't happen some day, but I realize that being successful is a lot more work than I imagined. A far as misunderstandings go--I do not dress like a fashion model and yes, from time to time I do make fashion mistakes.
Question:If this job moves your heart and how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?
Answer: I love what I do and I know that this is my calling. I love fashion--everything and anything about the field. When I was a kid, I scoured the pages of those teen magazines looking at the latest fashion trends. I drove my parents crazy because I always wanted to go clothes shopping. Some of the outfits I wore to school were distracting to say the least and my parents got more than a few calls to come down to the principal's office with a change of clothes for me. In other words, I was made to do this! I love watching people come into the store and seeing how the put together a really great looking outfit for a special event using the clothes that I have helped purchased for the store. I also love back to school time. I love to watch the parents and their children buying new outfits for the upcoming school year and looking over the clothing line that I've helped to buy. Nothing is better than that. I love walking down the street and knowing that someone shops at my store because I recognize the clothing that she's wearing.
Question: What's the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
Answer: I have had a lot of strange things happen to me. I guess any time you work with the public that will happen. Probably the strangest thing that happened to me personally was when I went to New York City with my father years ago. We went to Central Park and there was this fashion show being put on by The Ford Foundation. My dad went up to the security guard and asked if we could go and the man said that it was an invitation only event and only people working in the fashion industry could attend. My dad said that I was an assistant buyer at a store and that he had a Ford credit card and the bouncer let us in! I guess you could say we crashed a fashion show in the big apple! Not every one can say that they did that!
Question: How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
Answer: My job can get really busy at times. I am able to maintain a pretty healthy work/life balance though. Perhaps some of the assistant buyers at larger stores may not have that luxury however.
Question: What's a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?
Answer:I think that the salary varies depending upon where you work. I make about $38,000 per year at the store where I work. If you are an assistant buyer for a larger store, you will probably make more. I don't feel that I am paid enough and I'm not particularly happy with that salary, but then again, I have a job. In this bad economy, I should be glad for that, right? On my salary though, it is difficult to purchase the clothes I want or need in order to achieve a certain look which I feel is necessary to move up in the fashion industry. It is a great irony--I'm surrounded by clothes and I get a great discount on the clothes in our store. However, I still do not have the money I need in order to buy the clothes that I want to buy. It is like "catch 22".
Question: How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
Answer:I could take a vacation if I wanted to. But it is just that it is difficult to schedule a vacation among all the work responsibilities I have. I really want to present myself as the "go to gal" which means that I need to be available. Before and during the holidays and the "back to school" season, I live at work pretty much. That is just part of the reality of working in retail though. I can't say I'm happy about it, but it is just a reality of the job.
Question: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
Answer:In order to get hired, you will need a college degree. Many people I work with have degrees in fashion merchandising. I have a college degree in business actually! That has been very helpful to me. I also had worked in department stores, so I had a lot of experience. I think that really helped me to land this job. In order to succeed in this field, you need to have a "type A" personality. You need to be detail oriented. I really think that you should have some sort of artistic talent to succeed. By artistic, I do not mean that you can draw like Monet. I mean that you have an artistic flair and that you are good with combining colors, textures, and other things to make a nice finished product.
Question: If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
Answer: If I could write my own ticket I'd be working in Paris in five years. But that probably won't happen in five years. So for now, I need to be content where I'm at.
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