Fashion Purchasing Manager

A fashion purchasing manager, also known as a buyer or fashion purchasing agent is responsible for purchasing products from manufacturers and vendors in order to resell in their retail establishment. They evaluate the contracts with these manufacturers and vendors and may negotiate terms and review the quality of the products.



Job Overview

Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

A fashion purchasing manager takes care of many different tasks within their job. They will maintain the records of products purchased, which will contain the cost, the delivery details, the quality of the product and the overall inventory. They communicate with their staff and their vendors to evaluate the performance of the products purchased, and will resolve any problems that may have occurred. They negotiate all contracts with all suppliers and manufacturers for their company. They will go to fashion shows, trade shows and conferences to stay up to date on the fashion industry’s newest trends, and will network with suppliers that they may not currently work with. In addition to the fashion shows and events, they will visit suppliers’ manufacturing and distribution centers to interview, examine and learn about their products and their prices.

Fashion Purchasing Manager Education Requirements

A fashion purchasing manager will need to obtain a Bachelor Degree in order to get a job in the field. Degrees in merchandising, marketing and business will ensure a better position. Focusing on sales forecasting, inventory, commerce and business operations classes will give the applicant further information needed to perform the job. Applicants with Masters Degrees or professional certifications may find it easier to obtain a job as a fashion purchasing manager.

On the Job Training

Retail training and executive training programs will greatly benefit a new purchasing manager. There are numerous training programs and internships that are led by more experienced buyers that the newer buyers can often obtain more information from that will benefit their job and further their education. Buyers that are just starting out in the industry usually become buyers’ assistants and gradually work their way to higher positions by completing necessary tasks for their employer such as managing inventory, selling and processing invoices. Knowledge of their industry, whether it is accessories, shoes or clothing is a necessary skill for a buyer position.

Required Skills

Fashion Purchasing Managers should have technical knowledge of the goods that they sell. They need evaluation skills in order to be able to evaluate suppliers, contracts and they details that come with deliveries of the products. They must know how to find certain resources in their industries. Many times there are trade shows or conferences that purchasing managers can attend to get new information in their type of retail industry. They must also have good interview skills in order to check into prospective suppliers and to see their plants, manufacturers and distribution centers. They will also assess these facilities to ensure that working with them will benefit their own retail establishment. Suppliers need to be able to deliver the purchased goods in a timely manner, correctly and with quality. Purchasing managers need to be able to always be aware of this process with each of their vendors. Other skills that will greatly benefit someone in a buying position are negotiation, interaction with their vendors and their own company, and fashion forecasting and knowledge of the ever changing trends each fashion season.

Personal Qualities

Other qualities that will help a buyer to be successful are creativity, decisiveness, good judgment skills, imagination and creativity. They should also have good analytical skills. Some of these are learned, and some of these come naturally. Something that someone must naturally have is enthusiasm and motivation. Flexibility is a must because much of the job is done outside of your base office. Computer skills are necessary, and the ability to figure out and keep track of your company’s buying budget. A natural knack for fashion is a plus and will benefit a new buyer every day. The ability to function under stress is important because of the need to be in another place on short notice is a factor. Adapting to any situation will be necessary sometimes as well.


The salary of a fashion purchasing manager depends on the specific retail store, but also the geographical location is a factor. Experience will definitely play a part in the salary of a buyer. The median annual income for fashion purchasing managers in May of 2010 was approximately $58,360.

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