Jennie Barton, Merchandiser at Phase Eight has recently spoken about how to get a career within the fashion industry.
How did you get to where you are today?
After finishing my degree, I wasn’t sure what to do, luckily a friend of mine recommended me for a temporary role working as a buyer for a well-known retailer. This role involved selecting what items will be stocked in stores based on predictions about what will be popular with shoppers.
I realised that merchandising was the career path for me and looked for a permanent role. I then progressed to a Senior Allocator role at a fashion retailer, where I supported the merchandising team with accurate distribution of stock, analysis of sales and store selling patterns.
After a brief time at a maternity-wear retailer I then moved onto another fashion retailer as Junior Merchandiser. A Merchandiser’s role is to ensure that products appear in the right store/website, at the right time and in the right quantities.
What kind of skills do students need to stand out from the crowd?
Maths and excel skills are crucial in this business, we often have to take huge amounts of data and summarise them into useful information. Time Management skills are also key – we’re so busy, and this is a really dynamic office so you have to be able to be flexible and able to drop everything at a moment’s notice without letting the day to day tasks slip.
What has been your career highlight?
So far it has been working on the launch of the Collection 8 range at Phase Eight, the dresses are stunning and I know how much work goes into designing and developing each one. It’s a very exciting time for us.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a similar career path?
My main piece of advice would be to hang on in there; junior merchandising roles can be hard at times with a lot of administrative tasks involved. However, I found as soon as you move up you become more involved and have the chance to be creative.
To find out more about career opportunities at Phase Eight, visit the site here.