You know you have a future in fashion merchandising if you love style and design and sale. While you don’t need a degree to be able to sell clothes you don’t wear anymore, if you particularly enjoy decluttering your wardrobe and then taking great pictures so that you can then sell them on Amazon and eBay, then you may have a natural talent to be good at fashion merchandising.
Getting a fashion merchandising degree will open up a whole new world of opportunity for you. This training is critical to teach you the essential skills to excel in this line of work.
Fashion Merchandising vs. Fashion Marketing
Although fashion merchandising and fashion marketing have a few things in common, they are not synonymous with each other. In fact, they could even be described as belonging to different industries in the fashion world. So, fashion merchandising should not be confused with fashion marketing.
A fashion merchandiser promotes apparel sales and does everything necessary to deliver the clothing requests of clients and designers. Meanwhile, a fashion marketer identifies trends and helps retailers with sales and promotions of fashion lines.
Style and Business Sense
“Fashion merchandising is a blend of fashion sense and business expertise, “explains Cynthia Rangel, Fashion Design and Merchandising Program Chair at IADT-San Antonio.”Staying ahead of the fashion curve is a feat involving both art and commerce. Strategy and marketing experience are an integral part of fashion merchandising. So if you have these skills, along with the essential love of fashion, the fashion merchandising field may be just the place for you!”
Education & Training
While you may have a natural appreciation for fashion and an inclination for business, you require formal education to develop this career path, this isn’t enough by itself to apprentice as a fashion merchandiser. There are a lot of technical details, meanwhile you have to learn to round out your raw talent with knowledge and skills. While a professional degree in fashion merchandising will make it possible to secure good employment, an apprenticeship or an entry-level position will add real-world experience.
Education creates three essential skill sets:
- First: the insight to observe the evolution of fashion trends and then forecast future trends.
- Second: the business knowledge to manage promotions and marketing campaigns.
- Third: communication skills to connect with clients to help them achieve their goals.
After your degree, you will most likely begin work in a department store or in a high-end boutique store. Your work week will range from 20 to 40 hours a week. In the early stages of your career, you will refresh the merchandise by reshuffling how the products are displayed. You will also be involved in creating marketing and sales strategies to persuade customers to buy more clothes from the store.
Besides creating and managing a store’s displays, your work will also include going to fashion shows to stay up to date on the latest trends; buying fashion items to study how well they sell, and getting increasingly better at advertising for big sales events. Other career possibilities include working with manufacturers and designers.
How much you earn depends on your level of experience. At the start of your career, you will probably find work as a Visual Merchandiser your salary will range from $36,000 to $55,000. Later, when you become a Senior Merchandise Buyer, it can range from $81,000 to $125,000.
The word “fashion” has to be considered in the broadest possible sense of the word. Fashion isn’t just restricted to clothing. It can also fashion trends in jewelry, cosmetics, or furniture. You may be heavily involved in developing marketing campaigns, setting up displays, creating advertisements, and directing manufacturing, marketing, and sales strategies either in the fashion industry or in a retail store.
A Promising Field
Fashion merchandising is a big, expansive industry teeming with opportunity for someone who has a knack for identifying styles and a passion for appreciating trends. Besides an artistic leaning, it’s also essential to have a head for business. The first step is to get a professional degree from a reputable fashion merchandising school. After graduation, you’ll have a choice of careers in the management field, working either for designers, apparel manufacturers, or in a retail environment. Over time, with experience and seniority, it’s possible to earn in the six figure range—or own your own boutique.