Buyers have different levels of relationships between designers and suppliers throughout their careers. Some are more formal than others and the degree of commitment may differ. Relationships that are built depend on two main concepts.
1. The extent of resources and investments that are committed to the relationship.
2. The formality of the relationships, whether it’s long term and franchises or quick spot contract relationships.
There are three main types of vertical relationships (reasons for relationship building).
1. Long term contracts. These involve series of contracts over a long period of time.
2. Vendor partnerships.
Honesty and integrity are extremely important when creating relationships that involve one’s large amounts of money, time, work ethic and representation.
I’ve been wondering the difference between these two distinctive types of clothing, Couture and Prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear). I finally came across meaningful definitions from Diana Pemberton-Sikes, EzineArticles expert.
“COUTOUR (koo TOOR) is the French word for “sewing.” Couture clothes are those that are fitted and sewn specifically for a client, often requiring several fittings for an exacting fit. The clothes may be specifically designed for the client, such as a one-of-a-kind wedding dress or a one-of-a-kind red carpet ensemble, or they may be part of a designer’s couture collection, which are the pieces the designer shows that are available for custom fit.”
“READY-TO-WEAR, or prêt-à-porter (prêt a poor TAY) is designer apparel that’s made ready-to-wear in standard sizes and sold through boutiques, better department stores, mail order, and online. While consumers can have pieces tailored to fit after purchase, customization is not included in the cost of ready-to-wear apparel. Many brand-name designers, like Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, only show ready-to-wear collections, but still create a handful of couture pieces upon request for influential clients.”
When designers are presenting their Ready-to-Wear collections, know that those clothes are being showcased for department stores while their Couture collections are specifically for those who get fitted for their clothing or who order from the designer’s “look book.”
Knowing the difference between these two major categories of fashion really gives me a better understanding of the designers intent for their fashion along with the departments need for their collections.
Negotiating is a skill that all buyers should be exceptional at. Negotiating prices with suppliers is what buyers go through all year. The buyers and the suppliers need to agree to benefit both sides. The buyers want to achieve the most for the company while the suppliers want to make their fair share in creating and distributing the product. Typically, the executives at the manufacturers will be the first to give a ‘cost price’ for a garment, then the buyers will negotiate until both feel satisfied. However, garments may be dropped from the original plan if either side doesn’t come to an agreement.
“Buyers should be able to estimate from past experience how much the consumer will expect to pay for a particular garment, and therefore can calculate the optimum cost price which they would be prepared to pay.”
“You have to really enjoy business management first and product second and understand that in your career, if you really are truly a good merchant, you should be able to buy widgets, gadgets, and designer clothing exactly the same. You should be as good a buyer buying staple guns for the Home Depot as you are buying Couture.”
This quote gives an inside scoop of the profession of a retail fashion buyer. Gaining information by the buyer seems more useful to me since it’s knowledge from the actual place I’d like to be in one day.
It’s very important to know that knowledge in business management is higher in priority than the knowledge in the products. It makes me feel more comfortable knowing my Communications degree will definitely be beneficial when negotiating, advertising, targeting audiences, and building relationships.