Roles in the Fashion Industry
By Becca Grubb - Level 3 Fashion Retail
In this project I will be exploring the job roles of four jobs in the fashion industry -Retail store manager, Visual Merchandiser, PR/Marketer and Supply chain manager. I will be finding information on the job roles, skills, advantages and disadvantages, salary, requirements and general information of each job.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A RETAIL STORE MANAGER
A retail store manager is the very important individual who is responsible for the everyday running of the store, this can range from a supermarket, to a high end designer store such as Gucci. Every employee in the store reports to the store manager for help and guidance. A lot of responsibility comes with many jobs that could take place on a daily basis.
The average pay of a store manager is around £25,000 a year although this can range from £20,000 to £40,000 annually. However this can be increased by meeting sales goals. The salary also fluctuates depending on the business, hours and the location.
Jobs on a daily basis may include
- Overall care of staff safety and needs
- presentation of the store (such as window displays and cleanliness)
- Staff training and team development,
- problem solving (for example responding to tricky situations quickly)
- understanding customer service principles
- reaching sales targets in store (such as a profit target),
- overseeing stock control and ensuring products are stocked efficiently
- Interviewing and recruiting new staff
A store manager must meet the sales goals, this involves setting individual sales targets depending on the part of the store and employees. The manager should also encourage employees to meet these goals- he/she should try and make this as interesting and involving as possible, for example, staff promotions if the goals are met. They should also try and aim for a happy and positive attitude for the staff.
The store manager also has a large responsibility concerning the safety and security of the store as they are often the main key holder. Because of this they are responsible for the safety of the staff as well as customers while in store. The store must meet the health and safety guidelines. The store manager may also have a few assistants to help control departments of the store as many jobs can get overwhelming at times.
- Patient (training staff and dealing with customers can be very time consuming, so a retail store manager must be able to handle these calmly)
- Good Team leader
- Accounting and IT (e.g checking statistics and sales)
- Problem solving (solving tricky situations such as disputes or confusion between staff and customers)
Requirements and progression
To become a retail store manager there are many routes. The first, most popular, route is progressing through a business. Another method is taking part in an apprenticeship program for management that is often run by large retailers. You could also do a foundation degree in fashion retail, management or business. To progress further into the business, you could manager several stores and overlook the actions of each store.
So what's good about it?
You choose your own staff, meaning you are constantly surrounded by people you feel are hardworking, reliable and positive. As well as this, you may be entitled to much more flexibility in the job than a regular sales assistant (for example choosing your own brakes and what jobs you want to do at what times). You also have a lot of control about how the store is run and layed out.
Although being a store manager can be exiting and spontaneous, it can also be very stressful. Being put responsible for the safety of hundreds of people a day can put the store manager under a lot of pressure- because of this an individual wishing to be a store manager must remain calm under pressure.
What is the role of the Marketer and Press/Public Relations?
A member of a PR team is very focused on the businesses image- this can range from small up and coming businesses, who’s main focus may be to increase its publicity, to a large high street retailer such as Topshop and Zara. Large businesses aim may be to maintain a good reputation as well as to promote new products to the customers and press. this is where social media and marketing gets involved. A marketer’s main focus would be to gather and analyze customers’ needs in order to figure out products in demand (for example, they may get this information from questionnaires). Whereas a PR listens to customers and carries out the necessary steps in order to increase the brand image.
So how do they work together?
PR’s are often being challenged with how to reach their online audiences when promoting businesses. This can be very challenging as times, technology and lifestyles are constantly changing- this is where marketers help. Marketers assist the PR team as they are very suited to trying to figure out new and exciting ways of reaching their audiences. However, many marketers are struggling with the rapid growth and change of businesses so PR’s help with promoting their ideas. For example- Marketers may come up with modern ideas that customers want, such as a new product, and then the PR teams can deliver this information to the necessary sources to increase the brand image- this may involve contacting journalists and editors to get the business featured in magazines.
This is known as 'Marcommes'
What does a PR team member do?
- Write and distribute press releases
- Dress celebrities to promote products
- Write pitches and articles about a firm and send them directly to journalists to be published
- Create special events and campaigns that are designed for the public and media relations to promote the business
- Conduct market research on the firm
- Responding to public opinions
The average salary for an assistant PR is about £20,000, where as a fully qualified PR is about £25,000 to £30,000. A senior PR's salary is an average of around £40,000.
- strong communication skills
- good english and maths skills
- being able to work efficiently as a team
As PR is such a broad topic there is no specific degree or requirements that are needed. However helpful degrees included journalism, advertising, english, marketing, communications or the topic of your choice (for example fashion). You could also become a PR by joining the business as an assistant and working your way up by getting promoted. Getting experience may also help your chances of securing a job -for example, volunteering in a charitable organisation and volunteering in a PR office.
Different types of PR's
An in-house PR is when all the attention is focused into one brand, for example Victoria Beckham would have a PR team. Benefits of this is that you would play a much bigger role in the company as there will likely be less team members to get the work done. Because of this, strong communication skills are key because this job involves frequent communications with other departments- for example marketing. working in-house introduces opportunities for employees to work their way up the business becoming more and more important . On the other hand an Agency you would be doing similar jobs, although you would work with many different brands to promote their image. working for an agency creates many more media opportunities as this PR company would be much more well know. An example of an Agency is 'Star Works' who have offices in London, LA and New york. A disadvantage of working for an agency is that other departments would be much further away- so communication can be tough. There would also be much more employees so it can be harder to get promoted.
What does a Marketer do?
- Market research- they may do this to find out current trends or popular products
- Advertise brands- e.g setting up adverts, billboards
- work as a team to think of strategies to sell products
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A VISUAL MERCHANDISER
Depending on your responsibilities and role in the business, your day-to-day work might include:
- working as a team to design visually interesting window displays or promotion stands found on the shop floor
- creating unique displays to promote a specific product or offer (such as a new clothing line)
- creating mood boards
- pitch your next window display idea to your team or manager
- using the computer to help create design ideas
- making the most of the space and light available and working them to your advantage
- Contacting VM's from other branches to discuss design ideas
- giving feedback to head office and buying teams
- dressing the mannequins
- sourcing display materials (e.g clothing and fabric) and hiring or making props
- making sure that prices can be seen
- teaching sales staff how goods should be displayed
- taking down old displays safely
A vital skill a VM must have is creativity. Creating impressive window displays is one of the most important parts of the job. They must design visually interesting displays while keeping in mind the brand image, location and target audience. An example would be the Tiffany and Co store on Bond street- the displays are small and plain yet very sophisticated and sleek because their brand image is luxurious and the location is grand and very popular. A VM must also have a lot of patience, this can range from waiting for paint to dry through to customers demanding products shown in the window. As well as this Visual merchandisers must be fast workers as they may only have a maximum of a few hours to create a window featuring all the necessary things- for example, price tags, labels, props, promotion signs, mannequins and much more. Other skills include:
- Flexibility (for night shifts, early mornings and late nights)
- Team work
- Strong communication skills
- Knowledge of current fashion trends
Assistant visual merchandiser salaries will usually start at around £12,000 to £18,000 a year depending on experience and the business.Experienced Visual Merchandisers or management roles starting salaries range from £20,000 to 25,000 with senior VM's starting salary on around £30,000.
To become a VM there is 2 main ways. Firstly you can either work your way up in the business from a sales advisor to a trainee VM, then finally to a fully trained VM. The other method is training as a Visual Merchandiser on a VM course or degree for marketing.
One of the biggest disadvantages of being a VM is the long hours- this includes night shifts and very early mornings. therefore, visual merchandisers must be able to handle this with a motivated approach. As well as this, not all work they carry out is creative and fun. Often work consists of cleaning up and a lot of physical work such as carrying the mannequins and props from pace to place- again this can be very tiring so VM's must be aware of this. Finally, unless you are an experienced or senior VM the pay can be quite low for the long hours you are doing.
If you are someone who loves art and loves to express themselves through designs then this job is definitely for you. Its also a very social job which many people love. Experimenting with paint, fabrics, props, materials and clothes can also be really fun! Visual merchandisers also need to keep up with the trends so if your interested in fashion, styles and trends then this is a real bonus. Being a VM also means that every day is different so days are very exiting. Being a Visual merchandiser also offers plenty of opportunities to develop and move up in the business- for example to promote to a senior VM.
Topshop- vm picture 2
These stands in store are very eye catching as I feel like its very bold and stands out from everything else in the shop. This also seems very modern and encourages the customer to buy these products.
Zara- vm picture 3
I love the futuristic theme of this display as its again, very eye catching. The metallic theme is very in trend at the moment so by introducing this to window displays attracts customers.
Topshop- current trends! - vm picture 4
Placing a popular trend separate from other products is very helpful for customers as it encourages them to buy these. This example is a choker display.
Topshop- vm picture 2
Zara- vm picture 3
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGER
A supply chain manager is responsible for the buying, manufacturing, producing, sourcing, distribution and delivery of the products sold in our stores. This is a huge responsibility as every step of the supply chain must run smoothly and must be in the shops on time, in order to gain the most profit. This consists of two stages- Upstream and downstream. Upstream consists of transporting the raw material to the supplier to manufacture, then downstream consists of the distribution of the products to the shops until customers receive their products. The stages for this is as follows:
- Raw materials are collected
- these are transported to the supplier
- the supplier gives the raw materials to the manufacturer to make
- these are then distributed to the retail shops
All these steps are overlooked by the supply chain manager. Because of this a supply chain manager must be good at planning and organising information, they must be a good team leader and they must have strong communication skills. This is so different teams can communicate efficiently as if one part of the chain goes wrong (for example delayed manufacturing) this will effect the whole chain- including delayed delivery which would decrease sales opportunities and profit. A supply chain manager must also have strong maths skills and IT skills in order to conduct sales statistics, profit margins and targets.
- They may have to recruit new team members (assistant managers may also help with this as there is many different departments)
- they can work with buyers to discuss what are current trends- this helps them to produce products customers want, this minimise waste and maximise profit
- they negotiate contracts with suppliers in order to get the most value for money
- they track shipments and work with retailers to make sure products arrive on time
- make sure all targets are met
A starting salary for graduates is £20,000- £25,000 annually however an experienced supply chain manager can have a salary of between £30,000 and £45,000 depending on your role and size of the company. Finally, a senior managers average salary is £60,000.
Managing a large company with so many sections can be very stressful and confusing and even more so when communication between teams is limited. As well as this you may have very long hours, so a manager must be able to stay focused and calm under pressure, Aswell as this if anything goes wrong on a regular day then you may be to blame.
Being a manager of such a large organisation can be very exiting. You also have a lot of control meaning you contribute largely to the business decisions.
Taking risks is a very important part of businesses, without them companies would struggle to develop and grow. However taking risks in a supply chain is very complicated because of the many sections of the chain. It is also made harder has fashion retail is very unpredictable, meaning risks are even harder to take. As well as this, manufactures may be very far away from retailers- so there is many opportunities for delays. This can range from goods damaged in transit to severe weather conditions causing delays. All of these can affect the overall profit of the products sold, therefore these risks must be controlled. An example of taking a risk would be transporting goods a different, more complex route to usual- firstly you would have to assess the risk and evaluate if this is worthwhile (for example this route may be cheaper). Next you have to manage the risk, this involves a lot of planning and communications to deliver the best results. Finally the risk is measured and hopefully the out come is successful. This is a large part of the supply chain as risks like this happen every single day- so managers have to make sure communications is good, otherwise the risk can be unsuccessful.
The most common way to become a supply chain manager is to complete a foundation degree in a subject that relates to the supply chain, for example-
- Marketing and development
- International transportation
To find my information I used various techniques including using the internet- from this I searched careers websites to help find definitions, jobs and skills of the job roles. I found this very helpful as it clearly laid out the information I needed, however, not all websites was as clear or helpful. I soon realised I needed to use much more professional well known websites to find my main information on (such as the `'national careers service'). The 'National Careers Service' was most helpful as it clearly had all the information I needed such as salary, skills and qualifications needed to do that job role. I also used websites like 'Glass Door' and 'Prospects' to find more detailed information about the jobs salaries and what an average day may consist of. Other websites such as 'mashable' and 'convince and convert' was also very interesting as these websites contained articles about PR and marketing. I also realised that websites like 'wikipedia' proved to be very unreliable as a lot of information varied on wikipedia- therefore i shall not use this for future projects. I also decided to get a few videos of 'Youtube'- i think using videos in my store page made some of the topics much more interesting. i also love how these look on the page and allow the reader to not only read, but they can listen and watch my project too. I also used books to help with my research, however as someone who is much more of a visual learner i found this much more confusing and time consuming. Next time I will try to experiment with different types of books to vary my information about the industry.
Did it turn out the way I expected?
Yes! I love the design I chose for my project as I like how this makes the text stand out. I also tried to use a variety of paragraphs, bullet points and white space to make the text more interesting. I also went to Oxford Street to take some pictures to include in this project which I think makes my project a lot more visually interesting.
Did I learn anything new?
I learnt so much while doing this project. For the store manager role, I had no idea about the high levels of security involved and how much pressure they are constantly under to make sure everyone is safe- I find this very interesting. It also made me consider what jobs I would and would not be good at. The most interesting one to research had to be the question about PR's and Marketing. I used to think it was all office, admin work- i had no idea how involved they were with celebrities and the media. I find it so interesting how they also have to keep up with trends by attending fashion shows, this is definitely a career I am now interested in. While studying visual merchandising I also realised that it does not just involve creating props and dressing mannequins, but it is also a lot of hard work doing things like building shelves and carrying mannequins across the shop! However the creativity involved in the VM job fascinates me.
Struggles and how I over came them
Initially I found out researching the supply chain very challenging as it's a topic that I knew little to no knowledge about (where as with the others I knew brief information about them which really helped). Also when I was reading online about it the websites were much more confusing and complex which made it hard for me to understand the basic information about the job role. There was also so many parts of the supply chain which again, made me very confused! I over came this by taking out a few books from the library- these helped me to understand the risks involved and from here I could piece together my information and the overall goal of a supply chain manager. Something I also struggled with was putting all my information together in paragraphs that made sense to not only me but another reader. The more I practiced the more I got used to it and I'm sure in the future I will coninue to improve my technique.
What will I change next time?
For the next project I do I will focus more of my time on reliable sources so I'm not wasting my valuable time. I can use this time to read more books for a more detailed view of each job role. Next time I may also find primary research such as talking to real store managers to get first-hand information on the role. I feel like this will give much more evidence and will help me understand the role much more.
Overall I loved using Smore to create my project on because it makes my project look very professional, which was the theme I was trying to go for. I can't wait to experiment with different colours and styles in my next projects!
Career planner- Supply chain manager
“Concept to Customer” by Virginia Grose
Convince and convert- PR and marketing
Glass door- store manager
Wikipedia- Public relations
National careers service- Supply chain manager
National careers service- Visual merchandiser
Prospects- Visual merchandiser
YouTube- Why PR
YouTube- Visual Merchandising design and display
Picture on Supply chain management
My Pictures that I took - September 2016
Retail store manager - (top right) River Island Oxford street
Retail store manager- (bottom large picture) Topshop Oxford street
Visual Merchandiser- (top right) River island Oxford street
Visual Merchandiser- Picture 2 - Topshop Oxford street
Visual Merchandiser- Picture 3 - Zara Oxford street
Visual Merchandiser - picture 4 - Toyshop Oxford street