12
The Buyer

There are many different types of buyer working in the textile industry; this chapter focuses on textile buyers who work in the retail sector. Most of the material is based on interviews with two buyers, Peta-Gene Goodman, Office Manager, Agal Limited, London and Johan Verbruggen, Haberdashery, Needlecraft and Fabric Buyer, Liberty, London. Various comparisons are drawn between their businesses. There seems no typical route by which individuals enter the textile-buying profession - it is often a role that employees evolve into as they accumulate professional experience in the retail sector. Companies seek different qualities in buyers. Some may insist that an individual has a background in design, business or marketing for the job role, for others it may not be a concern. Formal design training can be a prerequisite for buyers who have creative roles within industry, for example the buyer seeking fabric for garment manufacture. In this case it is probably an asset to be aware of the various characteristics of different fabric types. On the other hand, it is not unusual to find individuals who have worked their way through various roles within the same firm or in a variety of companies, eventually reaching the position of buyer. It seems that on-the-job training is just as valid as a design education background. A case in point is Johan Verbruggen who, after working in various capacities for Liberty, landed the role of buying fabrics:

Technically, I have no design degree, but this is not a hindrance, you learn on the job all the time, and I think from our point of view here, it's probably an advantage, because if you know an awful lot about the technical side of fabrics you tend to buy a specific sort of material which may be complicated and difficult for customers to understand and use, whereas I go for probably quite easy fabrics to work with which probably makes it a bit more commercial.


The Buyer's Role

Within buying there are many roles ranging from the buyer's assistant or clerk, whose jobs include receiving and marking goods, through to operating as a buying agent on behalf of a number of stores or organizations. The latter generally involves sourcing and researching for the clients and perhaps dealing with the export of goods, often working within critical time frames. Within organizations, buyers

-145-

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The Textile Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I - Overviews *
  • 1 - What is Textiles? 3
  • 2 - The Culture Place of Textiles 7
  • 3 - Perceptions of Fabric 21
  • Part II - The Creative *
  • 4 - The Textile Designer 37
  • 5 - The Designer Maker 49
  • 6 - The Craftperson 63
  • 7 - The Textile Artist 77
  • Part III - The Social and Industrial Context *
  • 8 - Globel Textiles Tradition 91
  • 9 - Ecology 107
  • 10 - Industry 121
  • 11 - The Role of Trends and Forecasting 133
  • Part IV - Related Disciplines and Studies *
  • 12 - The Buyer 145
  • 13 - Journalism 157
  • 14 - Science 167
  • 15 - Research 179
  • Bibliography 191
  • Index 201
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