If you’ve ever wondered what a fashion buyer does every day then this post is for you! Georgie Eustace is a successful buyer at New Look on the jerseywear department. Having been obsessed with clothes for as long as she can remember she’s worked her way up at the brand over the past nine years.
As a fashion buyer Georgie has a ridiculously glamorous life which includes endless trips to places like New York and LA. She told me about what it’s like to see a customer wearing her clothes on the street, about being paid to shop in Tokyo and South Korea and where she gains inspiration for her ranges.
She also spoke about the pressures of constantly buying product that sells and what it’s like when you’re working in China over the weekend and all of your friends are in London at Field Day!
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion buyer?
I didn’t realise I wanted to be a fashion buyer for quite a while. To be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted to do! I’ve always been very logical and mathematically minded so I choose to study Economics at Uni. I very briefly considered studying a fashion related degree but I didn’t want to restrict my future career to only fashion and I don’t regret my decision at all (even though I obviously have ended up in fashion!).
What skills do you feel are key to being a buyer?
There are so many skills involved in a being a buyer that it's hard to narrow it down to a few! Probably first and most important is passion and product eye. You can have all the strategic ideas in the world but if you don’t have the eye for what product you think will be the next bestseller then you won’t make it as a buyer. Listening and teamwork would be next up. You can’t do this job on your own and the team is so important. If you can’t listen to your team and get them on board (and make sure they’re happy!) you’ll be trying to do everything on your own, which is impossible without having a breakdown!
What’s the most glamorous thing about being a fashion buyer?!
The glamorous part is definitely the travel. I’ve done so amazing trips for New Look. I’ve been to New York, LA, Miami and Korea all just to shop for a few days for inspiration and ideas! And I’ve been lucky to do it with colleagues who are all like-minded and have become true friends.
People generally think it’s all glamorous. They think that you have loads of amazing product to choose from and that you can just pick the winners. If only it was that easy! With travel, there are a lot of parts that are very hard work. Working in China for days when you’re jetlagged is tough, and when you’re there working over the weekend and all your friends are at Field Day it can get to you.
What does a typical day look like?
My typical day is in the London office. I like to go the gym before work so I can relax once I’m there, knowing there’s no pressure that I need to leave on time. I will usually have checked my schedule the night before so I know what meetings are coming up. First thing I do is check the sales from the previous day. The best part of the job is seeing your clothes sell and I still get so excited when something new goes out and selling well. Every day I will be multitasking. It’s a constant balance between meeting suppliers and designers to develop new product for the months ahead, but also reacting to current sales and quickly buying more of any bestsellers. If I’m not out at supplier meetings then I’ll be in the office, racking up the product and deciding how much to buy and at what price.
How big is your team?
I’m lucky I have quite a big team. I have four assistants, which I honestly couldn’t live without. I also have three amazing designers. What I love about New Look are the people I work with. I have worked with so many people who have become lifelong friends, have gone on numerous holidays and even lived with!
What have you loved most about being a buyer and what have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is the pressure of being a buyer. When I was an assistant, I never understood why my buyer was stressed. I thought it looked easy! But even though I’ve been doing this for years I still feel the pressure every day to deliver good product that everyone will like and will sell. It often keeps me up at night. But I guess that’s just a sign of how much I care, and I wouldn’t be able to do a good job if I didn’t.
How does it feel when you see your product on customers or celebrities?
I honestly love it whenever I see anyone wearing my products. From a girl on the street to fashion bloggers and magazines, I’m happy with them all! In a way it’s nicer when you see a normal girl in the street wearing something you bought though, it’s more real than another Instagram post and I like to think I’m making people happy.
How much do you travel with your job?
I travel a lot at the moment, which does get a bit much sometimes. I go to Turkey every 6 weeks and China twice a year. Sometimes you just want to sleep in your own bed! When I’m there it’s all about product development. In China, we’ll be developing for the season ahead and in Turkey, it will be product for the next month. I spend most of my time there with designers, brainstorming ideas using catwalk images and inspiration from our shopping in Korea to develop new and exciting ranges.
What big trends can we look forward over the next few months?
Trend-wise I definitely think there’s a shift towards colour and print. Recently I’ve been wearing head to toe red but I’m over that now and I’m onto yellow and green. I’m also obsessed with stripes, there are so many new colour variations I want!
How do you find inspiration for your department, what trend forecasting resources do you use?
Most of the inspiration I use for my department comes from our Korea and Tokyo shopping. They are definitely a season ahead of trends. Last year we bought a lot of things that seemed crazy and full-on at the time but now they’re bestsellers and all the high street are landing similar trends! You definitely have to have an open mind.
Has the loom of Brexit, the downturn in the economy and a general push to keep costs down affected your work?
It is tougher since Brexit, mainly because of the fall in the pound to the dollar and the uncertainty it’s caused. It’s meant re-sourcing some products and working even harder to get the product we want into the retail price we want to sell it at.
What ambitions do you have in your role?
Right now I’m at a stage where I’m not sure what my ultimate goal is. For years I knew I wanted to progress up the ladder and be a buyer and now that I’ve finally accomplished that I’m not sure what’s next for me. It’s definitely an unsettling feeling.
How do you keep a balance in your life?
It is hard to keep a balance. This is an all-consuming industry and you can’t succeed if your heart isn’t in it. Even if I’m not working long hours I find it hard to switch off. Support from friends and family is absolutely vital. It’s also really important to have friends in the industry, as they really understand what you’re going through.
Ultimately hanging out with great friends who make me laugh is my favourite way to unwind but I do absolutely love a good holiday. We work so hard that we deserve a break and I love travelling and exploring new places.