What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
The aspect I enjoy is the continual innovation of product. This starts with ensuring that the product ranges have the correct fashion trends and colour palettes. Then it's translating those concepts into product through choice of fabric, styling and trim detail.
Have you always been involved in fashion? How did you get into this field?
I had a part-time job at a retail store when I was at school and I knew then that I wanted to be a buyer. I did a clothing production management course and then joined a trainee buyer programme.
What is the most exciting experience you've had as a buyer?
This would have to be my first buying trip overseas. It was a fascinating experience being in the fashion capital cities of the world, and shopping the trends.
Which season is your favourite to buy for?
Difficult to say. One season may have an exciting new emerging trend and a new approach or range. In terms of product, I like buying outer-wear jackets.
How influenced are you by international trends? How up-to-date is the South African consumer?
We follow and monitor international trends very closely to ensure that the local market is up-to-date with new trends. Our customer is youthful and very up-to-date. He expects to see this in our stores.
Which item of clothing tends to sell the best?
Again it's very trend-specific. If you were the golfer shirt buyer, you would have experienced fantastic growths last season. Striped golfer's were massive.
Does your own taste come into play when you are buying or are you dictated to by what is available?
I have a good understanding of my customers' taste. I go with that.
Do you ever have to travel as part of your job as a buyer?
If you do not enjoy travelling then this job is not for you. We travel locally to visit our stores and local suppliers and internationally to source and view.
What is the most exciting place you have been to on a working trip?
I love Amsterdam for the youthfulness of the city and the great street fashion. Las Vegas was also exciting.
What happens to the items that have not been sold?
We mark the goods down and put them on sale. We can generally tell after three weeks if a product is going to sell or not.
What kind of training goes into your work as a buyer?
We have extensive trainee programmes where you will be taught all the technical skills pertaining to product development. The buying process will also be taught and how we go about understanding our customer.
What is the least enjoyable part of your job?
This must be when you are not meeting your required budgets and you have to start cancelling merchandise.
Do you think that the South African consumer has a distinct clothing style? How does it compare to the rest of the world?
Our consumer likes bold colour and obvious fashion trends. Due to South Africa being in the Southern Hemisphere, we are generally a season behind.
What is the best thing about working for Markham?
We have a great team of people and we work really well together. Markham also gives you the opportunity to take responsibility and accountability.
Please could you supply five tips for buying clothes?
A lot of time and effort has gone into our store windows and in-store product displays to show you how to get the look. Follow our advice with confidence.
Our basic products are not only fashionable but affordable.
Accessories are a great way to enhance your look - sunglasses, scarves, belts and caps all add another dimension to your look.
When buying investment pieces, go for something timeless.