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What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
Being able to take international trends and interpret them for our South African market is by far the most interesting and exciting part of my job.
It allows me to apply my creativity and at the same time analyse what's required. It's finding the balance between financial understanding and creativity.
Have you always been interested and or involved in the fashion industry?
Yes, ever since I can remember - clothing, fabric, patterns, haberdashery and fashion magazines have always surrounded me.
I was born into a family of fashion designers and fabric merchants. I guess it is in my blood.
My mom and aunt are both fashion designers and so were my grandmother and great-grandmother. My grandfather used to import fabrics and owned fabric stores around the country. Fashion is second nature to me.
Do you ever have to travel for your job? If so where have you travelled?
Yes, buyers travel approximately twice a season, which means about four international trips a year. I have travelled to Europe. We find inspiration in cities such as London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam. On certain occasions we will travel to New York as well - but for the most part Europe is our number one destination.
What is the worst part of your job?
I actually love every part of my job. I am very lucky to have found a career that I love so much. I think the worst part of my job would be trading in a tough economic climate, much like the global financial crisis we find ourselves in today.
The buyer's job becomes much harder when people start tightening their belts. We have to be more reactive within a season - monitoring sales, getting out of dead stock, and converting styles that aren't working into styles that are trading. It can become extremely stressful and pressurising. You have to be able to cope with high stress levels, adopt a trader mentality and have the ability to be extremely flexible.
What are the perks of your job?
The biggest perk for me is you get to travel and work with fashion every day.
What type of personality is needed to be a buyer for Foschini?
I think any buyer at any retailer would need to be self-confident and self-assured, decisive, resilient, persuasive, systematic and organised, deadline oriented, creative, have a good eye for detail, a risk-taker and someone with sound judgment and managerial skills.
To be a Foschini buyer you need all of the above as well as dedication, a willingness to help and learn, to be a team player and you must be warm and engaging.
Does your personal taste come into play?
Yes, your personal taste level definitely comes into play and that is why a buyer needs to have a good fashion sense and the ability to relate to and interpret fashion trends, coupled with the skill of interpreting relevant fashion trends for the customer you are purchasing for.
Is Foschini a South African brand?
Yes, we are definitely Proudly South African and love our local culture and are completely inspired by it.
What has been your worst experience as a buyer?
Having a style that I was totally in love with be put on markdown because it didn't appeal much to my customer.
What top five tips would you give to people for buying and using your product?
Always buy garments that fit your body properly. There's nothing worse than ill-fitting clothing.
Dress to flatter your shape. Get to know what suits your body type and learn to flaunt your assets.
Do not be afraid to invest in good quality products that have longevity. These pieces will form the foundation of your wardrobe that can be easily updated with more affordable and fashionable seasonal pieces.
At Foschini we buy coordinated looks so that our customers can put outfits together with ease. Ask the assistant in store to show you what can be mixed and matched. That way you get more mileage out of your purchase.
Read fashion magazines. They will build your confidence in high fashion trends and help you get the look right.
What are the top five tips you would give to someone to take care of the product properly?
Always read the wash-care label inside the garment. By reading this you will increase the life span of your garment.
Wash your denim inside out and ensure the buttons and zips are closed before washing.
Flat dry all your knitwear. Do not expose to direct sunlight and do not hang on a hanger as it will eventually stretch out of proportion. Ensure that all embellished garments are hand-washed gently.
Lastly, love your clothing and it will love you back. - Keitumetse Segoai