HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014
Buy the way
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 19, 2013
First Published: 15:35 IST(19/3/2013)
Last Updated: 15:39 IST(19/3/2013)
Creative bond : It is not just about buying, selling, crisis management, and price negotiations. Apparel managers need a creative eye as well

The lowdown

An apparel manager is the bridge between the design and the production teams. They are the one thread that connects the entire gamut of activities from the beginning to end of a style purchase order. S/he also deals with the buyers. That’s why any delay or goof-up in the communication to the client can cost the company a big order and the buck will stop with you, even if another team did it. These managers can work in retail where the role includes inventory control, deciding on what to buy, identifying store locations or in an export house where they decide on production, manufacturing, sourcing, etc. They need to manage fast-changing products, many of which become obsolete after one season. They can work in brands such as Benetton, Levis, Pantaloon; retail chains; export houses or sourcing companies (where they manage the supply chain) and outsourcing firms which are links between foreign clients and Indian manufacturers

9am: Do sample follow-ups
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Coordinate with vendors, track the movement of unshipped orders
3pm: Meet the commercial team
6.30pm: Make sure that all the samples are sent on time and inform buyers

The payoff
The starting salary of a merchandiser with a master’s degree from a reputable institute is Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month. Further on, pay depends on performance. A merchant growing to be the CEO of a big brand can rake in Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore a year

* Commercial acumen 
* Be detail-oriented 
* Be able to handle a crisis calmly

Getting there
You may come from any background. Some institutes offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in apparel merchandising, fashion marketing and fashion management

Institutes and URLs
* National Institute of Fashion Technology, centres in many cities, including Delhi
* Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi 
* Institute of Apparel Management, Gurgaon

Pros and cons
* It is a fast changing market
* If you cannot multitask, it can cost the company a big order

Apparel managers have a bright future because of significant developments in the apparel retail trade in the domestic market -- HKL Magu, senior vice chairman, Apparel Export Promotion Council, New Delhi

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