Careers in Fashion Merchandising: Sourcing and Apparel Production
The production and logistics details in the apparel manufacturing pipeline is different for every fashion company, making careers in Sourcing and Apparel Production Management diverse and plentiful. Depending on the size of the company, different roles may take on different responsibilities. As a member of the Sourcing and Production team, ones job duties might include (but are not limited to) vendor sourcing, product negotiations, purchase order management, product quality and calendar scheduling to ensure that the products are delivered on time to the corporate office and retailers.
Leading fashion retailer, Vera Bradley, recently posted a job opening for a Director of Global Production-Hardlines. Since Vera Bradley serves retailers on a global scale, with various products beyond just fashion, the fashion Sourcing and Production teams are delegated to specific areas of focus. The Director of Global Production-Hardlines role, for example, focuses on overseeing hardlines, including items such as glass, ceramics, garden tools, and other assorted gifts and gift items.
Whether you’re in an entry-level position or a management position in the Sourcing and Production department, you’re likely to cover sourcing, purchase orders and inventory.
According to Vera Bradley’s job description, the skills and abilities required of this position include:
- Strong leadership and managerial skills
- Ability to be flexible/adaptable in a fast-paced, rapidly changing and growing environment
- Effective written and verbal communications skills
- Demonstrate proactive problem solving skills
- Ability to challenge self and others to think with vision
- Effective presentation skills
- Ability to develop rapport and credibility with senior management and others across the organization
- Strong team orientation and ability to maintain collaborative working relationships
- Strong communication, presentation, negotiation and decision making skills
- Ability to travel frequently, including internationally
This fashion career involves the following essential roles and responsibilities:
- Acts as liaison between Product Development/Design, Merchants and Vera Bradley China (VBC) teams
- Communicates delivery challenges to cross-functional teams due to fabric or manufacturing issues
- Strategizes with Merchants on delivery issues
- Partners with VP of Production in building and managing vendor relationships
- Supports Licensing and Manufacturing teams relative to costing needs
- Ensure samples are ordered and shipped in accordance to calendar needs
In a role with as much responsibility as those in the Sourcing and Production department at a fashion company, a degree in merchandise marketing, apparel industry management or a similar field of study from an accredited fashion college is often required.