Meet Scott. Trainee Buyer.
I started working at a small store in Dublin when I was 16. I was there for eight years, working in a number of different departments and in different roles. But at the same time, I was thinking about what to study at college. I wanted to stay in fashion retail, but wasn't interested in studying design.
When the products came into the store, I had a natural interest in the fabrics and the way they looked and the store manager told me it was the Buying team who chose the products. That’s when I decided I wanted to move into Buying.
I studied for a BA in Business and went on to do a postgraduate course in Buying and Management whilst continuing to work. I could see how the company was expanding rapidly, and wanted to be part of that, so it was a natural progression to move into the Buying team.
Creating a style
At the moment, I work in men’s formalwear – ties, shirts and suits. My favourite part is seeing the trends as they come through – not necessarily the formal catwalk styles but the street styles. I’ll visit one of our stores and go onto the streets to check out what the cool people are wearing and look at the trends.
For example, I was in Milan recently. It’s a new region for us, so it’s vital to talk to the people in the store and get information about what’s going on there. Then I take a look at our local competitors to see what they’re doing. And I’ll also check out the higher end of the market. If they’re doing something now, you can guarantee that one of the High Street stores will be picking it up and using an element of it next year.
I love getting that information, taking ideas from my research, seeing the competition and street fashion, and working with suppliers to develop a product.
My favourite part is seeing the trends as they come through – not necessarily the formal catwalk trends, but the street style.
Buyer is really a role you need to learn on the job. I came in thinking that, because I’d done a Postgraduate course in buying, I knew loads. But gaining experience is vital. You learn more and more when you’re working with experienced people and that’s how you get to know the job – you can’t learn it from a book. And Primark gives you the opportunity to gain that experience.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to step outside my own opinion and look at products from the customer’s perspective. So, now when I’m looking at a product, I think about whether the Irish guy, or the French guy, or the Spanish guy will like it, rather than if I’d like to wear it.
My best moment so far was when I was lucky enough, as a Trainee Buyer, to be involved in negotiations with one of our major suppliers. I was in the meeting representing the Irish business, with the Controller of Buying and a Buyer from the UK. As a trainee, being given that level of responsibility was amazing. But the business decided I had the knowledge and experience to do it, which says a lot about the opportunities they give you.
I love anything to do with fashion and creativity and when I first came into the Head Office, you could tell it was a creative place – the innovation is constant. If you have time to just step back and look around you, you can see little pockets of people coming up with original ideas and I love that atmosphere. So, if you like fashion and being challenged and being creative, this is definitely the place for you.
Other reasons to join
Your experience at Primark is about so much more than your job. It’s also about our people and our culture. Our beliefs as a business and our aims for the future. It’s about all the exciting, empowering, amazing things that make us who we are – and you who you are.
Ollie attended the Fashion Retail Academy in London. Everything he learned came together when he took a Primark internship. And he hasn’t looked back.
Scott, Ed and Blathnaid from our menswear buying and design team took off to Florence for the menswear trade show, Pitti Uomo. We caught up with them.
Douglas always wanted to work in fashion. So he said farewell to Manchester and moved to our Reading head office ready to challenge a few perceptions.
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