Originally Posted by topcatny,Mar. 17 2005,10:14
What do you want to do in retail? Â Work in the buying office? Work in a store? Work with the visual department, Marketing?That will help me answer your question. Also, there are 2 big retailers based in Houston. Â Foley's and Stage Stores Inc. Â Foley's for sure has an internship program but I am not sure about Stage Stores.
At this point I just want to get my foot in the door, get an understanding of what exactly goes on, and build from there. Â I want to have direct interaction with the merchandise and the market, not sit in a cubicle and look over numbers. Â Cautiously, I would say that buying or working in a store setting is what I'm looking for (although I'm not entirely certain that a commission job is for me yet, in the case of the latter). One other thing that I would mention is that both my interest and knowledge are heavily skewed towards the high end market. Â I really want to work for a Neiman's or a Saks level retailer or a high end clother (because I know the clothes a lot better and I like them a lot more), and I was wondering if experience with lower market retailers is basically treated as worthless. Â If it's a must for higher level employment, I would consider a Foley's type store, but I'm wondering if my fears that doing so would relegate me to that market are justified (sorry if I sound like a snob there). Also, if it matters I'm a history major, which I imagine may exclude me from some jobs.
If you want direct interaction with the merchandise and the market, then buying is what you should focus on. Â It is important that when you speak to potential employers that you have a good idea of what you want to do and why. Â For example if you tell them in an interview "I just want to get my foot in the door, get an understanding of what exactly goes on, and build from there" that is not going to get them interested. Â However, if when they ask you what you want to do you reply "I want to have direct interaction with the merchandise and the market", that shows them you know what you are looking for. Â Now granted all that may change down the road, but it is important that you can show that you have researched the job and have a good idea what you are interested in. Â Also, buying is not as glamourous as it seems. Â Market week is 4 times a year with assorted other shows and trips, but a majority of a buyers job is analyzing the business in a cubicle. You basically have a business to run and you need to figure out what sells and why and what doesn't and why. Â You have to be able to take your personal opinions and knowledge out of the equation sometimes. Â You may think Ferragamo's are crap shoes and everyone shouldn't waste their money on them. Â However, if they are your best selling shoes, you better be able to ignore your personal opinions and buy enough of them. Your job is to buy what sells. As for your interest being with high end stores that is a touchy subject for some in the industry. Â The idea is they want you to be interested in the job. Â Not interested only if you are buying men's sportswear. You use the same principles regardless of whether you are the men's suit buyer for Neiman's or you are buying Kenneth Cole sportswear for Foley's. Â I have spent most of my career working with women's apparel and in some ways it is easier then working in the men's industry. Â Women's clothing I can look at objectively and make a decision on whether something is right or not. Â My opinion on men's clothing is clouded by my own opinions and tastes. Working in a mainstream dept store will not prevent you from getting a job with Neiman's or Saks later on. Â As a matter of fact it may help you. Â At least then they will know that you are sure you are interested in a retail career after interning in Retail. Â For what it's worth, Neiman's does a decent amount of recruiting for college seniors every year. Â If they don't recruit at your school, you can always send them your resume. As for being a history major, that won't help you get any jobs in retail. Â But I was a double major in History and Psychology and look where I ended up.