Oct 16th, 2017, 11:00 AM

Occupation: Private Buyer

By Anastasija Baiko
Image credit: Pixabay/HypnoArt
Working with fashion, but not in fashion.

There is a difference between working in fashion and working with fashion. The sphere is diverse, and for 'fashion' to be a collective term referring to everything from designers and magazines to models and stylists, is too simple. When you say, "I want to work in fashion," you forget to state what position you're aspiring to take on. It's easy to be swayed by the surface image, but do you know what awaits within the world of fashion? The aim of fashion is indeed economic profit; it's a billion dollar industry. Is that what you'll be seeking once you face the reality of the business?

Image credit: Freestocks

The private buyer position means working with fashion rather than acting as a player inside the sphere. You will be working with various clients who seek help finding specific things, so your job is basically to locate what the client is seeking. For me, it was pure luck how I landed the position because I wasn't actually on the lookout. It sort of fell into my lap. I had been following a private buyer's account TuffStuff on Instagram and a late Saturday night, in between browsing photos of shoes, I found a gem—they were looking for a private buyer assistant. I decided to e-mail them immediately, and the next day I was already trying out for the role. I passed their requirements successfully, and I was hired.

Image credit: Anastasija Baiko

The way it works is that the company contacts you after they've received a request, which means you'll head out and find that specific piece of clothing which the client is requesting. It sounds simple, but you're not merely dealing with one item nor one client—your day will be packed with requests. Next step is to send back relevant information, such as prices, photos, sizes, and fit. Consider yourself an online shop like Net-a-Porter or FarFetch, but with limited working hours and direct communication with the client. You have a choice to be more involved with fashion than what is your initial job requirements; it's not an ultimatum.

Image credit: Anastasija Baiko

You get to communicate with people of different positions, get invited to private events and observe and try on current fashion trends, be it in stock or arriving fresh off of the runway. There are a lot of benefits to it, like enjoying a glass of champagne while looking through the collections a boutique has to offer. The main advantage, however, is that you've got a choice. Not that you can say yes or no to specific tasks, that wouldn't go down well with your employer, but you can limit the interaction your work has with your personal life. It is a job that occupies you throughout the day until the closing time of boutiques, and then you leave the rest for the next day. Not to say that the job is not demanding, you better wear a comfortable pair of shoes seeing as you’ll be running around from one boutique to the next. Your workplace is not limited to one place; it encompasses several different locations. In Paris for instance, that would be department stores like Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and Bon Marché or boutiques streets like rue Faubourg Saint Honoré and Avenue Montaigne. When you're able to get from Avenue Montaigne to Lafayette in just under 15 minutes without a GPS, you know you're an expert.

Image credit: Pixabay/Alexas Fotos

This position is not for the lazy or the quiet. Here you have to have an attitude. Talking to the consultants is not always an easy task, but if you have a voice, they will be ready to help you out with anything you are trying to find in their boutique. You have to be presentable, look good, dress well and know that even though you are buying for someone else, you are the client in this moment and the shop is selling to you in the first place. Certain stores such as Chanel or Hermés don't see private buyers very favorably, but most boutiques like private buyers and are exceptionally helpful. It all comes down to how you present and represent yourself.