Fashion Buyer, London, Age 28.
With over four years experience, working for popular high street brand Lipsy, I caught up with Rosie to find out what life’s like working in one of the fastest-paced industries in the world.
To put it simply, what does your job entail?
I work as a buyer for a brand called Lipsy. Working with suppliers and designers we select, edit and perfect a collection that we then sign off with management and book for a phase. We also have to present the product to our directors, select quantities for our retail and web business, negotiate prices to get the most we can whilst achieving targets, fit the product and with the help of assistants run the critical path, making sure that product comes in for the intended time frame and that the fit process runs smoothly.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A stylist which I still have a massive passion for or a Journalist; that was until I saw the dark side!
Tell us about what you’ve recently been working on?
As part of the team I work in, we are just developing my last range for our AW collection. We work very far in advance so we’re always out of season. This involves being out of the office a lot, visiting suppliers in the UK and abroad. We spend long days with our suppliers, looking at inspirational imagery, rummaging for special fabrics and prints and then forming a lead sheet with all the products we wish to place with them.
It takes a lot of consideration as to which suppliers we will use for which styles. We have to consider their strengths, factory capacities and even the location of the factories to ensure we are taking cultural factors into consideration; such as Chinese New Year and Ramadan, when factories will be closed. We also have to ensure we are back for all internal meetings and our fit sessions.
Sounds so full on but really interesting! Tell us more…can you describe your typical day?
I wake at 6.30am and do 10 minutes of yoga and meditation, drink an Espresso/ ice coffee and sometimes have some eggs (if my boyfriend is being a hero!) then get the train and get to the office between 8 – 8.30am. I walk from St Pancras to Charlotte St as I hate the tube. The first task is to deal with China first as they leave the office mid morning my time.
How did you get into your line of work?
Through a friend, it was not planned though. I studied English literature and journalism at University. I loved English but hated journalism and felt seeing it up close ruined my idealist concept of it. Initially I was just going to get a temp job and save to go travelling but some personal events meant that it wasn’t the right time to go and I fell into buying which I’m very happy with. I love it but books will forever be my life!
Describe your job in 3 words
Creative, enthralling and a balancing act
Best thing about your job:
The different people and places I get to go but also its so amazing to see the process when something starts as sketch to then seeing it worn by someone.
Worst thing about your job:
It’s not 9 – 5 and you have to give it your everything – it’s hard to keep personal life balance. Some weeks your sales are up and sometimes they’re down, so you have to be prepared for that but that’s what keeps you on your toes!
Who’s your career inspiration? Who do you follow?
I live for a LA brand I wear a lot and respect a lot called Reformation. The ethos is amazing and that to me is the perfect balance between the fictitious industry I am in and people really making a difference. I love to see the different ways they still achieve results but not at the price of our planet.
For work, I use Pinterest, Instagram, Vogue and WGSN everyday but my personal love for fashion is very different than what I design for Lipsy. On a personal level, I also read French Vogue, Love magazine and am always reading Rock Memoirs. Sadly my ultimate style queen has passed away recently, Anita Wallenberg. I also love Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt, Knight Cat, the girls at Curve Boutique and my Queen Bianca Jagger. I love girls of the 60s and 70s because they owned everything and were never afraid to wear anything.
What are you most proud of so far in your career?
Being a considerate Manager. I have had experience of Managers that show very little respect or interest and starting out in fashion it can be so tough. You need support from someone who encourages you and I hope that my assistant would feel that’s what I give to her.
Are there any trends or styles you’re in love with?
In my personal life I don’t really love following trends, for example, I didn’t touch embroidery when it was in as I had seen it for months previously when we were booking all of ours. I love small touches of trends, fishnet sock, 90s sunglasses, high leg swimwear but nothing too obvious. I ironically don’t shop for myself much on the high street. The UK is so lucky we have such amazing options and at low price points but for me I hate to see the disposable nature of the high street. For both the environment and our mentality. I am obsessive over vintage. I own 100s of vintage Levis, or Redone’s, designer vintage bags, accessories, sunglasses, t-shirts and jackets. They have a life to them. I love basics as well, vintage jeans, plain tees but with a twist. I also love a Jumpsuit or matching co-ord top and bottom.
What advice would you give someone who is seeking the same line of work?
Persistence, dedication and don’t give up as a BAA (buyer’s admin assistant). It gets easier, I promise! Bring something different to the table and speak your mind. That’s what people respect.
Dare I say it, where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to live somewhere hot, by the sea where I can be outside everyday with my boyfriend. I would love to still be part of fashion, whether that’s still buying or simply styling. Right now, I’m happy where I am.
Best bit of advice you’ve been given?
I don’t think it was advice but more inspiration that I’ve taken from my mum. She worked so hard my whole childhood, as a Head Teacher and a lecturer and to this day she still gets Christmas cards from old staff and students. She didn’t just excel in her career, but she brought charm and kindness to her work, something I think everyone should try and emancipate.
That’s lovely! If you weren’t in this career what do you envisage would be your ideal alternative path?
Maybe still styling, or I would love to be an editor for a publisher. I live to read and learn.
What trends are you seeing on the horizon?
For SS18, all over beaded fabrics will be huge, 80s and 90s still as anytime the world is in turmoil we looked to the past with nostalgia. Wide leg jeans and Military looks for beginning of the year.
Talk to me about clothes outside of work. Asides Reformation what other brands do you love?
For dresses I love Realisation Par, Reformation, LPA, Stone Cold Fox and the last swimwear I bought was from All That remains Is love, an Aussie company where they are handmade and also a bikini from HAUT. A great skimpy and sexy Miami brand. Swimwear is my dream and that is something I can’t have enough off. I feel like these pieces represent me. AYAI for clothes that make me feel like a fairy. Vintage flea markets and stores are my bag and on annual pilgrimages to California and Paris I go nuts. Santa Monica Airport has the best one. Designers, I love Balenciaga, Chanel (not for clothes more for the shows), Chloe, YSL – Hedi Slimane and Anthony Vaccarella and The Row.
Favourite holiday destination?
I’ve just been to Bali which was absolutely beautiful. California from that home from home feeling. But so many new places I want to go and explore, Peru, Mexico and Brazil.
If you could only shop in one place for the rest of your life, what shop would it be?
Random fact about yourself to finish?
I am always watching astrology documentary – puts you into perspective. Also I spend my life trying to get meditation to be mandatory at schools.
Thank you so much Rosie! You’ve been a star! 😘