Careers in Sales

  • Who gains the attention of the customers?
  • Who can determine customers’ needs and desires?
  • Who can sell a product, service, concept or idea?

The people responsible for selling fashion products are Manufacturer's Sales Representatives, Company Sales Representatives, Merchandise Coordinators and Retail Sales Associates.

  • A product can be the best in the world, however, if it is not effectively marketed and sold, it will not be manufactured for long.
  • People working in sales have the enthusiasm, drive and persuasive skills to sell.
    • They enjoy the thrill of the chase and the excitement of the closing.
    • Are skilled at gaining the attention of customers and building a rapport with them.

Manufacturer's Sales Representative

A Manufacturer’s Sales Rep is a wholesale salesperson who often is independent and a business owner.

  • Most often, the Sales Rep sells the product lines of multiple manufacturers, most often noncompeting lines, to retail buyers.
    • Travels to buying offices or sells lines at markets.
  • The Sales Rep works within a given territory and employs Showroom Sales Associates.
  • Usually paid on commission.

Job Qualifications

Education

  • A bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, product development, business, marketing or a related field

Experience

  • Sales, sales, and more sales!
  • Assistant to a sales rep / work in a showroom

Personal Characteristics

  • Self-discipline, self-motivation, good follow-through skills, perseverance, enthusiasm, organizational abilities and the ability to handle rejection
  • Highly competitive, believe in what they sell
  • Establish trust and good relationships with customers

Company Sales Representative

A Company Sales Representative is a sales rep and actual employee of one company.

  • Responsible for selling the company’s product to retail buyers.
  • Often have broader territories than manufacturer’s reps.
  • Tend to assist buyers with more selling aids than manufacturer’s reps.
  • Typically paid through base salary plus commission rather than just commission.

Job Qualifications

Education

  • A bachelor’s degree in merchandising, design, product development, business or marketing

Experience

  • Again, sales, sales, sales! (in a showroom)

Personal Characteristics

  • Self-disciplined, internally motivated and excited about their business
  • Exceptional organizational and communication skills
  • Capable of educating their customers, the retail buyers

Merchandise Coordinator

A Merchandise Coordinator is employed by a manufacturer to work in retail stores.

  • Hired to service a number of key accounts in a specific geographic area.
  • Travel to the retail sites to work with the owners, buyers, managers, sales associates and customers of the stores.
  • Will write reorders, stock the sales floor, visually merchandise the sales floor, work on promotional events, and educate sales associates.

Job Qualifications

Education

  • A bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, business, sales or marketing

Experience

  • Hands-on experience in retail or wholesale selling

Personal Characteristics

  • Strong selling and communication skills
  • Knowledge of the product line and marketing strategies
  • An understanding of sales, visual merchandising and product construction
  • Ability to work independently with little supervision and guidance

Retail Sales Associate

A Retail Sales Associate performs an essential function of all retail stores – selling!

  • Sales positions are often viewed as a starting point to gaining valuable experience, but for some individuals who are people-oriented, a career in sales is challenging and rewarding.
  • Everyone working in the industry benefits from some experience in sales at the store level.
  • Customer service is the primary responsibility of every sales associate.