Fashion merchandising focuses on the production and promotion of fashion products, from clothes to jewellery. Fashion merchandisers are the reason you don’t have to necessarily import the latest designer jeans from France or whichever country. All you need to do is hit a fashion store in a city near you and purchase the item. A bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising provides training in areas such as fashion marketing, textile economics, retail management and fashion buying. Some of the top institutions offering the program include:
- Southern New Hampshire University, New Hampshire
- California State University, Long Beach, California
- University of Bridgeport, Connecticut
After spending four years in college and earning this degree, you can qualify for employment in any of the following positions:
1. Fashion Product Developer
Fashion product developers help apparel manufacturing companies to produce quality, marketable items. If the market currently demands green silk trousers, the product developer’s job is to ensure the company produces this specific type of clothes. The developer also collaborates with fashion designers to ensure the product meets consumers’ functional requirements before it is manufactured on a mass scale. According to job site Indeed, fashion product developers earn an average annual salary of $89,000.
2. Apparel Sales Representative
As an apparel sales representative, your job is to connect manufacturers with wholesale and retail stores. Like sales reps in other industries, you will visit various fashion stores, enquiring their product needs and arranging the delivery of order products. You will also help the company to identify new markets for its products. Although Indeed reports the annual average salary for apparel sales representatives is $48,000, there is potential to earn much more, since sales reps earn commissions from their sales.
3. Fashion Buyer
Fashion buyers select the items that are stocked in a fashion store or retail outlet. They conduct research or use their professional expertise to determine the fashion items that will fly off the shelves. These buyers then work closely with the sales representatives of manufacturing companies to acquire these products. If you choose to pursue this profession, the College Foundation of North Carolina says you should expect to earn an average annual salary of $55,540.
4. Visual Merchandiser
Do you have a great eye for presenting items in a commercial yet inspiring manner? If you do, then you can become a visual merchandiser. You will work at fashion stores, where you will present garments and other fashion items with a view of creating an eye-catching store layout. The job can also involve dressing dummies, design special displays to promote certain products, and determine how the store’s lighting can be used creatively. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for visual merchandisers is $41,925.
5. Fashion Store Manager
Combining a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising with vast industry experience can land you this job. Fashion store managers are responsible for the store’s profitability and operational efficiency. They devise product promotion strategies, set product prices and lead a staff that may include sales reps, buyers and visual merchandisers. The median annual wage for all retail store managers in the US is $53,571, Salary.com reports. Experienced managers can earn up to $76,842.
These are some of the jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. Never mind the fact that many fashion stylists and costumers also have this degree!
Finally, the Southern New Hampshire University reports that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19.8 percent increase in the employment of fashion merchandisers through 2020. Given that the national average growth for all occupations is 11 percent, you should be rest-assured of finding employment as soon as you graduate.