Merchant Assistant Saks Fifth Avenue
How did your get your job at Saks Fifth Avenue?
After applying for a few interesting sounding positions on the Saks careers website, I finally received an email from them wanting to interview me for the Merchandise Assistant position within the company.
What was it like on your first day?
My first day at Saks was a big induction day: learning the company’s history, what my day-to-day tasks were going to be, who the members of my team were, and how I would be working to assist them with their jobs going forward.
Is working at Saks as you expected?
Absolutely. I knew that working for a leading, luxury retailer would mean a fast-paced work environment, surrounded by people who work extremely hard, and who are very good at what they do. I have learned more than I ever thought I would about the retail business and how to be successful within it.
Describe an average day in the Executive Excellence Programme.
Typically, we spend three days out of the week within the buying office that we are training in, and two days out of the week taking classes. The classes vary from retail maths, to communication skills, all valuable tools that you will need to be a successful buyer or planner. On the days we spend within our buying offices, we are working on projects for our buyer or planner, to help recap on the existing business and make suggestions to drive the business further in the future.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done in your role so far?
During the first month of the programme, I shadowed a Selling Manager in our NY Flagship store. This was a really exciting opportunity for me, as I have never worked on the floor of a retail store, and never knew the ins-and-outs of how the selling processs actually operates. It was an eye opening experience, where I not only made amazing connections with sales associates and managers, but also learned their tips and tricks for selling our merchandise. The energy in the store is also so positive and exciting!
What are the key qualities you have to have to be a Buyer at Saks?
I believe that to be a buyer at Saks you need to be extremely business minded, and know how a retail business works in all aspects. You have to know the key trend-based pieces to buy in for the season, but, at the same time, you have to be able to budget your cheque book for the season in a pragmatic way. You are running a business and, yes, it may be fun to pick all these exciting pieces for your stores, but, at the end of the day, you need to make a profit out of them.