Another class I took this semester, called Buying and Product Development, gave me a glimpse into an area of the fashion industry with which I was previously unfamiliar. While these job titles can involve a wide range of tasks, a "buyer" is typically a brand employee who decides what products are sold at which specific store locations, and a "product developer" is an employee who takes creative designs for garments and turns them into a reality. While these roles may seem pretty different, buyers and product developers often work closely together to ensure that customers are getting the best products in their stores!
Buying & product development are buzzwords in the business side of the fashion industry because they're often thought of as the more "glamorous" of the business jobs. As one of these employees, you might get to travel, work closely with designers, select fabrics, attend trade shows, and even do a little trend forecasting! So it's no surprise that fashion business students are often hunting for these sorts of internships and jobs! I hadn't had any exposure to buying or product development, so I thought this might be an interesting course to take while abroad!
Throughout the semester, we learned about the responsibilities of buyers and product developers. for our final project, we were given the task to create a company and, with a 20,000 budget, demonstrate how we would do the buying and product developing. Additionally, the company had to have some sort of ethical mission at tis core. Instead of developing a fashion brand, my project partner Shelby and I decided to create a furniture and home goods company because we felt this would provide a new challenge, as we’ve already had so much experience in fashion!
After debating between a number of aesthetics and ideas, we settled on calling our brand "Cottage Lane," and we decided that it would be an upcycling interior company. Essentially, we would buy vintage furniture from an antique dealer and hire an emerging artist to repurpose and add value to the furniture. This part of our business constitutes our product development. We would also buy home goods and interior products that match the aesthetic of our brand from various suppliers. You can check out our full business concept plan below!