Are you interested in fashoin and trend? Then, maybe you might think of being a fashion merchandiser(MD). As you know, fashion MD is trendy job and also it is very busy job. Eun Ji Cho(Cho) is a fashion MD in national brand CHANEL. The Sookmyung Times(SMT) interviewed her, as she can tell us about the world of fashion MD.
"My biggest fascination is that I can watch brand new products every season and catch the trends. I feel good whenever I think I am a member of the fashion industry, leading the trend as a person who loves fashion."
1. What does the job of a fashion MD entail and what do you do? Can you introduce your daily life?
CHANEL is a global brand and I order and manage products which are appropriate for Korean customers’ trends every season. I make the best sales strategy after analyzing sales trends among the goods designed and made in the Paris design studio. Unlike other brands, CHANEL has six seasons per year by dividing Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter into three parts each. I have to prepare purchases one month prior to buying because new products are launched once every two months.
I examine the result of the previous two month’s sales and last year’s and decide on the purchase amounts. In addition, I observe sales trends by visiting each store and monitoring our competitors’ movements. I also assume the work of product management when we have commercial shows twice a year. Because CHANEL is not a national brand, there is so much work to do, including the whole process of managing the good quality of stock for customer satisfaction. Although it is tiring to finish my work, it is worthwhile after achieving good results at the end of the season.
2. To be a fashion MD, foreign language skill is important, especially an MD in a foreign company like you are. What qualifications are needed for a good fashion MD?
An MD is not just a person who orders products, but she has to work together with MDs in Asia, Europe or other countries every day. That means I have to be good at English to communicate with them. Also, the president of our company is French, so reports should be done in English. Because of these things, English is a prerequisite. I think a person who wants to be a fashion MD should know the trend well and has an interest in it. The ability to catch trends is the basic skill needed to be a fashion MD. In addition, he or she has to be meticulous and good at calculation because an MD figures out the amount of money needed before buying and boosts up the sales after buying.
3. I think you must have done many internships to become a fashion MD, and if you did, what kind of work did you do? Which activities are helpful to Sookmyungians while they are still students?
I was a student majoring in clothing and textiles, but at first, I did not have the idea of becoming an MD. Therefore, I did my internship in the design department of Michaa. I learned how a Fashion Company operates and I found out what I could do with my ability. Unlike the time when I was a student, foreign brands employ interns frequently. Not only just when you are in your fourth year, but also before you are a senior, being an intern is very important in order to learn about the atmosphere of a Fashion Company. In this respect, I think internship is a good experience for your career.
4. Personal ability and qualities are important for a fashion MD. To be a better MD, what do you usually do?
I try to read various kinds of magazines to follow the trends and be better at forecasting. When you belong to one label, it is easy to be sluggish. So I go to department stores and analyze the trends of competitors. Also, I study English steadily so as not to have difficulties in explaining and persuading our situation to the head office.
5. Are there many Sookmyungians in the fashion MD field? Would you give some advice to Sookmyungians dreaming of becoming a fashion MD?
There is less chance to meet Sookmyungians whose major is clothing and textile in this industry. That’s because in the MD industry, most people start their work through personal networking and there are not many senior Sookmyungians yet. Being a designer is not the only job for clothing and textile students. In the fashion industry, you can find many different kinds of jobs if you widen your sight. It will be very tough for you at first, but if you have interest in fashion, study English hard and serve in an internship, I think I will soon meet many Sookmyungians in my field.
Studying Economics will be helpful when you work as an MD, which is deeply related to sales. If you have extensive knowledge of finances, it would be a great help. I also hear a lot that Business education is useful but I don’t think it is necessary.