The buying department at Harvey Nichols is a fascinating place: this is where trends are born and where we curate our unique fearlessly stylish edit of major and niche brands. Curious what it’s like to work in our desired buying department? We spoke to Robin Froeliger, who has managed to secure a coveted place as Assistant Buyer in our team. Robin gives us the insider details, from going to buying appointments to being number-savvy.
What’s your job all about?
I scout for brands, looking into new brands and suggesting them to the buyer. I ensure all orders are raised in a timely manner and I maximise profit by trading with other brands constantly throughout the season. I also analyse sales performance on a weekly basis and I order and reorder stock, based on performance. Basically, I support the department and the buyer in any way possible: from assisting with market and trade, to managing an administrator, to discussing new brands - the position is well rounded. The job is also very much numbers-based, but very rewarding if you enjoy the product.
Tell us about your background and how you ended up in buying?
I am American-French and was born in San Francisco, spending most of my life in Washington DC! I studied Marketing in Montreal and did a post-grad in Paris in Fashion Marketing. After my internship in wholesale at Rainbowwave in London, I applied for a role as Buying Administrator at Harvey Nichols and have recently been promoted to Assistant Buyer!
What do you like about working in the buying department of Harvey Nichols specifically?
I like that we also have different regional businesses across the UK and Ireland, which is interesting for buying because products can be sourced differently depending on the customer base. That’s a key thing Harvey Nichols has that not everyone has. Our brick and mortar and e-commerce presence are both considerable. We have a good balance between both of them!
What's it like working in buying at Harvey Nichols?
It’s amazing, we get to work with many cool products and brands and we have a great team. Communication is very important in a buying team and we have that, being able to bounce ideas off each other and having a casual flow of conversation.
What's your advice for people who want to get into buying?
You need a good balance between being product driven and having a good sense for numbers. You have to follow the industry and be conscious of new brands, but also be conscious of the evolution of existing ones - and how that affects buying and the an the customer's general consensus. It's important to be dedicated and passionate within a very competitive industry.
What skills do you need to excel in buying?
The above and time management: knowing how to prioritise is important. In buying, organisation is also key.
What makes a product worthy of buying into it?
It needs to be a good fit for the Harvey Nichols customer and it has to appeal to the identity of the brand as well: in sense of aesthetics, but also in terms of standards, quality and construction.
What is the most challenging thing in buying?
Juggling many different aspects! You have to manage a large number of brands and stay in touch with a lot of teams throughout the business: from the shop floor, to marketing, to accounts et cetera.
What makes your role great?
Being in contact with so many different amazing brands! I love working with products I am passionate about. Other highlights include looking into new brands and occasionally attending buying appointments. Seeing a collection in a curated space, before it hits the shop floor, is a unique perk.