footwear designer to footwear buyer

can anyone tell me exactly what is expected from a footwear buyer, what qualifications they need, etc?

me being a footwear designer would it be considered weird if i applied for footwear buyer positions? would they even consider me?

i need some help cos i’m considering a change in career but i need information before sending out my resume and making a fool of myself!


I know a few buyers, and they come from two sides… the design side, of which these people are actually among the WORST designers I’ve ever met… but they understand quality, materials, construction, trends… they just couldnt/wouldnt necessarily design this stuff themselves. They fit in pretty well.

On the other hand, others come from a the selling side. They have been reps for various brands, and know the business side really well. They know what people are buying, and how the buying process works from the sell-side. That makes the transition quite simple to move over to the buy-side.

Play up your design experience, and your knowledge of the above. It also wouldnt hurt to pick up some books on buying, selling, and negotiation. “Getting to Yes” is a good book.


almost all the buyers ive ever met are overhyped sales people who have come up from working in a store (employee to store manager to district manager to buyer, etc.) who think they are designers.

why would you want to go from a designer to a buyer?

I know a few people who’ve made the transition and I used to do a bit of buying myself a few years ago (some retailers in the UK have designers who do a bit of selecting - but the number crunching is left to someone else).

Are you good with figures? Because it is a requirement. A degree isn’t , but an eye for a winner is.

You could always try and get a role as a designer with a company where you were expected to make recommendations on what to buy, then try to move sideways.

Generally the salary is much better. Buyers are treated much better than designers IMO. But in many companies, make a mistake and you’re out!

thanks for the advice guys.

i was thinking of making the change cos sometimes i feel like i can’t put to paper what i have in my mind, so i came up with the idea that i could buy what i know will be hot…does that make sense? but then i guess it’s depressing when you can’t find on the market what you think there should be.

i’m going to stick as a designer for now and then see how things develop