Breaking into Buying: What is a “Buyer” and how I Got Into the Retail Industry

Lilly Pulitzer “Ross” Dress // Palm Beach Sandals // Woven Belt (under $15!) // Bow Clutch c/o

Hey friends! After sharing the news of my new job last week (you can read more here) I got a lot of questions about what exactly I do – and I can understand why! Being a “buyer” isn’t exactly an everyday job for a lot of people, so I opened up my IG for questions and y’all had them! Today I thought I would share more about what a buyer is, how I got into the retail industry, and what I do!

What is a Buyer? Buying?

Let’s start with the basics, what is a buyer? And what is my job, “buying”? The best way to explain it is that a buyer, buys products for a specific brand, line, or department in a retail store. It is our job to find the best products, at the best prices, that are the best quality and fill in white spaces in our brands and assortments. A super simple way to describe it is- shopping for your job! But buying is SO much more than just “shopping”. It’s all about building brands, and delivering products that your customer will love.  I always say it’s my dream job – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

What degree do you need?

My degree is in Marketing with a minor in Mass Communications and a certificate in Retail. While my college didn’t have a specific buying or merchandising program, there are some around the country! It’s something you can look for if you are looking for a college program that would feed you into a buying career track.

How did you get into the field?

In college I took a 101 class about different careers in retail- each week we had a different person come in and guest speak about their job in various sectors of retail. One week we had a buyer from Macy’s come in, and I remember her sharing how her job was to travel, meet with vendors and designers, find the BEST product, and bring them in for her customers. As soon as she started chatting I knew that this was the job for me! I immediately started meeting with my professors in the retail center at my college to figure out what I needed to do to get into buying! And the rest, is history 🙂

Do you actually work a 9-5 schedule?

For the most part, I do! because I work for a company that is 24/7, 365 there are times when I have brands or product airing on the weekends and need to be available for any last-minute changes. But outside of those one-off situations, I work 9-5!

What is the salary range?

It really is such a range that this question is so hard to answer! Being a buyer is a tiered career path (meaning you start entry level and work your way up the career ladder) – so you’re looking at an entry level salary and then working your way up with each promotion and new title. I started as an Assistant Buyer, then an Associate Buyer, and most recently a Buyer one. I can say that my job allowed me a salary that supported my own apartment rent, car, traveling, etc when I was single! One other note- your salary will also vary greatly depending on where your company is based. Being in Florida we don’t have state taxes which is a big bonus, but our cost of living in a coastal town like mine is pretty steep! So you weigh those pros and cons. Hope that helps!

Lilly Pulitzer “Ross” Dress // Palm Beach Sandals // Woven Belt (under $15!) // Bow Clutch c/o

I hope this post was helpful! If there is anything I haven’t answered- please leave a comment and I’ll answer asap!! I love being a resource for y’all and sharing big pieces of my life!

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  1. August 12, 2020 / 9:06 am

    I work in retail too in a support role and loved hearing more about your job! Love the print of your Lilly dress!

    Jill – Doused in Pink

  2. August 12, 2020 / 10:07 am

    I just know you are the absolute best buyer and it’s a perfect fit. Thanks for shedding some light on your career. XOXO

  3. August 13, 2020 / 7:13 am

    Super interesting to hear about your job Gentry! I love getting an insight into what other people do. It sounds like you have a dream job! One time we sat around a campfire and everyone took turns telling what a typical day at their job was like. It was SO interesting. Of course we knew what our friends did for work, but we really didn’t know what they actually did! A buyer is definitely something I’m unfamiliar with, but it sounds so fun!

  4. August 15, 2020 / 7:58 am

    Loved reading this post, thanks for sharing all the details ! You look stunning as always in Lilly ! I need that woven belt, is it one from Amazon ? Just curious because I have one sitting in my cart similar. Happy Saturday beautiful !

    • girlmeetsbow
      August 26, 2020 / 4:13 pm

      Yes the belt is from Amazon- it’s a really good one!!

  5. August 29, 2020 / 10:16 am

    This was a fascinating insight into what you do – it is fantastic you are in a career you feel so passionate about as well. It sounds like the perfect job for you! You obviously had a great university programme too – if only all courses had professionals from the sector attending each week with industry insights – it sounded fantastic!

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