THE BUYER Teneille Ferguson
On a daily basis I’m running the Women’s International and Australian Designer business at Myer. I’m constantly seeking out new brands to appeal to customers as well as engage with the visual merchandising and events team to create excitement and theatre in our stores.
Historically we’ve merchandised the Designer floor into two sections: Australian Designer and International Designer. However, we’re currently mashing this up and re-laying the floor based on aesthetic. This will make much more sense to our customer; when they’re looking for a fabulous gown they only need to go to one location to find a curated edit from Maticevski to Oscar de la Renta.
When scouting a brand I look for a point of difference, commerciality, price, current stockists and ‘cannibalisation’ – making sure a new brand complements our existing brand portfolio. It’s important to ensure that the designer is established enough to have a solid supply chain so they can logistically handle supplying to a department store.
Open To Buy is broken down into two seasons: Summer and Winter. For Australian designers we generally buy one Winter collection which is dropped over three-to-four months from January to May. Then in Summer, we buy two collections – a Spring and high Summer/resort/cruise – dropped from July to November. For International Designer we buy four seasons a year which are the opposite to our Australian seasons.
We generally buy a new brand for a minimum of one year, as you’ll need to place the following season before you can see how the first season trades. Sometimes you need the learnings of the first season to understand how the customer likes to buy into the collection so the first chance that you will have to do this will be the following year.
I try to spend lots of time with new designers in the lead-up to the launch and over the first season. Each brand receives weekly sales information showing performance from a store and style level so they can track what our customer is responding to on a regular basis. I like to review this information on a visual level with the designer so together we can easily identify trends in what’s worked from silhouette, fabrication or colour perspective.
The most important tips for designers wanting to be ranged are:
1. Ensure your collection has its own ‘handwriting’ and make sure you stay true to this.
2. You need to be confident that the customer will see value in your pricing architecture and that your collection is priced competitively against like brands.
3. It’s important to build your brand awareness through the positioning in the right boutique stockists and a strong social media profile.
The Department Store Glossary
OTB: Open To Buy (how much funds to invest in a brand).
De-range: Delete from assortment.
Options: the amount of the styles you can select.
Sell Through: the percentage that item or collection has sold.
Weeks’ cover: how many weeks’ worth of stock you currently have.
Pre-sell: the invite-only event to sell new-season deliveries.