Joanne credits the fashion community on Instagram for leading her to this course and an internship and job with Primark
Business of Fashion graduate
Business of Fashion
Instagram is where ‘Fashion Happens’ and Joanne had been following many key industry players, many of whom were graduates of Portobello Institute and very successful in their careers. She decided that this was the route for her and enrolled on the Fashion Buying and Merchandising course, which she found “brilliant and has really helped me with my career.”
As part of the course, Joanne secured a placement with Primark, the global retail company headquartered in Dublin. The learning opportunities and support offered by Primark is ‘second to none’ and we asked Joanne to explain her experience to future potential students. “When Ann-Maire mentioned she had secured a Primark internship I knew right away that I had to do it as it would be a great way to see if fashion buying was for me and also it was with Primark the company that I wanted to work for because their head office as based in Dublin and because it is such a well-known company.”
Joanne praises her tutors unreservedly by saying, “The tutors on the course were brilliant and it is very clear why they are lectures on the course. Nicole is a designer herself which was brilliant as she knows first-hand what it takes to become a designer. Janet is so creative and full of energy she really does get the creative side out of you. Ann-Maire is so realistic. She knows what it takes to become a buyer and has amazing contacts to help you get your foot into certain buying offices. During my internship I knew that if I had any problems I could email her and she would be there with amazing advice. Only for this course and Ann-Maire I would not have my dream job today.”
We asked Joanne to describe her time at Primark
“As part of my internship I was placed in the ladieswear department and I was on team knit. I loved everything about it. I had many different jobs throughout my internship such as; fits, comp shop powerpoint (comparative shopping in other stores), emailing suppliers, organizing rails and post.
Every day was different on the internship. On a Monday it was a trade day which meant I had to pull the top products of knit that week. The meetings on a Monday were very interesting as you got to go into the finer detail to how things are selling. We don’t only look at Ireland we look at all the regions that Primark sell in which is good to see how different they are.
Comp shops were something that me and the interns did a lot. At first, I didn’t think they would make much of a different but in fact one of mine that I did was presented in a meeting. I had to compare the prices of cardigans from different retailers.
On a Tuesday morning I would email all the different suppliers and ask them to send on any workbooks of the different pieces that had to be fitted that week on the fit model. Suppliers would send different samples and we as buyers would have to develop the product to make sure it was fit for production. I would then measure the different knit pieces to ensure that they are to spec. We would then have a fit meeting where we would discuss different things, we would like to change such as increase the sleeve length by 1cm. I would take down any comments that were made and send response back to the suppliers. We would do this a number of times during the week.
Primark is such a big company and we get many samples and developments sent on a daily basis so it was my job to ensure that they were kept organised.”
Joanne, found the biggest challenge to be “knowing if I was doing enough to prove myself. I was limited to the amount of stuff that I could do because I was an intern and I just wanted to be doing more. I wanted to prove myself in the hope that I would get a job out of my internship. However, my advice would be to anyone do anything that your team ask you. Keep yourself busy by researching all the competition and ask loads of questions.”
The effort paid off as Joanne recalls “My best memory of the internship was getting the email that started my recruitment process. I did not realise that my team was putting me forward as a trainee buyer and it was a complete shock. This resulted in me getting a job as a trainee buyer. Another great memory of the internship was making friends with all the other interns. The girls that Ann-Marie selected to complete the internship were the most motivated and supportive girls. I have made friends for life.”
“The best part for me was seeing the development of the product. I know understand how a buying office works. Through my hard work I now have secured a full-time job in men’s wear which is the reason why I decided to do this internship.”
We wish Joanne every success in her career at Primark.