Business of Fashion
My name is Lorna Skelly. I am 23 years old and I am from Cavan. I completed the Fashion Buying and Merchandising course in Portobello Institute. I chose to study this course because I have always had a keen interest in fashion and was eager to pursue a career in the fashion buying industry. Fashion buying in Ireland is a tight knit community that can be hard to break into. I felt that studying before entering the career would give me an advantage when applying for jobs, which it did. Choosing the part-time course meant that I was able to work full time in retail and gain experience on a shop floor as well as study.
After completing the course I was offered a 6 week internship with Primark through Portobello Institute. The experience I gained during my internship with Primark was invaluable. I was working alongside the women’s sportswear team and learned so much from them. During the 6 weeks I was shadowing the trainee buyer on the team. Every Monday we would attend trade meetings discussing the sales of our products from the previous week. We would attend fit sessions with products that were being developed and would issue comments and changes that had to be made to the supplier. The role of the trainee buyer spends a lot of their time dealing with suppliers and fixing any issues that may arise with them. I was lucky enough to be involved with a range build during the 6 weeks where we trialled new styles of shorts and then pitched them to the head buyer. Once everyone was happy with a product we then would email the supplier to let them know that the product had been approved and they could begin production. There are also small jobs that the trainee buyer is in charge of such as opening post and processing all the samples that are delivered, weighing fabric to make sure it is the correct spec and taking notes during meetings. One of the major benefits of this internship was that I was treated like an integral part of the team. I was given lots of responsibilities over the course of the 6 weeks and also given many opportunities to share my opinions and ideas. The team I was involved with made me feel very welcome from day one and were always happy to answer any questions. For me this is integral in a new workplace when you have so much to learn.
The biggest challenge I faced during the internship was ensuring every detail of a product was correct before signing it off. It came as a surprise to me how much detail and care goes into each and every detail of a garment before it is ready for production, down to the last thread. Being organised is also imperative in this role. The job is so fast-paced that it is very easy to get mixed up or confused with what is going on with each garment.
My best memory I have from my internship was pitching our new range to the head buyer. It was thrilling to see that she liked what we had planned and was great experience being able to voice my opinion to the team. I also made great friends with my fellow interns which made the experience that bit easier as we were able to discuss what we all were learning.
The main lesson I have learned from the internship is that it is a high pressured, fast-paced and intense job. A passion for what you do is definitely needed. Organisation is key within the job, if you are not organised you will struggle. Having studied before starting the internship was hugely helpful in understanding what was expected of me as a trainee buyer. I cannot speak highly enough of the experience I gained. I absolutely loved every minute.
I am delighted to say that from my internship l was interviewed and offered a position on the buying department of primark . Dreams really do come true in with the help of Anne-Marie and Portobello institute.
The best part of working as an intern with Primark is that it is a global company. You gain experience in understanding what it is like to buy for different regions, not just one country and in huge quantities. Starting as an intern for Primark prepares you with skills that you can use in any buying office. The staff is treated very well in the office and it is a vibrant and fun atmosphere to work in. It was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to begin my career with them.