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Niamh Jones – Creating for Primark’s Global Stores as a Fashion Buyer in Her Dream Career

Fashion Buying & Merchandising

Niamh Jones – Creating for Primark’s Global Stores as a Fashion Buyer in Her Dream Career


Niamh Jones – Creating for Primark’s Global Stores as a Fashion Buyer in Her Dream Career

Fresh out of secondary school, with her Leaving Cert in hand and a part-time job in retail, Niamh Jones knew where her passion lay, and Portobello Institute offered one of the only courses in Ireland to get her to her dream career.

Niamh had always been fascinated by fashion, but it wasn’t until she found the perfect opportunity at Portobello Institute that her dream began to take shape. Niamh was one of the first graduates to gain her Fashion Buying & Merchandising – QQI Level 5 at Portobello, which is still a popular career-focused course.

Today, she is a successful buyer at Primark, creating collections that grace stores globally. Her story is one of passion, dedication, and the transformative power of education.

A Leap into Fashion

Niamh’s decision to study at Portobello Institute was driven by her ambition to enter the fashion industry.

“I knew that studying was my best option to get a foot in the door to the buying world. I needed the knowledge and understanding behind me if I wanted to pursue a career within the industry and Portobello offered me just that,” she reflects.

Portobello Institute offered the most in-depth course available in Ireland at the time and Niamh was among the first to benefit from the newly introduced second-year Buying & Merchandising course. This step provided her with invaluable insight into the fashion industry, affirming her choice and fueling her passion further.

I always knew I wanted a career in fashion and Portobello Institute gave me the opportunity to pursue this, the course opened my eyes to the many opportunities available within the fashion world that could become a future career,” she said.

Portobello Institute now offers a BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying & Merchandising and a BA (Hons) in Fashion Management.

From Classroom to Career

Niamh’s time at Portobello Institute was rich with learning and experiences that shaped her career. The diverse modules, from business to visual merchandising, equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

“The knowledge of the teachers was incredible,” she recalls, especially highlighting a teacher who had been a buyer for M&S and whose expertise was particularly inspiring.

The knowledge of the teachers who taught us, the majority of them had all had amazing careers within the fashion industry within Ireland and outside of Ireland. All their combined knowledge just gave me a better understanding of the industry as a whole and the many opportunities that you could take within the retail fashion world, it wasn’t just a one-size-fits-all.

My time at Portobello was great. The course had many different modules which combined helped me as I started within the industry from business classes, and visual merchandising classes to more focused in-depth fashion buying-specific modules. I also made some really good friends during my time at Portobello that I am still in contact with today, it really was the best choice I made to attend Portobello after finishing secondary school,” she said.

The environment at Portobello Institute allowed for focused learning, and the work experience module was a pivotal part of Niamh’s education and getting her started on her career path.

My class was quite small which gave us more opportunity to have more focused classes. The module of work experience that you had to complete as part of the course I loved as the college helped you find what you were looking for, I remember working with an Irish designer Jennifer Rothwell as part of my module and ended up going on to work with her for a number of months after finishing my work experience,” she said.

A Journey of Growth

After graduating, Niamh continued to work with Jennifer Rothwell, gaining further insights into the fashion world. Her career took a significant leap when she joined Bestseller, a Danish retail company, as a Retail & Product Responsible. This role gave her a comprehensive view of the business, from selecting ranges for the Irish market to working closely with the visual merchandising team. Niamh’s job involved frequent travels to Denmark, broadening her perspective on European markets.

Six years at Bestseller crystallised Niamh’s passion for product development, leading her to a position at Primark as a Trainee Buyer. Over the next five years, she climbed the ranks to become a Buyer, a role she finds deeply fulfilling.

“There is no better feeling than seeing the styles you create on the shop floor and on people when you are out and about,” Niamh shares. Her job at Primark not only allows her to create and develop collections but also to travel the world, continually inspired by the ever-evolving fashion landscape.

Reflecting on Success

Looking back, Niamh is immensely proud of her accomplishments and the foundation laid by her studies at Portobello Institute.

“The course gave me a strong foundation as I started out in the industry and opened up my eyes to the opportunities and possibilities within the fashion world.”

My current position is one I am very passionate about; I get to create and develop collections and ranges every day and there is no better feeling than seeing the styles you create on the shop floor and on people when you are out and about. I am very lucky that I get to travel the world with my current job, creating ranges for Primark’s global stores and being part of such a leading international retailer. Every day is different and I continue to learn something new and am inspired by the people I work alongside– the opportunities within the fashion world are endless!”

Niamh’s journey from a student with a dream to a successful buyer at a leading international retailer is a testament to the power of following her passion with dedication and the right educational support. Portobello Institute was more than just an academic stepping stone; it was the launchpad for Niamh’s flourishing career in fashion.

“The course content was great and to this day I still recommend people to attend Portobello for this course if they want to start a career within the fashion industry,” she said.

Find Out More

At Portobello Institute we have a number of business of fashion undergraduate degrees and post-graduate opportunities. Find out more about our BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying & MerchandisingBA (Hons) in Fashion ManagementPost Graduate Certificate in Fashion Buying & Merchandising and other courses.

If you are interested in any of our business of fashion courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert advisor Sarah Coyne email [email protected] or call 01 892 0041.

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