hobnobbing + jetsetting… buyer style….

So I’m not going to lie… Being a Target buyer is a pretty sweet gig.  Never mind the fact that I run my own multi-million- dollar business, bring cool items like this first to market, negotiate terms such as pricing, exclusivity, and promotion … There are some perks that take me away from the normal day-to-day buyer to-dos.  Case in point: last week was the 2012 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago – the world’s largest marketplace for all peeps in the home and housewares industry (apparently there are 60,000 of us!)  OR… you can call it what it is:  4-days of rubbing elbows with VIP vendors and business owners; 4-days of the best trade shopping, browsing, perusing of items that have yet to be seen by the public eye; and 4-days of the greatest eats and drinks.  I mean c’mon! If we’re going to be in Chicago, we might as well grub and hydrate at America’s finest, right??  Plus, the housewares industry has a natural affinity for all things foodie-related so culinary trend-shopping (*ahem*, EATING) is just part of the job 🙂

Anyway, it was a whirlwind trip and you’ll get to see some of my favorite top-secret goods on our shelves this October.  But until then, in the spirit of Rob Gordon (or Rob Fleming, depending if you watched High Fidelity or read it), I’ll leave you with my Top Five moments of the 2012 International Home and Housewares Show :

  • Having dinner cooked by Iron Chef Michael Symon – ooOoh yeah daddy-o… Grandma Symon’s baklava recipe???  Amazing.  psst… Grandma’s secret is crushing graham crackers with the pistachios… game-changer.  I swear.
  • Partying with Aussie celebrity chef Curtis Stone and making sure he told his baby mama that the Target buyer is her biggest fan.
  • Embarrassing myself by getting completely star-struck from meeting Top Chef Stephanie Izard… and then proceeding to continue the embarrassment by earning the Creepy McCreepster award by continuously sneaking photos of her while she was cooking and not looking…
  • A dinner and private wine tasting that involved Pride Viognier, and Opus One Cabs, and French wines I can’t pronounce.
  • Comp shopping on State St and Mag Mile… and yes, I realize that TopShop doesn’t sell small appliances, but you can’t blame a girl for wanting to double-check!

Not too shabby, eh?  But even with all the fancy-pants meals and foodie celeb run-ins, it’s nice to be back home.  The only downside to the trip… unpacking my suitcase.  Blech.  And just between you and me, it’s still not unpacked.  Don’t tell my mother.

Interested in a career in buying, planning and brand management? Search and apply for jobs here.

9 Replies to “hobnobbing + jetsetting… buyer style….”

  1. Wait A Minute! Lindsay Price is the baby mama?!? You’re making me rethink my switch to food mags from celebrity gossip…tell me more.

  2. If you ever need a Target pharmacist to tag along to assist you, my schedule can be cleared! And, now I know who is responsible for my cabinets being full of all kinds of kitchen gadgets…

    P.S. My mother in law has the banana smoothy maker and loves it!

  3. Congrats Jessica! Looks like you are having FUN!
    Excited to hear more about your success.
    From Napa With Love,
    The Jessup Crew

  4. Aloha Jessica,
    Im inspired by you and your blog! I am interested in becomming a buyer someday. I am looking at colleges now. I wanted to know what your suggestions are toward this goal? And, what steps you feel I should take first?

    Jamie Yamagata

    PS: I LOOOVEEE TARGET! Thank You for opening one in Kailua-Kona, HI.

  5. Hi Jamie,
    How exciting that you are interested in buying + loOooOove Tarzhay! 🙂 I actually added some spiffy rice cookers to the Hawaii stores only, so take a look and let me know what you think. I think any solid BA program from a 4 year university will set you up nicely to pursue a career in buying. Target has an amazing merchandising internship program for undergrads where you can come to Target HQ as a Business Analyst intern and potentially join full-time after graduation. I highly recommend joining the team as an analyst – it’s a great way to learn the fundamentals + building blocks of retail while getting the experience of Target’s fast, fun, & friendly work culture. See my post about Loving Your BA… many business analysts go on to become buyers… in fact, many of our senior leaders (and our CEO!) started as a BA. Good luck and keep in touch!
    PS- Kailua is one of my favorite towns to visit in HI… I love Oahu 🙂

  6. Jessica,

    I love reading your posts! Thank you for all of your enthusiasm and passion for your job! I have been applying for various positions at Target and was wondering if you had any advice or tips for getting an interview. I am also curious about your hiring process with Target. Did you start as an intern? What did you go to school for? Thank you so much Jessica!



  7. Hi Anna – so glad you love reading Target Pulse! I did start as an intern. I was recruited back in 2010 through my MBA program at Kellogg School of Management. I went back to grad school after 7 years of professional experience to pursue a career in brand management… then I learned about the buyer role and changed course! So glad I did – this gig is a good fit for me. If you don’t have a campus program to recruit through, you should definitely apply online and make sure your resume + cover letter speaks to your strengths, past experiences, relevant skills, and PASSION for retail + tarzhay. Heck, you should mention that you’ve been following this blog – it shows that you care about learning more. Good luck!

  8. Hey Jessica – I’m a design student at UofI Champaign-Urbana. I want to go into tradeshow booth design, and wondered if I could ask you a couple of questions about your buyer experience? The first of which is, what draws you into a booth? Do you have specific companies you visit like Alessi or Bodum, or do you wonder until something catches your eye?
    Love your blog,

  9. Hi Jonathan ~ thanks for reading + writing! Great Q… I’m a visual merchant so I’m definitely drawn into booths that are visually stunning. Generally, this means the bigger booths {you can just do more with the space…} and booths that have a lot of activity going on. Beautiful product is one thing {Sensio had a stunning Bella booth at Housewares… KitchenAid had the pyramid of stand mixer colors…both are good examples} but so is the activity. Booths that have stuff going on always draw me in – sampling, demoing, things to do/see/touch… the interactive piece is always compelling. I loved SodaStream’s Housewares show booth {nailed product, activity + installation very well} as well as Lifetime and Cuisinart’s booths {um, REALLY yummy samples}. Aladdin’s booth was also a standout – they made their booth feel like a boutique store. I absolutely do seek out specific companies {b/c I have to… it’s why I fly out to these things}, but I always leave PLENTY of time for discovery and milling around. Shiny bright colors or modern design always lure me in 🙂 Hope that helps! ~Jess

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *