the FAQs of buyer moves

It’s amazing how fast things move in Merchandising at Target.  I’ve successfully surpassed my 90 day milestone here in my new Toys gig and my personal barometer of how it’s all going = Challenged, yet surprisingly comfortable.  Still in newness mode of constant discovery, yet feeling pretty confident in the how much I’ve learned in just a short amount of time.  So what’s happened in the first 90 days?

Well, I started off with getting to know my new team… getting used to my longer elevator commute {although long elevator commute = better view from my cubicle window}… meeting my vendors… and immersing myself in all things girls aged 4-10.  And then, before I could even realize how quickly things were moving, suddenly I’ve gone through a full transition cycle {line reviews, planogram, and negotiations}, selected my assortment for Spring 2014, set + executed our Fall assortment in stores, became captain of a few things, and recently lost my “new girl” tiara to a newly placed Boys Action buyer.  Hey hey now – guess who’s not so new anymore???  😉

Don’t worry – this pace is normal. And waaaay less scary than it sounds.  Things move fast in retail and especially at Target.  Even so, as normal as this is – I’ve definitely been asked a lot of the same Q’s from people both inside and outside of Target.  Soooo, since odds are you are wondering the same thing{s}, let’s go through the frequently asked questions of what happens when a buyer moves.

Q: How is it???

A: Awesome!  No really.  It is.  I’m not just saying that because my boss can read this blog.  I’m saying that the new gig is actually super fun and challenging.  And remember my gig back in appliances?  Also super fun and challenging.  So this is further evidence that the buyer job rocks and it really doesn’t matter what category you have… the work itself is what drives the passion.  Also further evidence that I can get as excited about kitchen gadgets as I can about foo-foo-shee-shee girly toys as I could about garden hoses as I could about diapers.

Q:  So you didn’t ask to be in Toys?  How did you get there?

A:  I like to say that Toys chose me… just kidding. No, I didn’t choose Toys per se but I didn’t not choose Toys either.  Target is really great at knowing where to place people – there are a lot of conversations across a lot of important decision makers about who should be where.  Target isn’t afraid to stretch their talent – they like challenging their team members and making sure that people move into roles where they can not only add value, but extract value.  I was definitely asked where I would be interested in moving… but I’m a firm believer that you don’t know what you don’t know.  I said I was open to anything.  And being open has served me well – this was a good pairing.

Q:  Isn’t Toys suuuuper different from Appliances??

A:  Well sure.  My new young guest doesn’t even know her multiplication tables yet {which btw, I heard they don’t teach that in school anymore???  Whaaa??  Is that true??}.  But there are more similarities than you think.  Going from the Home pyramid to the Hardlines pyramid in the company may sound like foreign territory, but Appliances in many ways is considered the hardlines business of Home.  Big brand names, strategic vendor partnerships, heavy Q4 seasonality, and lots of circular ads.  So yes, Appliances is a very different business but my skills have pleasantly translated quite well to the new world of Toys.

Remember how I mentioned that we train in cohorts here at Tarzhay?  Well with that, it means there’s been quite a few of my training classmates who have also switched roles.  Domestics to Lawn & Patio | Jewelry in stores to Jewelry dot com |  Holiday Trim to Kitchen Tools & Gadgets | Vitamins to Cards & Party… lots of changes that could make you go hmmm…. But really, it’s just the natural progression of a developing buyer.

And it’s the fun part of working for a mass retailer.  You never know what’s next 🙂

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

  • Katherine Ro

    September 24th, 2013

    What do you feel is the most critical quality one needs to have to be a successful buyer for a company?

    Reply
  • Jessica

    Jessica

    September 24th, 2013

    Hi Katherine – that’s a tricky question because in my opinion there are lots of qualities that make up a great buyer. That’s the beauty of teams {one sr buyer will have a few buyers they oversee in one team} – everyone has different strengths + weaknesses so that collectively the team is well-balanced. That said, I do believe a successful buyer needs to : 1) love working with people {this is not a solo job… you can’t get things done without others}, 2) effectively manage A LOT of competing priorities {you’ll never get it all done and you need to be okay with that}, and 3)have a passion for the business {whether it’s your category, the biz of retail, or just the idea of driving sales and getting results}. Again, this is just my opinion and I’m not sure what buying looks like at other companies… but if you’re fast, fun, friendly, and love the idea of owning your own P&L then this gig is for you 🙂

    Reply
  • Ruth Jackson

    October 7th, 2013

    Hey Jessica,
    Loved your blog! I’m a bit nervous being this is my first time in retail. I’m used to a fast pace, always having something to do kind of job. Eventually, I want to work for corporate Target because as a writer I am thinking about marketing writing. There’s a position for Copywriter open now, I don’t have enough experience as of yet for it so I thought I would start by being a sales associate first and work my way up the ladder so to speak. Do you mind in giving advice on how to market myself or be the employee that others would say, “Yea, she has the qualities to move up.” Make sense? Also if you have the time, talk about what exactly do you do? I know it has nothing to do with what I want to do but curious. I’ve heard target is a great place to work so I’m hoping it will be the same for me. I’m still unsure where I want to go with my degree, recently graduated in writing, and not sure how I want to use my skills. So I like finding how people get to where they are and if they have advice.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ruth Jackson

    Reply
  • elisa

    elisa

    October 8th, 2013

    Hi Ruth-

    We are so glad that you’re interested in Target! We do have a few resources for you as you learn more and plan your career path:

    -Check out the other entries on the Target Pulse blog (https://pulse.target.com). Here you can learn about all different positions within Target, and read the rest of Jessica’s posts.
    -Our careers website, http://www.target.com/careers, always has the latest openings posted. You’ll note that each job will list qualifications and requirements.
    -Engage with our social media channels. We are frequently posting career advice and tips & tricks to the following:
    Target Careers on Facebook
    Target Careers on Twitter
    Target on LinkedIn

    Thanks!
    Elisa & the Target Careers team

  • JENNIFER STEWART

    October 22nd, 2016

    I WOULDN’T MIND WORKING IN STOCKING TOYS, STATIONARY, CLOTHING, IN THE MEN’S SECTIONS STOCKING CLOTHING, FOOD AND SHOES. I HAVE SEEN TOYS, STATIONARY, MEN’S CLOTHING GO SO FAST THAT’S WHY I HAVE ASKED WHEN THERE WILL BE MORE OF IT.

    Reply

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