a letter to my buyer

At Target, we believe in development and growth –  and this is most evident in the pace in which team members move roles and consistently take on new challenges. Being resilient and adaptable is key to being successful at Target, and this is especially important when there is movement in your business unit, or BU.

As you learned in my last post, I truly feel that I have the best BU in the company. My buyer, merchandise specialist, and I are a close unit that acts and thinks more like one person than three. But  things change and people move on. It’s no different in the ice cream BU.

My buyer recently got promoted to being a buyer in Fan Central, or sports division (he’s a huge sports fan…it’s a perfect fit!). While it may seem like a big jump, there’s always been a lot of ice cream promotions with sports-related themes (Popsicle wiffle ball, anyone?)…so at least he’ll have some fun ice cream/sports memorabilia to take with him to his new gig! I am beyond excited for him and his new opportunity to bring the joy he’s brought to our team to another area of the company, but, before he does, there are a few things I’d like to say:


There are some things I need to thank you for. I honestly think you are LITERALLY (yes, literally) the best buyer in the entire company. I am extremely biased, but I want to make sure I let you know why—because I think that other buyers in the company could learn so much from your wisdom, experience, and knowledge.

Thank you for…

• Being patient with my never-ending questions

• Teaching me everything I know about ice cream

• Challenging me to make decisions for the business—and trusting my judgment when I did

• Understanding that I need to hear words of affirmation

• Caring about my mental health when things get overwhelming—and then showing me cute pictures of your kids that always make everything better

• Standing up for me when  and backing me up on my decisions when they were questioned

• Helping me realize the Minnesotan trait of being passive aggressive is not great for business

• Making my insight feel valued and truly caring about my perspective

• Calling every mistake I made a “learning opportunity” and not getting upset EVER—even when there was an completely empty door of ice cream last January (sorry again about that…)

• Being my sounding board and helping me be the best BA and mentor I can be

And, finally, thank you for giving me the best advice I’ve received at Target: “Be confident in what you know”.

Well, Joe, I’m taking your advice, and there’s definitely one thing I know for sure: You are the best buyer and mentor a BA could ask for. I will miss you more than words could ever describe.

Good luck, JJ. And remember to come back and visit. We’ll always have some ice cream for you 🙂

I’m so lucky that Joe was my first buyer here at Target, but I know that the next buyer who takes his place will also have great strategies and ideas for our category. Until then, my merchandise specialist and I are the resident experts on ice cream and we have the opportunity to step up and teach our new buyer everything we know about the business.

That’s what’s so great about Target–due to the development & speed mentality and amount of change, everyone gets a chance to be a mentor and a mentee. I’m ready for the challenge and to be a mentor for our new buyer–stay tuned to see how it goes!

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

6 Replies to “a letter to my buyer”

  1. Alaina, I have a daughter, soph in college, in graphic design. I want her to see what you wrote as encouragement & advice from a peer. She’ll soon be doing a co-op / internship which she is really excited to do. I just love your passion, attitude & approach. BTW, she also loves Target; me too. Best of luck to you. So glad I stumble on to this page.
    Toni/a Mom

  2. I would like to see you carry different sweaters at xmas its like the last few years you still carry the same thing. Also in plus sizes big people still like to dress cool not like old ladies you need to get some funky tops they can wear with jeans etc. As far as sleepwear you can either wear something more for kids or something slinky there is nothing in between I know several older ladies who shop there and end up going to Kohls cause you don’t have things people their ages can wear.I’ve always wondered if your buyers think about how other people would look in the things they wear or just buy it cause its something they like. Remember people in their 40s and 50s still like to look cool but their age.

  3. Hi Laura-

    Thanks for your feedback! We’ve passed your recommendations on to our fashion buying team.

    Elisa and the Target Careers team

  4. Hi Alaina, my name is Lindsey and I currently work for Target supporting the corporation’s crisis management program. I’d love to learn more about this blog and how you got involved.

    If possible, I’d love to meet with you and pick your brain a bit.



  5. Hello.
    I’m currently a merchandiser with another company that works exclusively with Target. Target opted to combine a few services together, my company lost the bid. I live in a remote area where turnover with merchandisers is fairly high. I’d like to apply with the company who won the bid since I already perform part of the new service and have an ongoing relationship with the store. Who would I need to contact to get a list of the merchandising companies Target uses, or will be using 1/1//014, in my area? Any guidance you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

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