34 thoughts on “Why Fashion Merchandisers Need to Know about Sourcing”

  1. I think it’s important for merchandisers to know about sourcing because it can impact where the merchandiser chooses to produce the garment. Like the woman said in the video, certain garments require certain characteristics and therefore construction methods. Certain factories are able to fulfill these requirements better than others. Although certain factories may be able to produce what the merchandiser needs, there may be restrictions placed on trade with these factories due to trade policies and different agreements. Trade policies and certain agreements will then effect where the merchandiser decides to source the products.

  2. I think sourcing is extremely important for merchandisers to understand. Before this class, I knew little about sourcing but now I realize that merchandisers must be well educated in order to properly choose where they are getting the garments from. They must make the right choose in choosing manufacturers by considering obvious things like cost and quality, but also how it is being made and making sure they are choosing manufacturers with ethical practices.

  3. As a merchandiser, there are many different subjects you need to be knowledgable on in order to understand the processes of all the various parties involved. You need to be conscious of the product and the process of creating and sourcing that product from beginning to end. Having a good understanding on restrictions, cost, quality, labelling etc are all important things a merchandiser must be aware of. You work with many different people, and having knowledge on what they do is vital .

  4. I do think sourcing is very important to a merchandiser. It is because it is important to know the background of different countries such as trade policies, regulations and comparative advantages so as to make a good plan on cost and revenue as well as the production of the product.

  5. I think it is very important for merchandisers to know about sourcing because the two go hand in hand. A merchandiser has to know what the customer wants, but also needs to know what they can get that will suit the customer’s needs and if they can get it at the right price point. When a merchandiser has a better idea of where and how products are sourced they can work better in the cross-functional teams that involve the sourcing associates and the designers.

  6. I believe it is important for Fashion Merchandisers to know about sourcing because of how present the topic is in today’s textile and apparel industry. During our webinar in class today (May 3, 2018), a former University of Delaware FM major discuss how she uses her knowledge of sourcing on a day-to-day basis. The stronger background I have on this subject, the more I will be able to communicate to other co-workers.

  7. Through the combination of this class and my internship experiences, I have come to understand how important sourcing is to merchandisers. During many cross-functional team meetings with design, merchandising, and sourcing at my internships, the cost of materials and names of different factories came up frequently. For example, the sourcing team would ask the design team to reevaluate a design to save costs, or would suggest they source certain trims from their “Hong Kong factory” as opposed to their “India factory.” It is important for merchandisers to have a knowledge of sourcing, so they can understand how sourcing certain fabrics or trims from certain factories/countries can impact the price of the garment, the amount of color choices available, how much lead time is required, and other supply chain related information. In general, I feel it is important for all members of an apparel company to understand sourcing, so they can engage in professional business conversations.

  8. Throughout my coursework at UD, and work experience I have learned how crucial every aspect of producing a product is. By this I mean how a product is made from beginning to end. This includes where a product is made, such as sourcing. Throughout this semester we have learned without sourcing, there is no product. It has the most influence over a decision throughout the production process. Coming into UD, I did not know much about sourcing but i have realized how much it benefits you all around to have background knowledge about multiple areas. Many variables are considered regardless of what role you are in.

  9. I do agree that sourcing and the global supply chain is a very important part for fashion merchandisers to understand. After looking at many job postings I feel that production and sourcing jobs are growing much quicker than any other position. Now that the world is so global, these jobs will require knowledge of the global climate as these positions will be sourcing factories and textiles from over seas. I even feel that sourcing is important in the design world. Working with different factories and with people from different nations can impact what design choices are made and potentially give a brand it’s aesthetic.

  10. I think it is definitely important for fashion merchandisers to know about sourcing for many reasons. The main reason is that both these jobs play a vital role in making sure that the apparel is good and shipped. Therefore, a lot of coordination between these two jobs need to be done often as far as approving fabrics and trims together. With that being said in order to collaborate both teams need to understand what the other is talking about. As our guest speaker from class on May 3rd stated, it is important to know different aspects of the industry because you never know what you are going to end up doing. She said she has used things she had learned from classes she never thought she would need. This just points out how critical it is to expand your knowledge to other areas because it will benefit you so much for the jobs you apply and work for.

  11. As a design major I know in my career down the line I will have to collaborate with several different members of a company to complete a task. Whenever I’m talking to someone in the industry, one piece of advice they always give me is to gain exposure through all facets of the industry. Whether you are majoring in design and want to learn about business, or if you specialize in merchandising but take extra CAD classes, this will all be beneficial when collaborating with different members of a company on a project. In terms of merchandisers familiarizing themselves with sourcing, this is more crucial than just having knowledge for cross functional teams in a company. Sourcers and merchandisers go hand in hand and sometimes the two jobs can be combined into one. Its vital for merchandisers to understand where the clothing is manufactured and sourced from in order to increase company revenue and meet the quality expectations of the company. Merchandisers need to understand the full process of the products being made in order to avoid detrimental and costly mistakes.

  12. I do think merchandisers do need to be aware of sourcing because if they are working as a buyer or are working the administrative tasks on getting a garment created, they need to be aware of the current state of the area where they are buying from or what policies factories in that area have. If sourcing ethically is important for anyone, they need to be aware of the policies of these regions and factories. Like the cases we read about and videos we watched in class, there are various places we have the option to source from, and each of these places have different safety and ethical guidelines in place. For people interested in sourcing ethically, many of these factories in places like Bangladesh may not be the route they want to go down, due to their lax safety guidelines and unethical policies for their workers. Also, in general a lot of jobs these days are collaborative across different platforms involving a lot of different types of people, so a general knowledge of these different areas of fashion is key for success.

    1. It is definitely important that merchandisers are educated about sourcing. As it was said the video, more goes into it than just finding a low price. Merchandisers need to be aware of quality, safety, and fit, to successfully create the product and work collaboratively with the sourcing team. If they’re educated on the sourcing process, they’ll be able to work with rather than work against the sourcing team, making for a more productive work team. Our recent guest speaker even mentioned this during our last class discussion. She discussed the importance of having knowledge of different areas of the field, even if you’re not specifically working in that area because it can help you perform better if you’re knowledgable about the variety of different aspects that go into the process.

  13. After watching this video, I realized how important it is that merchandisers are able to communicate and maintain relationships with the people they are sourcing from. She talked about how items like a jacket could have many different components that come from different factories, so being able to effectively communicate with different people is a major skill to have. Every factory is different, so being able to be flexible in how they communicate with these varying systems, personalities and cultures is key to successfully making a product. In this industry the relationships we have are one of the biggest factors in attaining our end goals.

  14. Li & Fung is an incredible resource for apparel companies in building their supply chains and communicating at all levels. It’s the only supply chain management company I’m familiar with. It would be very beneficial for students in design and merchandising to learn about the intricacies associated with sourcing on all levels, but even good fashion schools are lacking in that department. If going into a sourcing profession, one should be required to study tech design. Sourcing will most likely only get easier from here, but it is still a complex and essential component of design work.

  15. Many people don’t realize the importance of merchandising and sourcing. The woman in the video pointed out that a jacket could have 45 pieces to it and that means sourcing from all over the world isn’t uncommon to gather all the components needed. The most important part of her job is to find the perfect combination of materials to make the garment or collection work for the customer. There are so many steps and considerations to review when making these design decisions and you can tell she takes pride in her work to fulfill her customers needs.

    1. I agree it is very important that merchandisers understand what goes on “behind the scenes.” In our interview with Professor Lu’s former student who works in sourcing for Talbots, she mentioned how she is sort of the middleman when it comes to merchandisers and designers, because she is able to understand both sides because they each have an important part in sourcing and vice versa. As merchandisers, it is up to us to know where the products come from, and what it takes for them to get into the stores and to the customer. Sourcing is an incredibly important piece of the fashion industry because without it, where would production begin? Overall, us merchandisers will benefit in our future positions if we have a better knowledge of sourcing and what it takes to get a product into production, because it will make it easier for us to communicate and build relationships with our coworkers.

  16. Why Fashion Merchandisers Need to Know about Sourcing: No matter where an idea begins, the execution of that idea starts with sourcing. A designers idea is sent to a factory that is the best match for their specific needs. Merchandisers need to connect the designer and their customers to the proper factory so that this sourcing factory can carry out the creation of a garment specific to customers needs and designers ideas. Merchandisers are like the glue that holds the chain of events together. Therefore they must need to know about everything in this chain of events, especially sourcing.

  17. Sourcing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the entire fashion industry therefore it is increasingly become crucial for fashion merchandisers to understand it. Sourcing is one of the main variables in creating a product in every step, from cut to ship there is sourcing strategy involved. For fashion merchandisers entering the work source it would be a tremendous step up if you have knowledge on sourcing because it is one of the ways brands can cut production costs and lower expenses dramatically.

  18. I believe sourcing is crucial to know and be aware of as a merchandiser. Merchandisers need to be cognizant of were they source apparel from and the global supply chain and all it’s intricacies. Fashion merchandisers also need to have an understanding of sourcing because they have many deadlines they need to meet and likely want a fast speed to market. Having this knowledge will allow them to source quality apparel at a decent price and get the items to market when needed.

  19. As a merchandiser it is important to understand the role sourcing plays in the fashion industry. Merchandisers need to understand where garments are sourced from when buying their assortments. Certain factories specialize in particular aspects of apparel, so it is beneficial to decide where products will be sourced for optimal specialization. Labor and product costs also vary between factories so merchandisers need to decide what merchandise is best to produce where based on cost and material restrictions. Merchandisers can make ethical decisions and be conscious of the factory standards from which they are purchasing garments if they understand where the product is sourced. Knowledge of sourcing can also help merchandisers effectively communicate with colleagues in the industry.

  20. I think this video from Li & Fung touches the surface on why merchandisers need to understand the supply chain today. Everyday garments are not just “Made in China.” Many of our products have components sourced from all over the world. For example, a T-Shirt can have fibers from Australia, that can be woven into fabric in China, that can be cut and sewn in factories in Thailand and shipped overseas to the United States. Li and Fung acts as the middle man, connecting these clients to factories with the best price and expertise of factories. Understanding the global supply chain and talking with industry professionals from all over the world is important for a merchandiser as they are responsible for meeting the needs of their consumer.

  21. After being a fashion merchandising student for three years, I feel like almost all of my classes have stressed the importance of truly understanding what a merchandiser actually does and the many processes you oversee as a merchandiser, such as sourcing. Understanding sourcing as a merchandiser is important because you work hand in hand with a planner who oversees budgets and financials for what you’re buying. By understanding where you’re sourcing from, you have a better idea of what it will cost to be able to buy clothing consumers will respond to. Additionally, when understanding where you’re sourcing from, you have a better idea of the quality of product you’re buying which will play an important role in which brand image you’re buying for.

  22. As a fashion merchandising major, the majority of my classes have stressed the importance of how much each individual job type such as buying, sourcing, designing or planning are all intertwined. With sourcing, its imperative to be able to distinguish what the key factors and needs are for each category of apparel whether it’s baby clothes, women’s wear, athletic wear, etc. Although tags may say “Made in China”, in reality, that garment may have been all over the world depending on what part of the production level was currently in process. Its extremely important as a fashion major to understand the different rules, regulations and current events around the world because these will overall affect exactly when and where you will be able to source from. Ethics are also extremely influential when it comes to deciding which suppliers will be best for your brand, so it’s always important to be up to date with any current events. With consumers starting to become more conscious and aware of the products and garments they buy and wear, each employee in a company should have knowledge on every other aspect of their team and their values.

  23. It is important for merchandisers to know about sourcing because many people who choose to major in “merchandising” think they will simply be traveling from brand to brand choosing what they want to buy for their own store, however, there is a lot more to the job than meets the eye. Merchandising can encompass many areas of the apparel production process, and one of the most important areas is sourcing. In today’s day and age, it is incredibly important for a brand to carefully choose where they will be sourcing from and what factories they will be using to manufacture in. We learned from the Rana Plaza article that if a company does not wisely select where they will source from, their image can be destroyed and their sales may go down as a result. As a merchandiser, it is important to understand trade policies as well as important safety and ethics issues in order to have a full understanding of where a garment comes from and how it will get from the raw materials stage to the consumer.

  24. The sourcing team and merchandising team have the same goal to meet: to get right fabric/trims at the right place at the right time and with right price. A merchandiser is key person in whole order processing hence sourcing is the integral part of merchandising activities. As merchandising students, it is crucial that we become aware of all aspects of the production process so that, as I said above, we are choosing products that are created in the right place, with the right fabrics/trims, paying the right price, and all being produced by the right time. Having the knowledge of sourcing opens up that door for better decision making in the process of our jobs as merchandisers. Being up to date with global sourcing trends and current events can only benefit you as a merchandiser.

  25. Before taking the FASH455 course, I was unaware of how much involvement the merchandiser has in the global aspect of the fashion industry. It is easy to just look at the industry on a small scale and to not consider the other factors that would affect a position as a merchandiser. As mentioned in the video and in class, the trade agreements have an enormous affect on the industry as a whole, but also play a part in the decisions made by merchandisers on a day to day business in terms of where a product should be made. Many people believe that buying is the only role that can be taken on by a graduate with a fashion merchandising degree, however, there are a plethora of different roles available other than being a buyer. A majority of those other roles require knowledge about the sourcing aspect of the product development process. As a merchandiser, obtaining knowledge about sourcing is important in order to understand the textile and apparel industry as a whole. Without being educated on sourcing, it is possible that merchandisers only look at the fashion industry from a narrow perspective and this may hinder success in the T&A world.

  26. This video explains perfectly the reasoning why I enjoyed this class so much. As a merchandiser, you need to not only understand your product itself, but where that product came from and how exactly it came to be the product it is today. This class is in our department for a reason, and it’s extremely important for anyone in this industry to understand how the manufacturing side of it works. A merchandiser needs to understand exactly where and how the product is coming to be in order to better understand how to cost, market, and sell that product. Most people outside of this industry think most things are just made overseas, in places with low labor costs like China and Bangladesh. But with an understanding of sourcing after watching this video and taking this class, I know that products are manufactured in places like Mexico and Asia and that different countries specialize in different departments. Merchandisers need to understand their product and its background to really know how to merchandise that product.

    1. well said. your comment also reminds me of what our guest speaker last week said —her job as a sourcing associate is to “police” the design department and the merchandising department.

  27. This video was especially interesting to me because I have always wanted to go into a career in fashion merchandising, and before taking this class I really didn’t know how important it was for merchandisers to understand sourcing. Merchandisers are in charge of really knowing every aspect of the garments being sold and since we have learned that almost every garment has multiple different pieces that each come from different places around the world, merchandisers need to know the best factories and locations to work with in order to achieve the best, and most efficiently made product. Merchandisers need to communicate with so many different people around the world and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of the latest trade policies and any potential barriers that have been implemented. Merchandising is not easy, but it is very exciting because they are the ones who put the products together fundamentally and that is why I am excited to go into this sector of the industry.

  28. When thinking about fashion merchandising many people think about the glamorous idealization of the job including picking out the latest trends and styling their favorite celebrities. However, many do not consider the meticulous detail that goes into the merchandise plan and all the different aspects that need to be considered. This video provided a good insight of the different day to day tasks that a merchandiser must face in order to get a product on the shelf. This merchandiser for Li&Fung explained the importance of quantity, quality, fit, regulations and many other aspects that go into a garment. The fashion industry is not all just fun and games and it is vital to have a detailed plan to ensure that the finished product is perfect.

  29. It is very important for merchandisers to know about sourcing because it is their job to not only know where the product came from but how it was made. This is also crucial because merchandisers need to have a product perfect for their consumer so they need to know about the product to fit their customer. As the video mentions, babies clothing needs to be made with safety in mind and women’s clothing is more focused on how the garment fits. A merchandiser needs to know about sourcing to properly cater to these needs of their customer. For example, the merchandiser might be able to find a better quality fabric from another country or find products at cheaper prices when sourcing from one country instead of another. Merchandisers also need to know about sourcing so that they can get their products to their customer on time. If it takes twice as long to get materials or products from a certain country, it might be more beneficial to switch where they source from because they will be able to get the merchandise on the floor and to their consumers quicker. Merchandisers also need to know about sourcing so that they can accurately price and sell the product. If a product comes from a cheaper manufacturer, then they can price it lower and if a product is made with completely recycled materials, they can advertise this to their customers and let them know the product is eco-friendly.

  30. I definitely agree that as a merchandiser, being knowledgeable about sourcing is very important. Since the industry so heavily on outsourcing products from all over the world, it is important for merchandisers to be well aware of the different options available to them. Furthermore, in my internship experience this summer we focused a lot on where our vendors sourced their goods from and how much this would effect our lead time and the quickness to stores. Since I worked at an off price retailer, we wanted most of our merchandise to get to the floors as quick as possible. For these reasons, sourcing can be very important for buyers. Moreover, I think that is also important for merchandisers to not only be aware of sourcing but to also know what is going on in the economic and political environments globally. For instance, new tariffs, trade deals, or lack there of, could effect sourcing from certain manufacturers.

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