What does it take to be a fashion buyer? FNA members Mindy Trisko and I set out to find out just that. We interviewed Kayla O’Regan, head buyer and merchandiser for Geoffrey Scott and their new store, GBop. We visited GBop’s newest location at 1810 Union Street in San Francisco. As soon as we spotted and entered the store, we felt the fun and playfulness of their atmosphere. From their swirled candy logo to the vibrant fuchsia and lime green walls, GBop felt fun, flirty, and fashionable.
Kayla explained GBop’s target market – young, fashionable women on a budget. Fast fashion is more popular than ever in today’s economy, and GBop’s inexpensive but trendy and fashion forward clothes are a hit. While they have only been open for 10 weeks and more established stores like Ambiance are right down the street, GBop fills a nice gap every woman needs in her wardrobe. Drapey tops, flirty dresses, and reasonably priced jeans and accessories are staples of GBop’s products. Prices range from $8 for jewelry and accessories to $90 for nicer jackets, with jeans averaging around $65.
About Kayla and Buying
Kayla recently graduated from FIDM, starting off in San Francisco then graduating down in Los Angeles. She interviewed with Geoffrey Scott, where her sister worked, and immediately got the job as vice president of sales, buying, and merchandising. She does most of her buying online at small showrooms in Los Angeles from a website called LAShowroom.com. GBop gets a large shipment of new garments every week or two, and if she needs something from a vendor, she can often have it shipped the same day.
Advice for Future Buyers
“Pay attention in your excel classes,” Kayla advises, “There are so many helpful tools.” Buying spreadsheets will help in the real world too! She tells us there are a lot of numbers involved, especially when it comes to budgets. While there is more math involved in buying than she would ideally like, she comments that it’s also fun to spend other people’s money – it’s basically shopping for a living! Kayla also recommends building a close relationship with vendors. “The industry is very tight knit,” she explains. As buyers build relationships with vendors, they get perks. “You have to be outgoing and you have to be friendly,” says Kayla, “Definitely don’t burn any bridges. Your personality will get you through your relationships.”
Geoffrey Scott hit the mark “to create affordable, fun clothing,” and be on the look out for the expansion of GBop in the future. Influenced by street fashion and higher-end clothing translated into affordable looks, GBop is a great destination for inexpensive and fashionable casual and nighttime looks. While there is a lot of competition with so many great boutiques on Union Street, I see GBop being a great success in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.
By Nicole Hom