How long have you been a buyer and how did you get into it?
I've been in buying for 17 years. When I was in college, all my friends were getting jobs waitressing and bartending to make extra spending money but I grew up with my parents owning a restaurant so I didn't want to do that anymore Instead, I got a job at a dress store. We sold formal dresses for proms, sorority dances and the like.I was a terrible salesperson but I somehow always knew what dress a girl should be wearing.Whether she agreed or not is another story. That was my first experience in retail. I graduated as a literature major, worked in book publishing for 1 1/2 years but never forgot how much I loved working in that store. I applied to a few department stores' buying training programs, accepted an offer from Bloomingdale's where I was placed in Men's and the rest is history.
What is your favorite seasonal collection buy of all time?
Umit Benan's first season - I think it was Fall 2009. You can get a little jaded in this business and everything can start to look the same. I was still a buyer at Bloomingdale's and I remember seeing his collection and being so blown away by his new, fresh take on menswear. I'm proud to say that I bought it and Bloomingdale's was the first store to have it in NY.
What brand's collection are you looking forward to getting most for SS13?
Saint Laurent Paris. Hedi Slimane didn't show his Men's line his first season back at the helm and I'm looking forward to seeing the buy on the new Men's Designer 3rd Floor at Bergdorf Goodman and how the customer responds to it.
What advice would you give other buyers just starting out?
Be realistic. What you see on blogs and in street style shots may look glamorous but the travel and the shows are maybe 10% of my job. You need to put in your dues. I didn't start traveling immediately - I've been doing this for almost two decades. Also, not to burst anyone's bubble, but liking math helps. This isn't just about buying pretty clothes, but driving a business and making those clothes sell.