BOOK for Buyers interviewed Susanna Grigorian, buyer for Fashionzone chain in Minsk, the most important fashion business in Belarus, marketing only high-end brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Dolce&Gabbana, Kenzo, Miu Miu, Tod`s, Valentino and Balenciaga. This company was born in 1995 and is currently composed of 6 stores and an online e-commerce platform.
#What are the most important skills for a successful buyer?
Namely, communications and public relations. It is absolutely important to be always up to date. A buyer needs to know how to evaluate products and be sure of what he/she wants. Today, even the smallest brands on high demand are difficult to manage as they pretend to be launched together with high-end brands such as Gucci or Balenciaga.
It is essential to always stay in contact with the stores for which you are purchasing the merchandise. With many of our partner brands, we use online platforms allowing us to send real-time orders to Minsk, with photos and price details. We can discuss about those articles and we can obtain the best from the collection on those platforms. Some fashion trends require a little time before the shoppers can get familiar with them, while others are totally rejected by the customers, forever. In some cases, even if some fashion trends are welcome, they do not find a space because of different weather conditions: for example, Gucci slippers cannot be worn across Belarus streets because of the cold temperature and muddy conditions. In other situations, some trends do not reach our country at all.
#Do you remember about your first order as a buyer?
It was an order with Marc Jacobs in Milan, eight years ago. We made it together with the store owner. Immediately after, he left for Belarus, and he entrusted me to do an order at Prada. The trust he conferred on me later made me grow professionally. That experience was quiet curious as Prada does not allow taking photos of any clothing pieces. So I decided to draw them on paper so as to explain my choice to the owner. During my career, I have invented a way to memorize all models and patterns.
#The fashion chain in Belarus for which you have been working has been consolidated almost 25 years ago. What is the secret for its success?
It is a person: Andrei Dedovich. He was our boss; unfortunately he has died on August 2018. He always knew how to select the right products. He was the first buyer in ordering Moncler when nobody was ordering it, neither in Russia. We have now to thank him for the brand mix of our chain, with so important brands.
He has taught us this job. At that time, I was working at Stuart Weitzman as a manager. Andrei was used to do his orders at us. One day he proposed me to become a buyer for his business. I tried to work for a while and I soon realised that it was the right job for me.
#During the FW 2019-20 season, are you going to introduce new brands to impress your customers?
Gentile Catone, CoTe and V design. Let’s cross our fingers!