What is a fashion retailer?

Trés Bien/Flickr
Trés Bien/Flickr

A career where you get to sell all the clothes and accessories you love – does it get any better than that? On the frontline, as a fashion retailer, you assist customers in finding that perfect outfit they’ve been looking for.

“A retail store salesperson is going to make or break a fashion designer’s career. And it’s the responsibility of the shopkeeper to train their staff.”
– Robin Kay, President, Fashion Design Council of Canada

If management is more your thing, you’ll focus more on planning and executing everything from store design and staff training to merchandise mix and advertising. Regardless of your position, retail is all about making the sale and moving the product.


“It’s really important to have a clear understanding of where you want to go as a retailer. It took me almost three years to come up with my mission statement. Now, with any decision that I’m making, I just ask – is this supporting my mission?”
– Michelle Germain, Owner/Curator, Shopgirls
  • Sales
  • Store manager positions
  • Buyer
  • Product development
  • Merchandise manager
  • Visual merchandising
  • Store owner

In a career in retail you’ll likely start as a salesperson. Next step would be a store or merchandise manager, or a store owner. There are also more senior positions in larger retail organizations all the way up to retail manager or vice-president of retail.


“Our rule is ‘four to the floor’ – we always try and take four pairs of shoes out to the floor to ensure that the customer has the opportunity to try on four different kinds of shoes, to get the idea of what fits them well and what doesn’t.”
– Kate Lumer, Assistant Manager, Stuart Weitzman
  • Positive thinkers
  • Diligent (it takes three to five years for a retail store to flourish)
  • Hard workers
  • Good business people
  • Adaptable
  • Naturals at sales
  • Passionate about what they sell
  • Stylish
  • Trend conscious
  • Customer focused
  • Friendly

Meet Kate Lumer – Fashion Retailer

Kate Lumer
Kate Lumer is at the beginning of her working life and with three years experience working at retail shoe stores, she has discovered a flare for selling fashion. Lumer is currently Assistant Manager at a Stuart Weitzman Shoes boutique in Toronto.

Meet Michelle Germain – Fashion Retailer

Michelle Germain
Michelle Germain has over 15 years of retail experience with Holt Renfrew, where she worked her way up to Advertising Manager, and the Hudson Bay Company, where she worked on the brand strategy for the Home Outfitters division. In 2007, she opened Shopgirls – a gallery boutique in Toronto featuring all-Canadian artists and designers.

Published on October 30, 2012
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