Should You Opt For A Career As A Fashion Merchandiser Or As A Cosmetic Brand Representative?

If you’re interested in retail product marketing, you may be wondering if it’s better to become a fashion merchandiser or someone who markets cosmetics for a retailer.  Both, of course, are good options, but which is better? To get a better understanding between the two, let’s take a closer look at the educational background you’ll need, what you’ll need to know about each career, and how you can get into your chosen field.

How to Become a Fashion Merchandiser

As a fashion merchandiser, you’ll promote apparel sales, striving to meet the needs of designers and deliver the clothes customers desire.


A formal education for a career in fashion merchandising will improve your job marketability. The higher your education level, the easier it will be to secure a well-paying job. You will not be able to make much progress in this field unless you go to college. Companies are interested in candidates who have a bachelors or a master’s degree in fashion merchandising, marketing, or business.

If you get a masters in fashion merchandising, companies will hire you for an executive-level position. Besides taking classes in fashion, it’s advisable to also take classes in marketing, advertising, management, and social science.

Employers are most interested in candidates who understand fashion trends and who have enough industry knowledge to make realistic predictions based on past buying trends. They also appreciate someone who can perform a numerical analysis of marketing information based on mathematics or accounting skills. Other qualities companies look for in candidates include verbal and written communication ability, a knowledge of management and human resources, and experience with sales and marketing techniques.

Nature of the work

As a fashion merchandiser, you’ll be alternating routine work with administrative duties.

Your routine work will consist of stocking tables, bins, cases, racks, and shelves with merchandise, arranging them in a way that attracts customer interest. You’ll also place descriptive signs and prices on fixtures and merchandise, monitor the number of goods on display and in the stock room, construct displays according to directions, and organize sales floor merchandising.

Your administrative duties will consist of informing company personnel on everything that goes on in your store–from merchandising and display matters to market conditions and customer issues.  You’ll supply this information by submitting daily activity reports and updating merchandise records.

Career Opportunities

The course of your career will depend on your education, knowledge, and experience. Your potential career progression might take the following trajectory: first advancing from Assistant to Buyer, then advancing to District Merchandising Manager, then advancing to General Merchandising Manager, and then, finally, advancing to Executive Vice President.

How to Become a Cosmetic Brand Representative

As a cosmetic brand representative, you’ll be tasked by a cosmetic company to increase brand recognition and value. To achieve this goal, you’ll attend industry events, create a brand image, generate sales opportunities, and promote your products to major cosmetic retailers.


At a minimum, you’ll need a high school diploma, but many companies prefer to hire applicants who have an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree.

Nature of the work

Your work as a cosmetic brand representative will include attracting new clients by approaching customers in a store or mall and inviting them to your cosmetics counter. To advance in your company, consistently sign up for in-house training opportunities.

Career Opportunities

You’ll advance rapidly in this career if you’re a high-energy person comfortable with speaking to strangers about cosmetics. Since your career success will be in direct proportion to your ability to promote products to potential customers, you’ll need to develop strong selling skills to persuade people to buy more products.

Although both types of work sound similar—you’re helping businesses sell products that are in high-demand in the retail industry—they are quite dissimilar from a career perspective. As a fashion merchandiser, you’ll need a great education and will be able to earn $40,000 or more. As a cosmetic brand representative, you’ll need far less education and will earn $20,000 or more. Out of the two choices, fashion merchandising pays almost twice as much, but you’ll also be required to put in a lot more effort.

More about Aprill

Aprill Coleman is an award-winning beauty, lifestyle and wellness blogger and freelance writer based in Jackson, Mississippi.

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