In the garment export business normally the product development is handled by design department. But where there is no design team, merchandisers are responsible for the whole product development process. In export houses sampling department is considered as product development department.
In a typical factory, merchandiser’s roles in product development are as following
- Coordination with buyers and collect latest product designs, color scheme and fabric qualities those are going to be used in coming seasons
- Send request to pattern making department for developing patterns for new designs
- Prepare material requirement sheet and get sourcing done of required trims and accessories from local and imported suppliers
- Responsible for quality standards of sourced material
- Get approvals of Lab dips, Bit loom and strike offs directly from buyers or from buying office
- Value added processes like printing and embroidery work is get done by merchants if required in product
- She explains sampling master about the design and buyers requirement mentioned in spec sheet
- Merchants send samples to buyers for approvals on each stage of development and download buyer’s comments to sampling team and pattern master
- Do follow up with sampling tailors at the time of stitching of samples
- Check finished sample and arrange to send the samples to the buyer
- Costing of developed products
Merchandiser's roles in the product development mostly cover above responsibilities but not limited to these only. Job profile may vary from one organization to another and factory locations.