Not-so-average: WyQuasia King - Director and Buyer at Macy’s
WyQuasia King is a 33-year-old director and buyer for Macy’s who is from Westchester, NY. Her most notable work is the Macy’s and Casper Divine Nine Sorority Collection - a collection of dresses and suits that celebrate the work and colors of the various Divine Nine Sororities. “It was my most prized and most proud accomplishment in my career,” said King. “I was able to identify a need for a group of women that were not being serviced in this department. And so, I think that the success has been immeasurable, and I think that the influence that it has had on the industry is what makes it a great accomplishment and makes me really proud.
There’s more to the fashion industry than jobs in designing or styling. Like any other sector, fashion is a business so there’s a space and a job for everyone. That includes a person who loves math, a person who solely loves to shop or a business-minded individual.
The word “everyone” doesn’t just refer to those who have different interests or job titles, but also those of a different race or gender. We’ve decided to highlight how diverse the fashion industry is, could be, and should be with a series of stories on Black professionals with not-so-average fashion careers.
How did you get to work in fashion?
King didn’t start out with the dream of working in the fashion industry although she has always had a passion for fashion. It wasn’t until college where she realized there was a place for her in the fashion industry. Her college career started at St. John’s University, located in Staten Island, NY, where she studied economics for a year before transferring to Berkeley College, located in NY. After transferring to Berkeley College, King decided she wanted to major in business. She also took an elective 'Intro to Fashion'. A buyer came to speak to her class about what being a buyer entails and “I was like ‘oh wow this is cool, I think I want to be a buyer.’”
As a result King changed her major to fashion marketing and management. During her senior year she was able to intern at Dress Barn as a buyer’s assistant, which she noted is an entry-level position into merchandising. Eventually Dress Barn hired her full on as an assistant buyer. In 2012, King applied for the merchandise assistant program at Macy’s where she was responsible for things such as order tracking, creating orders, sample room management, etc. From there, King interviewed for the Macy’s executive development program “which is a highly competitive training program for anyone that wants to be in merchandising and be an executive in merchandising.”
She then relocated to Texas where she became the first young men’s skate and streetwear assistant buyer for JCPenney. King said this was a great two-year-experience but she became homesick and returned to New York. When she returned, Macy’s welcomed her back with an associate merchandise planner position. In 2019 King was promoted to the director merchandise planner where she led all social dresses such as formal and evening gowns. Then, in 2020, her position was eliminated along with the entire merchandise planning pyramid, but she was luckily placed into the position she holds today - director and buyer of day dresses.
What’s your current fashion job?
As the director and buyer of day dresses at Macy’s, King shops the trends and market, and chooses all of the day dresses in Macy’s stores and online. King added that under her title, she’s ensuring that the items in stores are size inclusive, that they’re the right trends, that they’re the right fit, and ensuring that the items are sold to the customer at the price the customer deems reasonable. The entire shopping experience is her responsibility, including what is seen online. “It’s actually a really cool position because I pick all the dresses before the customer even knows what she’s going to wear, and so we work a year out. That’s essentially a buyer’s job and there’s a buyer for every single area,” King said.
What does an average work day look like?
An average day for King “is a busy day.” She said that she starts her day by checking her sales from the previous day to see how her business performed overall, and then she goes into sourcing new trends and new styles for the season that she’s working on. King said she also likes to meet with her team of four to go through their best sellers from the week before so that they are aware of what the customer was interested in. She then guarantees that what the customer loves is restocked. In addition, her day consists of networking and influencing across the company meaning she meets with her marketing partners, pricing counterparts, financial planner and assortment planner to build strategies around the product she is curating. King explained that no day is the same, but her favorite work day is being in the market where she shops new trends, meets with different resources, looks at fabrics, looks at prints, and essentially selects the product. “A lot of what I do is math oriented, so if you’re not a person that likes math, I would definitely say that buying is not for you,” King advised.
A word of career advice
According to King, persistence is the key in this business. “There’s not many buyers that look like me - in this industry in general,” she said. “So just being persistent if you aspire to be a buyer; knowing that it doesn’t come overnight, making all of the right connections, learning from the right people. And I think well rounding your experience is important.”