Skin grader – The quality expert
Skin graders ensure that each pelt sold at Saga Furs auctions reflects the standards of quality contained in our brand. The majority of our staff work in fur grading. The process is divided into several work phases, some of which require many years of experience and specialized skills.
To maintain our position as the industry standard bearer, Saga Furs offers a comprehensive in-house training programme. The courses give our skin graders the tools they need to provide the most accurate and consistent grading in the industry.
The grading season begins in November and ends in May or June.
Many of our graders are employed during the grading season, while others are permanent employees who perform other tasks during the remainder of the year.
A new grader is usually guided through the Saga Furs grading system by working as a helper in a grading group or by working in the receiving, sizing, and bundling of skins. An employee then has the opportunity to take a more advanced grading course and become a quality grader.
As a grader gains experience and becomes skilled at the most difficult and decisive phases of the process, the grader may ultimately serve as head of a grading team.
Graders help breeders attain levels of higher quality.
Experienced graders regularly visit fur farms in Finland and in other European countries where we source Saga Furs. They give lectures about the grading process and explain the impact of different skin characteristics on skin prices.
Input from graders helps fur farmers select the best animals for breeding, and helps them build their businesses.
Sampleman – The buyer’s right hand
The sampleman is an essential aid to buyers inspecting pelts.
Skins are not put on display in the auction room while the actual bidding takes place. Instead, the 3-5 days leading up to an auction are set aside as show dates to allow buyers to review the collection and inspect bundles of skins.
Buyers are provided with auction catalogues to use when checking skin bundles in the warehouse. On the catalogue, they note the quality and the price they expect the skins to fetch. At large auctions, the number of bundles may total 5,000.
Quick and efficient samplemen enable buyers to go through catalogues without interruption.
The sampleman finds the skin bundle for the buyer and brings it to the specially-lighted inspection desk. A sampleman may also write the buyer’s remarks in the catalogue so the buyer can concentrate on inspecting bundles.
Secretaries for buyers
International buyers often need a secretary who can handle clerical jobs and do errands for Saga Furs customers.
Saga Furs recruits secretaries for auction periods and makes their services available to the buyers.
English is the “auction language,” but Saga Furs customers come from around the world. Fluency in English and knowledge of at least one of the languages spoken in our key markets are essential skills for a buyer’s secretary.
Most of the auction assistants work less than a week at a time, but often at each of our 4 annual auctions.
The positions are ideal for university students, who–by working for short, intensive periods—want to finance their studies while getting insight into the international fur trade.
Thousands of Finnish students have worked as auction assistants since we started holding auctions in the early 1980s. Today, people at every level of Finnish society—including many prominent persons—all share one thing in common; they have worked as auction assistants at Saga Furs.
Saga Furs will hold four auctions in the 2016-2017 sales season: December, March, June and September.
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