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It depends on your definitions of a merchandiser and textile industry. Do you have design skills? Do you have CAD skills? Do you understand fabric construction? Do you understand yarns, threads and fibers properties and technicals? Do you understand weaving, printing, dyeing, washing, etc. treatmernts and embellishments? Do you work with textiles or garments or both? Do you have product development skills in textlies and garments? If garments, patternmaking skills? Do you know how to sell to manufacturers, wholesalers/jobberrs, and retailers? Depending on how you answer these questions, you can free-lance for manufacturers, wholesalers/jobbers, and retailers using any or all of these skills. You can charge by the design or by the project or by the hours/days worked. You will need to qualify as an independent contractor and will have to pay all of your own taxes.
YES YOU CAN BE A FREELANCER TEXTILE MERCHANDISER FOR EITHER AN ACTUAL MILL OR A CONVERTER. I DON'T THINK YOU CAN DO IT REMOTELY AS YOU HAVE TO WORK DIRECTLY WITH MILLS AND CUSTOMERS. SO IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU LIVE AND WHAT MILLS OR CONVERTERS ARE IN YOUR AREA. AS RAOUL SAID, THERE IS A WIDE RANGE OF SKILLS THAT ARE NEEDED, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A FREELANCER. COMPANIES ARE PAYING FOR YOUR KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS, NOT TO TRAIN YOU.