How To Buy Wholesale Clothing for Boutique - 7 Tips
Many aspiring fashion store owners or entrepreneurs are very concerned with having the best e-commerce website, and a fancy brand, these are important elements, but the most important one is a reliable supplier of products, and that you have always enough in stock.
Finding your suppliers online is easy but it takes time.
As an ecommerce retail store owner you need to look at various options when it comes to finding suppliers online.
We combined some facts and industry insights, and came up with 7 tips you can use to better run your business:
1. Know the type of players in the business - suppliers in the world of manufacturing and wholesaling fulfil different purposes
- Manufacturers are making products — not selling them. They typically produce very large quantities, then these items are sold and shipped to wholesalers.
- Wholesalers connect the factory and the customers. They might specialize in a specific niche, or might offer a variety of different products. You can often meet them at trade shows and place orders for products you like. Pricing can be very attractive when buying from a wholesaler, you can get a discount on bulk orders, and make a good margin selling retail.
- Wholesale Suppliers - their main role is dropshipping. When an order is placed with the retailer, the wholesellers fulfill the order and sends it directly to the customer. The retailer usually doesn't have any inventory, and with e-commerce stores this is a common practice. These forms of supply chain management ensure that products get from the manufacturing floor to the client.
2. The biggest online directories to use are
- Alibaba, a Chinese wholesale marketplace that ships products worldwide. There are thousands of manufacturers on the website, and you can find a very large variety of products there, and also contact and negotiate directly with manufacturers, their sales reps, and/or wholesellers.
- eBay’s 'Wholesale Lots' category is a great option to use for bulk orders at a discounted price. You can find a great variety of companies and products too.
- Etsy - U.S. - based platform offers craft-related supplies. You will need to contact sellers you like, and negotiate orders with them. Small orders are available too. You must ask for their line sheets so you can order wholesale items.
-Stylebuy Wholesale - fast fashion apparel, accessories and footwear, available for purchase online.
- Worldwide Brands (U.S. - based) is an online directory with millions of products offered by genuine wholesellers. You can find suppliers to do your dropshipping, bulk distributors and manufacturers as well. The site offers free and paid membership. You can buy a life time access to their certified directory for $249 fee.
- Smaller directories are a good choice too if you are looking for your niche market, and more specific products, or product categories. (for example shoes, lingerie, sports attire, and so on.)
3. Know who your customers are
This is one of the major points to consider before you even start a business. Are you selling to a niche, mass market or a luxury one? Niche market - you most likely need to work with a wholesaler or manufacturer specializing in that product; mass market - you can work with a wholesaler who's offering a variety of products; luxury market - you are looking at working one-on-one with a manufacturer to create the best quality product.
4. Know the type of fabrics your products are made of
Different countries specialize in certain textiles, for example: India - in silks, China - in cotton, etc.
5. Know how many units of each item you plan to sell?
How much breath and depth will your product assortment be? Smaller unit quantities are usually made and ordered in Americas, while large unit orders are made and sold from China, India, and other Asian countries.
6. Know the lead time for orders
Ask potential suppliers about the lead time to get new products. What are the shipping costs/duties involved, so you can ensure these costs are factored in before you make a decision.
7. Placing order samples
Narrow down your list to 3-4 potential suppliers. Request the same sample from each of them, the product you plan to carry, then compare the quality and fit. Based on that, make your final selection.
And finally, remember that it takes a while to find the right suppliers for your online store, but it will be worth the investment. As you establish your online store, and get more orders while constantly keeping fresh items in stock, you’ll start seeing regular and growing revenues.