buyer \ˈbī(-ə)r\ noun
“The buying role differs between companies, but all fashion buyers are responsible for overseeing the development of a range of products aimed at a specific type of customer and price bracket.”
Whether you’re starting an online boutique or physical store, buying is one of the most important factors when it comes to running a smart, budget-friendly business—and creating a brand identity for your store. These tips are great for store owners who have been in the game a while, too. Read on for 5 pieces of advice we have for buyers.
Figure Out Your Niche
Maybe you want to start a vintage boutique specializing in women’s apparel and accessories. Groovy! That’s a niche and, chances are, you will stand out among other shops in your area and be a novelty to a passerby. If you’re wanting to take this venture online, be careful! The market is saturated and you may have to sink more money into social media ads, which isn’t a bad idea anyway. The important thing is, though, that your customers want to feel like what you have to offer is special and that they’re getting a killer value. Your inventory needs to feel curated and special to both returning and new customers.
Or maybe you already have a fashion store that caters to women, men, and kids, and you’re looking to expand or improve your inventory by seeking new wholesale clothing suppliers. This brings us to our second tip…
Find a Wholesale Clothing Partner
When it comes to wholesale clothing, we think we’re a smart choice. We’re proud to carry high-quality apparel from hundreds of Los Angeles area manufacturers and importers. All of our bulk wholesale clothing and accessories are overstocks or leftovers from these sources, so you know we stay up on the latest trends. We offer low prices, a great range of items, and even full refunds and returns if you’re not completely satisfied. What’s not to love?
Whether you choose us or not (we get it—it’s a big decision and an even bigger market!), it’s important that you research a wholesaler before you make a large purchase. Do they have a return policy? What are their prices compared to other wholesale clothing companies with similar product quality? What is their turnaround time for orders? Will your wholesaler let you use their high-quality images for your store so that you don’t have to spend the time and resources taking beautiful photographs? Since customer satisfaction, your brand, profits, etc. all come back to your product, we recommend requesting samples from a wholesale clothing provider before making giant purchases.
The Rule of Threes
An easy-to-remember rule of thumb for when you’re actually ready to make a wholesale purchase is the rule of threes we learned from Stacey Brazen over at Brazen Profit Lab. “My maximum is no more than 3 pieces, in 3 sizes, and in 3 colors,” Stacey explains. So, for example, if you are looking to stock up on ringer tees for your store, you could choose a black ringer tee and a white ringer tee. Then you want to grab each of those colors in 3 sizes—and make sure you have 3 of each size. That’s a total of 18 pieces!
Now, when it comes to the number of unique styles, keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your customers. You want to keep your physical or online store looking clean and minimalist to enhance the shopping experience, but you also want to look fully stocked and enticing. Inventory is all about balance, and this balance will depend on your store size, visual merchandising, your customers, and/or website layout.