It can be overwhelming in the beginning to buy wholesale boutique clothing. What are the best strategies? Read on for details.
Finding the right location, designing your boutique space, marketing to the right customers, and building your brand on social media are steps you’re taking to make your boutique a success. Now it’s time to buy wholesale clothing to please your customers and give you higher profit margins. How you buy wholesale boutique clothing could be one of the most important decisions you make.
Below is a checklist to help you reach your goals and see your vision of being a successful boutique owner come true. It starts with finding the right wholesale supplier.
Choose a Wholesale Supplier That Rocks
When searching for the right wholesale supplier, keep in mind that you are the one doing the hiring. Don’t be afraid to treat your search like a job interview process. Ask for references, get to know the staff, and learn their processes before committing to a wholesaler. Find out if the wholesaler you like requires you to order on their digital platform and if so, learn how you get connected to it.
Get to know the manufacturer from which the wholesale supplier gets their products. Where do they make and ship their products?
Buying wholesale boutique clothing should be the fun part of the job. In just a few conversations, you can get a good idea of response time, costs, discounts, shipping, and of course, trendy clothing. Ask to look at their contract before deciding. Read the fine print.
There are some other things you can do before making a final choice that will give you an edge in buying wholesale clothing. They are detailed below.
Know Your Storage Space
Knowing how much square footage you have for storage helps you determine how much inventory you can have in stock at one time. Share this number with your wholesale representative. Together, you can narrow products that require larger bulk ordering or negotiate for small batches or bundling opportunities.
Know the Clothing
Owning a clothing boutique means you are in the business of selling products. The more you know about a product, the more confident you will be in presenting it to your customers. For example, if you want to offer cardigans in your boutique, you could pick some you like and see what happens. Or you could learn more, like where the clothing comes from, if it is handmade in the United States, what makes it so soft, and why it is trending. Your wholesale supplier should be able to tell you all this information and more.
Know Your Purchasing Strategy
Figuring out details like whether you want to buy products from overseas or domestic wholesalers is more than a yes or no answer. You must consider quantities, costs, and shipping deadlines. Buying overseas may get you a better price, but you may also need to buy larger quantities and potential shipping problems that can delay receipt of your clothing.
Buying wholesale clothing in the United States may mean you pay more for the products, but you increase your chances of receiving items on time, and if returns are needed, it could take less time. You may also be able to buy smaller batches with lower shipping rates. Create your purchasing strategy and use it to narrow down your choice for a supplier.
Know Your Numbers
Owning a boutique or any retail business means dealing with many numbers, including expenses, revenue, profits, and losses. You must also know the cost of goods sold for each purchased product for resale. Cost of goods sold refers to the total amount of money your business spent on an item. This includes the price of the item itself, packaging, labor hired to sell the product, shipping, and any other direct expenses incurred between your beginning and ending inventories. This number tells you how much you need to sell to break even. Then you can price accordingly.
Other numbers to know include how much it costs you to acquire a customer, square footage of your boutique, display racks and how many items they hold, employee costs, and even monthly rent and utilities. The more you know, the better prepared you are when it is decision-making time.
Know Your Niche
The more specific your niche, the narrower your wholesale supplier list. For example, if your clothing boutique sells women’s leggings, the wholesaler you choose should have a huge selection of women’s leggings. If you want a broader niche, say women’s fashion, the wholesaler must have multiple categories of products for women.
To find your niche, consider the following:
- Your passions
- Your talents
- Your skills
- Your customer
Choose one once you know all the facts and have gathered the information necessary to decide on a wholesale supplier. Then, start building a quality relationship with them.
Build the Relationship with Your Supplier
Wholesale suppliers are looking for long-term partnerships, and nothing would please you more to purchase everything you need from one supplier at the lowest cost. This can happen. Maybe not the first year, but over time, as your relationship grows.
Tips for building a solid relationship include communicating with supplier representatives respectfully and when you are not trying to negotiate or get something from them. A quick email to send them a funny article on terrible fashion trends will make them laugh and remember you outside of the buying process.
Meet suppliers in person whenever possible. If you can’t visit their warehouse, which is always a good idea since it tells you about their organization and cleanliness, ask for a Zoom tour. Give them a tour of your boutique and ask for feedback. Treat them like a partner so they will invest more into making your business a priority.
Finally, building a better relationship with a wholesaler involves holding up your end of the deal. Pay on time, return items quickly, and submit orders in advance. When you make their job easier, they are more willing to help you buy wholesale boutique clothing in a way that makes you both successful.