Starting your own boutique clothing shop is not easy. There are countless considerations and decisions to make. One of the first questions you'll find yourself asking: how can I find trustworthy wholesale clothing vendors for my shop?
After a few hours of researching you'll find that this is a lot like finding a needle in a haystack. With so many wholesale suppliers to sift through, you might feel lost to what to even look for. How do you know if these companies are even real? Will they deliver quality products? Can I trust them to deliver on time?
To help those of you on a entrepreneurial quest to starting your own dream boutique store, we put together a list of ways to find wholesale vendors you can trust and build relationships with.
1. Attend Trade Shows
If you are new to the business, trades shows are one of the best ways to start building out your vendor list. Meeting wholesale owners in person helps you get a good idea of who's been in the industry a long time and are reputable. Trade shows will also give you opportunities to network with fellow retailers and obtain recommendations. Susan Ward from The Balance Small Business provides a helpful checklist of how to prepare for trade shows as they do require an investment. Make sure you know what to look for before attending a show.
2. Initiate Phone Contact
If you are searching online or through vendor directories and find a vendor you are interested in, initiate your first contact through phone rather than email. Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your supplier is essential to your business. Contacting them by phone will give you a chance to get a better idea of who's behind the store front. If they are not able to give you clear answers to questions such as minimum order requirements and shipping policy, it might a be good idea to move on to another option
3. Search for Local Vendors
Take a trip out to your local wholesale vendors! Simply search for your niche products and add your zip code or city to make a list of potential suppliers. Going in person to see products and wholesale owners yourself is a great opportunity to see the quality of goods and services. You can also check out online wholesale directories to find local vendors, such as Wholesale Central.
4. Talk to Brand Manufacturers
If you have a clothing brand that you like, contact them! Many brand manufactures are selling wholesale today. But if their purchase requirement is higher than what you need, ask for recommendations for vendors. They should be able to refer you to reliable wholesalers that fit your bill.
5. Ask for References
In order to get a better idea of a vendor's reliability, reach out to the vendor and ask for references. Directly speaking with a vendor's existing customers will help you verify whether or not they are consistent in pricing, shipping, quality, and brand. A thorough research of your suppliers will help you in the long run and minimize the risk of partnering with unreliable businesses.
Finding the right vendor might sometimes feel like you're beating your head against a wall. Many leads will fall through. But don't give up qualifying your leads! You'll regret rushing into partnerships as reliable suppliers are essential to the success of your business. Make sure you do your homework, and you'll be glad you did!