Learn How You Can Become A Fashion Buyer
Do you have a fashion brand that expanded into the wholesale world or even started doing business to business selling? You likely got disheartened when you started discovering your emails weren’t getting responses or a tradeshow you held or went to didn’t go that great. Don’t fret. It’s happened even to the industry’s best at one time or another.
As both a consultant and retail buyer, I work closely with clients in this field. Many of them ask me what prospective or new wholesale customers find important or essential. This content should hopefully steer your brand in a better direction, given how they cover 5 factors which collectively are the sum of all my work in this field.
Wholesaling is a potentially very lucrative thing to do. I’ve personally worked with multiple brands that get most of their revenue doing this. It also helps you promote your brand, getting your messaging to new regions of the country, making it worth any extra time or work that’s necessary.
I’ve worked with both emerging brands and big high-street retailers, so I’ve noticed clear patterns of both what works as well as what simply doesn’t. Keep reading to learn my 5 tips for any fashion brand looking to grow its wholesale business and revenue.
1) Be Outrageously Distinct And Generate A Loyal And Enthusiastic Following:
Never fear making a product and its story a true niche in the larger market that just screams how unique you are. Emerging brands just adopt a philosophy of being everything to some of the market, rather than something to everyone in the market.
Never try and duplicate what anyone else is doing. Also avoid copying what someone else has already done.
The more distinct and original or different you can make your brand, the better off you will be. The brands which I’ve seen grow are successful in every aspect of doing business, but in the wholesale world, specializing in just one market area is your best bet.
In comparison, large high-street retailers hold appeal to many kinds of consumers, and they do this well. You’re not yet in a position to hold a candle to what they’ve built for themselves, at least not yet. What you do have the power to do is to slice out a corner of the market to yourself before becoming the experts there and developing the must-have brand in terms of that product.
If you build a brand like this, you’ll quite likely generate an enthusiastic following that adores you with passion. This cult of super fans are going to be your brand cheerleaders wherever they go, and they’ll develop serious brand loyalty you can enjoy for a while. They don’t do this for high-street brands they might buy, but they will happily do it for any brand that they ‘discover’ if it speaks to them in ways nothing else does.
If you can whip up some genuine buzz about your brand, then new wholesale customers might look for you instead of you having to look for them. Big retailers would love to have just a fraction of the passion you can get from a loyal and enthusiastic following, so make sure you exploit it if you get it.
2) Always Tell Your Story, No Matter What You Do:
To be perfectly honest, this might be the only thing that truly matters since it’s what actually drives wholesale customers to come and buy from you. Your story should be reflected in every social media post you make, every page of your look book, and every image or word you put on your website. Wholesale customers are looking to buy anything they can that will invigorate their customer base.
Your story should be explicit, so don’t hide it, because buyers simply don’t have the time or energy to pry it out of you. If you’re not sure where to start, consider the About Us page you put on your website. It should be personal and compelling to any readers, and it’s something that I and most wholesale customers will check out first if we want to get a quick feel about a new brand.
The About Us page you put up should do justice to your brand, so don’t rush the process of coming up with it.
3) Never Assume Your Products Are Going To Sell Themselves:
It should go without saying that you need products which are distinct and even awesome in their niche. If that was the case, though, I wouldn’t have said it earlier. However, no matter how wonderful they are, you still need to put in the behind-the-scenes work so commonly necessary for wholesale selling.
For instance, networking requires a lot of groundwork to be laid out. A lot of this can happen on social media, but it will still take up a lot of your time, particularly if you do it in thoughtful and natural ways, rather than taking the spammy way out. Building engaging, two-way relationships across social media platforms can mean sales leads. If anything, it’ll make your emails be not so cold, so that alone makes it worth the time and effort involved.
4) Put Down The Scatter Gun And Target Your Audience:
One area that your brands needs to focus a good bit of time on is making sure you are targeting the best customers possible so that you can personalize your communications with them. Taking this approach will give you a much better rate of success than firing out scatter gun emails.
At a minimum, you need to know the first name of any person you have to contact. Email recipients are far more likely to read any email which is addressed to them personally rather than dear sir or madam. If you want to succeed, then you need to put in a bunch of time researching who the best prospects are before targeting them in particular with information you know they will consider important. Ironically, this approach means sending out fewer emails but enjoying more actual sales.
5) Persistence Pays Off:
The emphasis of wholesale customers is going to slightly differ from your regulars. For example, they’re not always able to spend their money as they wish they could. Wholesale customers are also businesses, and they have a constant need to balance their product ranges between fresh and new products that maintain excitement among their own customer base and the ‘sure things’ which pay their overhead.
There are plenty of reasons why wholesale customers might not actually be able to buy things from you when you reach out to them. For example, they might have exhausted their seasonal budget or be already trialing several new brands.
Getting some feedback helps you learn if there are things you should work on, but odds are, it’s really just a timing issue.
Persistence pays off, so long as you’re not annoying. Keep relationships open. Never give up on anyone. Stay engaging, because keeping meaningful relationships even when you don’t sell to them just yet means the timing will eventually line up.
If you’re still interested in a job in buying read this post from Four Seasons.