How to Excel at Fashion Wholesale with Your Brand
Once you make the decision to go into fashion wholesale with your products, to shops, you will need to ensure that you have all of the necessary supporting materials. These include sales items and selling information packs.
Fashion wholesale buyers, surprisingly, are not very visual and need a lot of information from the designer in order to make a constructive decision. If you can provide answers to all of their questions immediately, that is preferable to leaving with a list of queries that will have to be answered after the momentum of your meeting has died down. Arm yourself with the following and make the best first impression:
Fashion Wholesale Samples
First and foremost, present an edited selection of well-made samples to wholesale buyers.
Arm yourself with a full selection of Sales Samples corresponding to every design in your Line Sheet.
The Sales Sample is a version of your design that includes all brand-approved fabric and trims. This is the version that you would show to buyers when presenting your collection. This also gives you the chance to test out trim and fabric combinations. This sample is sewn by your factory in order to prove the production costs along with the quality of assembly.
You can then use this sample for marketing and presentation to buyers. Read our article on Fashion Sampling, to know how.
Whether you’re targeting large retailers or smaller boutiques, the essential elements on your Line Sheet stay the same.
Fashion Wholesale Linesheet
The Linesheet is a sales tool designed to visually communicate all of the information necessary for a wholesale buyer to make a decision about purchasing your collection.
It will include lots of facts about your collection that makes the buying process seamless. It’s a no-frills document that’s meant to answer questions at a glance. Whether you’re targeting large retailers or smaller boutiques, the essential elements on your Linesheet stay the same.
While there is no one right way to create your Linesheet, there are some important key elements that every designer must include.
The general information should comprise your business name and contact information along with your office or studio address. Photographs of each item should be full colour flat-lays shot against a plain white background. Avoid using models – lifestyle shots are more appropriate for a Look Book or catalogue. Each item should have a unique name and number, for ease of identification.
Keep it simple and short. Display your wholesale price. It is common in Europe to include a “recommended retail price” but keep in mind that this practice is not prevalent in the US. List prices in your local currency in the first instance but do add them in US dollars if you intend to sell internationally.
Include a size range and the different colour options for materials. Have a separate order form with clear sales terms printed on the back. Read below to know what an order form looks like.
Wholesale Order Form
This is very important and is usually attached to the Linesheet.
It should include sections of the customer’s name, address, contact details and Tax Code.
A section for the date the order is placed is also required, along with the season to which the order refers.
Also make sure there is room for all of the product information such as product style, product quantity, size range, the full selection of available colours and different materials.
Sections for the delivery date, method of delivery and payment should also be clearly defined.
Terms & Conditions
These are usually written on the back of the Order Form.
Your Terms should include information about Order Confirmation, Deliveries, Shipping, Payment, Payment Issues and Conflicts. By referencing this information, you will be protected should anything go wrong with the order.
Your Terms can be incorporated into the Linesheet, but with so much information required, it’s best to keep the Order Form as a separate document.
Create a LookBook to catch the eye of important wholesale buyers.
A Look Book is a fashion catalogue of well-styled images. It should convey the essence of your brand to buyers aided by props that resonate with your brand aesthetic. Stand out from the crowd by enticing potential buyers with a digital LookBook. Include video content as well as stills and lifestyle shots. The digital copy can be sent out as an introduction to the brand and could secure you an appointment – providing it’s sent at the right time, to the right person, and has the “wow factor.” You may opt to present a hard copy of the LookBook to the wholesale buyer at your appointment.
Don’t forget to include your social media addresses on your business cards.
Carry business cards with you at all times, and hand them out by way of introduction. Your cards should include your business name and contact details. Don’t forget to include your social media addresses as well.
Pen & Paper
Such an obvious one but usually forgotten. A notebook branded with your business name and logo would be even more professional.
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To make yourself more memorable with fashion wholesale buyers, you may want to think of something small to leave behind that may be useful to them and keep them thinking of you. If you’re able to brand the item tastefully, even better. One option is to load copies of your Linesheet and LookBook onto a flash drive that has your business name and logo printed on it and leave that with the buyer.
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Know your stuff and be prepared to answer all sorts of questions. These could include how your products are made, to the provenance of your materials.
Can you offer specials or discounts?
Ensure you’re aware of the store’s sales terms and whether they expect to be offered discounts. I used to sell to a famous clothing store that expected ridiculous discounts from me simply for the opportunity to be sold in a prestigious store. I increased my prices slightly to accommodate this.
As a start-up, you can’t afford to make mistakes as you may not get a second chance. Providing you have all of the items mentioned above, prior to approaching fashion wholesale buyers, there’s no reason for you not to walk away with an encouraging first order from your dream shop.
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