What Store to Stock in?

Good morning guys!

I get a lot of questions about selling the collection and how to pick the stores to sell them in? This is so important, researching the right place to stock in. I’ve made a little check list that I use to better grasp where and who to both contact and stock with.
Firstly, here’s my Tip’s (everyone goes about this in different ways so this is just a few hinters that could be useful):

1*Make sure the Store (that you plan to contact) stocks different labels and small labels, you don’t want to contact the major chains when you haven’t started working on supplying a single store yet. Learn and tread slowly, so start with a small store privately owned and operated.

2*Visit the store, look at the labels they stock, prices,the designs and ask yourself: “would my label work in here?”, “Is this store matching my garments?”. Be picky, there’s no point trying to squeeze your label into a shop that is the complete opposite of what you sell, say ‘rockabilly dresses’ for example. You sell beach wear, then the match won’t be perfect and basically it will be a waste of time to even approach them.

3*Are you and your label ready? There’s no point contacting stores when your website or look-book isn’t ready. Chances are, when you are doing your ‘cold-calling’ that the store manager (or assistant store manager) will ask for just that, a website or look-book, somewhere were they can view your pieces before booking a physical meeting.

4*You have to sit down and work out your Mark-Ups, nothing says ‘being un-professional’ like not knowing your prices and what Mark-Ups to offer the store, don’t think too much about your own profit, the stores profit will sell your collection (offering a good Mark-up to them) is like fishing with a juicy bate, I have added a really useful section about this in My E-book.

5*What sizes do you stock? You need to know what size range you will be offering the store and if there is any Order Minimums for them. Some labels won’t accept a Store Order if it’s below a certain amount of money or in a certain limit of sizes. Make sure that you are very flexible as a new brand and be open to a 1 piece per size order even if it will cost you a little, since it’s all about getting you name and label out there.

6*Know everything about your pieces. The store manager might ask about what fabric a certain garment is made in, the care instructions or just a random thing like a zip or how the label is printed. Try to know as much as possible about your collection as it’s key for looking confident and professional once you have that meeting booked.

7*Be Seasons ahead. My biggest mistake was happily showing the 2012 S/S collection when the Store was busy ordering for A/W 2013. It’s important to know the cycle of fashion, when do most store’s look at the A/W season for example and when does the A/W season arrive to the store?

8*Present yourself and the Collection in the best way, fashion savvy. Have business cards ready, a little sheet printed in color (very important) as I offered a black an white print out and the store manager wanted (of course) to see the colors of the garments. Wear your label. No point going to a meeting wearing a great looking dress from another label, chances are they will ask “is this yours?” and then you’ll have to admit that it’s some other label. When in doubt, go black. Just neutral black or white/possibly clean gray toned garments that won’t conflict with your pieces too much.

9*Don’t forget to smile, being happy and excited is key. Try to not stress out too much during a phone call or a meeting. So what if they refuse you or dislike your garments. There is plenty of more fish out there and always another season. The reason why you’ve got refused might not just be your label, it could be your collection for a single season, so why not be open to have it critiqued and then change it for the next season to come. Ask them why the clothes didn’t work or wasn’t a good fit, is it the prices?The fact that a new label is a bit of a gamble or simply the chosen colorway?…

10* “One day or some day” is one thing, but doing it Today is another! Doing cold-calling and showing your pieces is just that, your making something happen. Tell yourself that your at least making an effort and that your learning. Don’t set your goals too high and be happy for any feedback and the fact that you are out there and doing it. Your making it happen! Remember that being refused from being stocked in a store isn’t the end of the world, as the online shops and internet business increases there’s a great market and chance that you can sell strictly online too.

Have any stories or experiences to share or just a random question, I’m always around and keen to try to help:-)

Best of Luck if your attacking the stores as we speak! xx Alice

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    5 years ago

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