Category: Buyer

5 Ways to Make Your Brand Attractive to Wholesale Buyers

5 Ways to Make Your Brand Attractive to Wholesale Buyers

You are launching your startup fashion brand and you’re pumped up to start pitching. Top of mind is how to best position your brand to wholesale buyers. Often misunderstood, the job of a buyer is not only to look and find cool new products but really to act as an investment banker. Much of what a buyer has to do with wholesale fashion is financially motivated, based on margins, probability of sell through at full price, and minimums. At the same time they are getting that information of ‘sellability’ from a variety of sources. Read on for the five ways to make your brand more sellable to wholesale accounts.

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The Ultimate Guide to Selling Wholesale

Its that time of the summer! Did you just show at the POOL Tradeshow or MAGIC? Maybe you are getting prepped for Capsule in NY or you just showed at NYNOW. Or maybe this season you have said enough! And will be doing you own buyer preview in house. With trade shows abound and buyers ready with their OTB (Open-to-buy), its an exciting time to be a brand. To ensure a selling season that sees results follow my ultimate guide to selling wholesale.

 

Syama’s Ultimate Wholesale Selling Guide!

 

  1. Create a smart outreach schedule. Implement project management apps like ASANA that will help you organize your calendar and to do list. You can delegate to team members and approve and share doc’s. If you want approval on your invites – stop sending them out on emails and share them with your team in a way where everyone can see eachother’s feedback. Every week for the 6-8 weeks around the buying season you should be emailing, calling and sending out postcards. No response is not a no.
  2. Check your email open rates. Tired of sending out well thought out emails to individual buyers and not getting feedback? They may not even be reading your emails. Implement Streak (my favorite tool) to see if your subject headers are having any results. If no one opens, its time to resend the same email with a different subject header.
  3. Build up your perceived value and tell everyone about it. Use your social media channels, your newsletters and your individual buyer emails to pump up your brand. Include your best press outlets, the influencers that love your brand and any important retailers that your audience would want to know about. You want to create the impression of “Wow, this brand is getting traction, I need to know about this”. Anytime something great happens think of the 3-5 places you can syndicate it out to.email
  4. Yes, numbers count. Your buyers, editors and influencers will check your social media numbers. If you are a new brand and just launching, it doesn’t matter. Most brands are building up their social media channels 6-12 months before they launch so they can get traction. If you are doing this supper last minute- which is not the preferred method- I suggest 1. Streamlining your social media channels to Instagram and Facebook 2. Front loading your channel with lifestyle, brandcentric and product images 3. Hiring a bot like (FastFollowerz) to help you with engagement and follower numbers. This is not the long term strategy simply because fake followers don’t care about your brand, they won’t buy and they screw with all your numbers (engagement, follower rate etc.) However, if you have not done the preparation to get your brand in great shape with social media you may not have a chance at market without a strong online presence. The alternative is that you can start building organic now and do your big push in Feb market. No need to rush something so important like you brand presence online.
  5. Get innovative with selling tools. Who says you need a full scale printed lookbook and linelist with all your products. There are so many ways to get your brand noticed. Some of my favorite ideas are custom USB sticks (email maxs@usbmemorydirect.com, for a free sample!). I also love the idea of using a smaller directional printed book- something that really just highlights the direction, mood and feel of the collection. You can always email the full stack loobook and linelist to the buyer. Another favorite idea is to do a 4-week postcard campaign with a different image from the collection on each one. What a great way to tell a story!
  6. Be cohesive. If your website is not in good shape, then why waste the time pitching? I always would check out someone’s website when I was a buyer and see how they present themselves. Are you echoing the same message on your social media channel? When you write your emails and create branded assets do they all have the same verbiage? Every email you send is a branding opportunity. If you do not brand yourself, you will be branded! You don’t need to spend a fortune on an amazing site, with careful planning and the right help you can get a full stack build out for $3k- its true. Look like you are funded, even when you are not.YouTube Video How to Create a Page That Sells
  7. Long-term game. No matter how seasoned you are you need to remember that buyers are people and want to build relationships, not just buy products. If your entire business rests on sales from one season then you shouldn’t be in this business. Better off to invest your time in another business, one that doesn’t require so much relationship building and time. There is no magic to hard work.
  8. Present with perfection. Yes, you need branded hangers. Yes, you need garment bags. Yes, you need stickers to add to boxes when you ship out samples. It’s in the details. When you are one of a thousand brands pitching and you get the opportunity to put your product in front of the buyer or to send them samples you have increased your chances to one of a few hundred. Why blow the opportunity by not making it the best darn presentation you can.show the clothes
  9. Pitch 365 days a year. Well, technically no, but you cann
    ot just communicate with someone when you need them. It’s like a friend who only asks you to coffee when they want you to lend them money. This is why brands hire showrooms and sales reps. since they keep the relationships warm all year round. You should be planning your off month communication so that when the official selling season is over you are still in touch. This way if you have any immediates (products with inventory on hand) or want to chat about exclusives or even next season you will have their ear.
  10. Know your Operations! This is a no-brainer. You have got to know what kinds of payment terms, minimums, shipping deadlines, EDI requirements, chargebacks, and logistical elements will be asked of you. Can you work on drop-shipment, cross-shipment, consignment? If you are not prepared with the backend, all the front-end work you have done and product development will have been for naught. If you are not familiar with the logistics and operations then educate yourself right away.

 

Best of luck this selling season! I know it’s difficult to sell your products to retail buyers. As a former buyer and consultant for brands, I have spent the last 15 years in this industry and have seen the rapid changes. Veterans in fashion don’t know how to play in the new landscape of wholesale, retail, popup shops, mobile commerce and social media. You need to arm yourself with a strategic plan to leverage the best of your brand and build from there. Your business model may be different from your peers, but finding the right model for you will help you with longevity and success. Here is to your successful selling season!

 

Syama Meagher is a retail strategist for brands and retailers. She helps entrepreneurs launch and grow fashion business built to last through ecommerce, wholesale and brick & mortar. Syama is a former at Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife and Macy’s. To build your brand and create a profitable business check out www.ScalingRetail.com and email hello@scalingretail.com

 

How to Write a Buyer Pitch Email

How to sell to Barneys NY, Saks and Neimans? Write a killer pitch email to get buyers talking about your brand! Simple easy template to get you talking to the write buyers.

Did you find this video helpful? Need more tips? Leave a comment below, so we can chat!

Thank you for watching.

For more tips and exercises for building a fashion website check out
Creating Fashion Websites That Sell by Syama Meagher and Nicole Giordano: http://www.scalingretail.com/product/creating-fashion-website-that-sell/
Check out Scaling Retail website for more business ecommerce and retail tips, reviews and more: http://www.scalingretail.com/

Contact Syama for any questions: Syama@scalingretail.com

Follow us for here
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/scalingretail
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scalingretail
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/nyc-retail-consultant

How to Create your Line List for Wholesale Buyers

 

Stuck on how to create your line list? Watch this. I’ll walk you through each column and tell you exactly how to build it. What you will need:

1. MS Excel
2. Photographs of your product
3. Pricing
4. Materials Content

…and a couple other things that I will share.

If you are ready to launch your brand then set up a consultation. Email: hello@scalingretail.com. Scaling Retail is the consulting firm for retail globally. Specializing in startup and growth stage ecommerce, brick & mortar, and wholesale.

For more tips and exercises for building a fashion website check out
Creating Fashion Websites That Sell by Syama Meagher and Nicole Giordano: http://www.scalingretail.com/product/creating-fashion-website-that-sell/
Check out Scaling Retail website for more business ecommerce and retail tips, reviews and more: http://www.scalingretail.com/

Follow us here
Instagram: https://instagram.com/scalingretail/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scalingretail
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scalingretail
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/nyc-retail-consultant

What is the difference between Drop Shipping & Cross Shipping?

New business models are the wave of the future and understanding how to work with these new types of retailers will help you maximize those relationships and, of course, make more money!

Here is what you need to know.

 Drop-Shipping

 What it is: The online retailers sells your product on their platform. Once the customer places the order with the retailer, they contact you and you ship it to the customer. The retailer pays you the cost price plus shipping.

Pro’s:

1. If you are just starting out and you don’t have a lot of distribution working with drop-shipping companies will allow you to add stockists to your list.

2. Drop-shipping sites are usually early stage businesses, this gives you the advantage to ask for more. Things you can ask for: social media blasts, newsletter features, homepage features.

3. Testing out products and price points. If you aren’t ready to launch your own ecommerce and want to test market your products, this is a great way to do so.

4. Better payment terms & margins. You have the upper hand in negotiations on wholesale price. I suggest a 60/40 split in your favor and 14 day or 30 day payment terms.

5. Packaging is a great way to take that customer all for yourself. Make sure you add postcards or special content that will drive that customer back to your site. Though you may need to use the retailers packaging, definitely double-check.

Con’s:

1. You have to hold the inventory. If you don’t have products already in stock you will need to get the inventory.

2. You have to do the shipping. If you don’t have a local USPS, or aren’t  set up with UPS or FEDEX, whichever is preferred by the retailer, you will need to do so.

3. Sales will be tough to get. Especially on newer ecommerce sites that use drop shipping. They are spending their time marketing and getting traffic to the site, but its tough to say what will be the best sellers and if your products will work. Don’t go into drop-shipping thinking you will get business right away. It will take time.

Cross-Shipping 

What it is: Similar to drop-shipping, the online retailer sells your product on their site. Once the order gets processed the retailer contacts you and you ship to the retailer. Then the retailer re-packages the product and sends to the customer.

Now why would the retailer want to do this? Branding. Its better for the retailer to have the outgoing packages be branded from them even if they are not holding the inventory. This also costs more for them. They pay for shipping to them and shipping from them to the customer.

Pro’s and Con’s are similar to that of drop-shipping. Though under this scenario you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of adding in your branded assets to the package that gets sent to the customer.

These two forms of online business models are more common than you think. New startups will often implement them to test market their brand before moving into a wholesale model. These models aren’t good or bad but need to be factored into a global sales strategy for your band. If you are interested in learning more about new business models sign up for our Selling Webinar: How to Sell to Barneys & Boutiques. If you want more in-depth strategy and guidance contact us at hello@scalingretail.com

Here is to your success!

 

5 Ways to Get In Front of Retail Buyers

Originally Published on Makers Row/Blog

“I’m a former buyer turned buying and brand consultant. I’ve been emailed, visited at work by eager brands, and stalked on social media. Here are 5 tips that will impact how you get noticed by prospective buyers:

1. Email is Cheap: Send something real.

Have great fabric swatches that you are using for F/W? Send a sample over with a personalized note card to the prospective buyer. Include a couple of sketches. This is personal, real and valuable. In essence, it is a pre-lookbook. If you are a new fashion brand its essential to make a great first impression.

2. Speak Up:

Send something out to a buyer? Call and follow up. Leave a message requesting feedback. I can’t say how many times the second or third email actually got my attention. Buyers are extremely busy, so don’t always assume they saw your first email. Also, don’t hard sell your potential partner. If it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. But, they need to tell you that first. How to tell if you’re a good fit before getting the hard rejection? Visit the retail store or check out the e-commerce site. What are the price points and aesthetics of the store? Is your brand positioned at a luxury price point but the retailer offers affordable luxury? Check first. With small retailers across the country that don’t have online shops and aren’t in your immediate market, making the phone call is important. Remember. Both of you are after the same goal: to get the right product, at the right price to the right customer.

“Think about how your brand firsts gets experienced online from your logo, to site navigation, font, photo quality, & brand copy” @MakersRow

3. Time Is Precious:

Your time, their time, everyone’s time. Don’t contact the wrong person, don’t expect them to put you in touch with anyone. More importantly, don’t expect a response if you’re using an outdated email list. Buyer’s change like the seasons, and you need to double-check your lists via LinkedIn. Even calling the receptionist and asking to be transferred to your contact will tell you if they’re still in that position. Remember: the women’s designer is not the same as women’s contemporary, so do your homework.

“Buyer’s change like the seasons. Use @LinkedIn to double-check your contact information.” @ScalingRetail via @MakersRow

4. Share Your News

Did you receive press lately? Was your brand just featured in a popular publication? Which celebrities are wearing your brand? Are you going to be at an upcoming tradeshow? Let the world know. Make sure to email your most recent press kit to potential buyers you met or spoke with. Nothing interesting going on? Don’t make something up.

“Did you receive press lately? Make sure to email your most recent press kit to potential buyers you’re contacting.”@MakersRow

5. Follow but DON’T Stalk

There is a distinct difference between following a buyer on Twitter and friending them on Facebook. Don’t engage on a professional level with someone, on a platform used for personal means. Example: If the buyer you want to reach out to has a personal non-work/industry related Instagram account, i.e. photos of her baby and friends don’t stalk her. If it is focused on fashion and work, then follow and engage away.

“Networking Tip: Don’t engage on a professional level with someone on a platform that they use for personal means” @ScalingRetail @MakersRow

Getting in front of the right buyers is a combination of your brands perceived value + determination + longevity – too many emails + creativity. Perceived value can be a tough one to decipher. Think about how your brand firsts gets experienced online. Your logo, the navigation on your site, even the font, quality of photos and brand copy all add up to your brands perceived value. Perceived brand value can be thought of as everything ranging from your fabric to hangtags to where your products are made. Remember…you can only make so many first impressions! Need help building your pitch and sales strategy? Leave a comment for me below!

“Getting in front of the right buyers is a combination of your brands perceived value + determination + longevity” @ScalingRetail @MakersRow

Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail, has championed the success of small to medium sized retail and fashion businesses internationally. Her co-authored book “The Fashion Designer’s Guide- CREATING FASHION WEBSITES THAT SELL- Your Step by Step Manual for Ecommerce Success” releases in February. From opening retail stores in New York to launching a brand from Bali, Syama has taken ideas and turned them into scalable and sustainable businesses. Syama has a background working at the merchandising offices at: Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife, Ann Taylor and Macy’s. Visit: Scalingretail.com and follow her on Twitter @ScalingRetail

How can I start my own clothing business such as Champions or Underarmour?

Answer by Syama Meagher:

There are two ways to launch a product. The first, do research and find the holes in the marketplace. What do you wish you could find but doesn’t exist? What opportunities are out there?

The second way people launch products are through creative ambition. Example: I want to create a line of ready-to-wear because I have ideas not necessarily based on market need.

Both are doable, though one requires creating demand, while the other sees demand in the marketplace.

Once you have your idea, market validation and brand, its time to secure manufacturing, determine a pricing strategy and how to penetrate the market. Lets not forget your ecommerce presence and developing relationships with retailers along the way.

Sounds tough? It is. Its also possible and attainable.

View Answer on Quora

Sneak Peek @POOLTRADESHOW “Grow Revenue” Presentation

Interested in growing your revenue? This week, Thursday, January 16th, I’ll be speaking at the POOLTRADESHOW #SwimLessonsLA at the Smog Shoppe in Culver City, LA.

Sign up here: http://www.magiconline.com/swim-lessons

Special thanks to the FashionAccelerator 360 @FBA360

Here is a sneak peek to the presentation: