This is an exciting time to launch your fashion boutique. The incredible power of the internet and social media give you the chance to start up and grow your new clothing business with little more than passion, a good plan, and lots of hard work. But of course, you'll need stylish clothing to sell. So, let's take a look at how to buy wholesale clothing for your shop.
1. Who is Your Customer?
Before you worry about where to find high-quality boutique wholesale clothing, you need to know what you want to sell. For your boutique to find a home in the wide world of fashion, you'll need a specific niche or a small section of the fashion market you want to sell to. Make this niche as detailed as possible. If you intend to sell "women's clothing," what does that mean? Nurses' uniforms? Formal gowns? Business wear? Trendy boho styles for women in their 30s and 40s?
Get even more specific in terms of size ranges and price ranges. Formal gowns for a rural high school prom would be very different from the formal gowns for downtown gallery openings. When you zero in on your niche, you can position your boutique as the go-to for that specific type of clothing.
Once you decide on the niche for your fashion boutique, figure out who your ideal customer is. In the marketing world, this is called developing buyer personas. Here, too, be very specific regarding her age, occupation, likes, dislikes, needs, and budget.
Is she someone who values the classics, or is she always on top of the latest trends? Who are her favorite influencers, or is she her own trend-setter? From your branding to where to buy wholesale clothing for your boutique, you should make all your business decisions with her in mind.
2. Where to Buy Wholesale Clothing
Where to buy wholesale clothing for a boutique is a crucial consideration. Some wholesale boutique clothing vendors require that you have a tax ID number, while others don't. This is just one of many ways boutique fashion wholesalers differ. Some wholesale clothing distributors are based overseas, with lower prices balanced by longer shipping times and complex supply lines. And some require large orders to qualify for wholesale pricing, while others have no minimum orders.
You may even find some of the best wholesale clothing vendors aren't wholesalers at all, but big chain department and fashion stores that are closing down or downsizing. In recent years, Macy's, Kmart, the Gap, Niemen Marcus, JCPenney, and more have liquidated their stock at below wholesale prices. These liquidation sales provide a wonderful opportunity for fashion boutique owners who can house the inventory.
Search online for wholesale boutique clothing vendors that sell styles that fit your niche and your ideal customer. In addition to web searches like "buy wholesale women's clothing," investigate your favorite brands online. Most brands offer links to information about their wholesale program at the bottom or top of their website.
3. Evaluate Wholesale Clothing Vendors
If you're digging into how to buy wholesale clothing, then you have not yet found the vendor(s) you’d like to call your partner(s). It's more than just finding a place to buy clothes. Just as you want to develop a relationship with your customers, the right wholesale vendor will become a partner in your business. Consider the following when evaluating wholesale clothing vendors:
- Quality: Don't mistake pricing for the most crucial consideration when choosing wholesale clothing distributors. Cute styles and fun fabrics make a single sale. But it is quality that turns first-time buyers into repeat customers. Always choose high-quality boutique wholesale clothing. Your business reputation and future depend upon it.
- Stay On Brand: Even the cutest ski jackets at a rock bottom price are not a good buy if your niche is upscale swimwear. Look for wholesale vendors who carry styles that are just right for your ideal customer.
- Supply Line: Where is the clothing manufactured? If your ideal customer is young and plugged in, it may be important to her that you source domestically manufactured clothing for a smaller carbon footprint. You may find Chinese-made fashion through a company like Alibaba to be the right choice for your boutique. But consider what the pandemic taught us about long and complex supply chains when you make your decision.
- Drop Shipping: Some of the best wholesale clothing vendors offer drop shipping, which can be a boon for your new fashion boutique. Drop shipping frees you up from having to store inventory and manage the shipping. The vendor ships your customers' orders directly from their own warehouse, using your boutique's name as the shipper.
- Sales & Returns: Study sales and return policies of the different wholesale vendors you want to do business with.
- Understand the Sizing: Learn all you can about the sizing of each vendor. Do their styles run a little small? Are they cut a bit short? Do they offer plus sizes? Your knowledge and expertise are major selling points for your boutique. Be sure you know how the clothes will fit your customers.
- Always Look Ahead: If you are stocking a brick-and-mortar fashion boutique, you'll need to buy at least one season ahead of time.
- Purchase what You Need: Many wholesale clothing vendors give additional discounts when you purchase in large volume, while some only deal in large volume orders. Look for sellers who can fulfill smaller orders so that you don't overextend your business.
With these considerations in mind, you can evaluate different sellers to determine which are the best wholesale clothing vendors for you as a partner.
At Bloom Wholesale, we look forward to working with you to make your fashion boutique a success. Our stylish women's clothing is manufactured in the Los Angeles garment district, with quality being our top consideration. We introduce new styles weekly. Staying on-trend means your boutique is always fresh and current. We have no minimum orders and ship directly to you, and we offer drop shipping.