Your designs are ready, you have launched your brand and you have even started selling to some people but you and I know that every designers dream is to get their designs into popular clothing retail stores. There’s just this satisfaction that comes with seeing your designs displayed in popular online clothing stores but how would you achieve this?
N.B-: This article was culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a Clothing Line from Scratch.”
The truth is that getting your designs into stores online is no small task and there is really no hard and fast rule for achieving it. You have to work so hard and be ready to get back up in case you stumble a few times because as a beginner, there is the possibility of facing rejection from a few retailers who feel that your brand is not yet popular and that carrying your brand would tie up their capital.
I have put together this article to teach you how to sell your designs to stores online and even have them beg you to carry your designs. You think that is possible; don’t you? So, here are the steps to take-:
9 Steps to Selling your Clothing Designs to Stores Online
1. Do some feasibility studies-: You have to look around the internet and write down the names of major online clothing stores that you would want to carry your designs. Find out more about each of them and the kind of products they sell.
You would also want to get an idea of their sales volume and revenue. You don’t want to waste time and efforts on a store that doesn’t make sales. You can try getting the e-mail addresses of the owners so that you can use it to communicate with them about your brand and what you are trying to achieve.
2. Do some preliminary work-: You cannot just wake up one day and toss your brand to online clothing retailers and expect them to just buy your brand. You have to do some prior marketing yourself and make sure your brand is known considerably by people.
You should also be able to sure that you have been making some sales online before you can convince other people to carry your designs in their store. It would be difficult to convince people to sell your brand if you cannot show that you have been making sales.
3. Offer Attractive prices-: Another effective strategy to use to make your products noticed and accepted by online stores is to offer attractive prices so that online retailers can make a lot of profit from selling your brand. For instance, if the retail price of clothing item is $50, you can offer it to the seller at $25 so he can sell at a 100% profit but to ensure that all your expenses are covered and you leave enough profit for your efforts.
4. Send product catalogues to online stores-: You can send a product catalogue of your designs known as a look-book to your targeted sellers regularly. These catalogues would contain pictures of some of your products as well as description of each item and prices.
Ensure that the pictures contained in the catalogue are professional pictures that are attractive enough to get people interested in your products. Online retailers could also display your look-book on their website and when they see that customers are asking for your products, they would be encouraged to patronize you.
5. Talk to people who have been in the business before you. You might be able to learn a thing or two about how they were able to get their brands into major online stores. You can look out for books written by renowned designers or talk to marketing experts to help you out.
6. Attend Fashion Shows-: When you attend fashion shows, there is a huge possibility that you would be able to meet and discuss with experienced professionals in the fashion industry which would include owners of online clothing stores. Your networking skills have to be on full-mode at this point to be able to succeed.
7. Employ independent sales representatives-: You may not be able to do all of the work on your own. Having an independent sales representative would definitely help you to achieve more. Look for someone who is experienced with selling online and already has contacts and has been able to build a relationship with owners of online clothing stores. You can pay them based on commission.
8. Send out free samples-: The quickest way to get online retailers to notice you is by sending out free samples to them. When they see how fast your samples sell, they wouldn’t hesitate to make you their regular customer.
9. Use Drop Shipping-: One of the problems online retailers face is how to get their stuffs to their customers quickly and safely. Shipping is expensive sometimes and customers are encouraged to buy when they know they won’t have to pay extra for shipping.
Why would I have to pay an extra $25 for shipping when I can just walk into the nearest boutique and buy something similar without having to pay a dime extra for shipping? This is the mindset of a lot of customers, so you as a designer/wholesaler could help your customers solve this problem by taking the shipping burden off them.
Online stores carrying your brand would only display your products on their website and when there is a demand for it, they would revert to you and you would in turn ship to the customer.
This makes more sense than having to ship a whole load of consignment to your client (the online retailer) in France where he would have to spend money on shipping and maybe custom clearance and then, when there is an order for the item, he would also have to spend money shipping to the customers.
10. Work with Distributors-: You could work with distributors who have been in the business for long and already know all the tips and tricks of the trade. When an online distributor carries your brand, retailers would be able to buy from them and also sell to others.
11. Affiliate programs-: Lastly, you can introduce affiliate programs to encourage online stores and even webmasters to display and sell your products on their websites on a commission basis.