Many of my customers and friends ask me how I buy all the clothing for the store. Like many of you, I had no idea on where to even begin. Through the past few years, I have compiled a list of questions that I am asked often:
Where do you even start?
- In order to carry brands in your store they will ask you for a photo of your store, what other brands you carry and for you resale permit.
- In order to get ahold of brands you can do it two ways:
- Attend a tradeshow.
- Reach out to the brand directly (usually through email) and they will send you linesheets (note: linesheets can be hard to work off of because the product can look much different in person).
How do you know what to buy?
There are two ways to buy inventory:
- ATS (available to sell): ATS is the available stock that the brand can ship immediately. Here, you can buy any inventory that they have in stock. This is an incredible way to get product quickly! However, the only problem with this method is some of the best selling pieces will not be available for you to buy because they are sold out.
- Buy a season ahead: When you go to these markets, brands will have the clothing organized into different months. For example, if the next market is October, then you should be looking at product to buy for January, February and March. If you buy this way you get exactly what you want. The only downside is that it becomes really easy to overbuy product.
What tradeshows do you attend?
Here are a list of my favorite tradeshows:
Magic Tradeshow -Vegas
- This is one of my favorite tradeshows to find new brands. It can be overwhelming so prepare for a long few days.
- We go every year to this tradeshow to shop for men's. We have found that it is the best time to get all the product you need for men.
LA Market -Los Angeles
- This is the most convienent one for us to go to and one of my favorites. I know where everything is located and it's not as overwhelming to find the brands you are looking for.
Coterie -New York City
- Ah, one of my favorite cities in America and seriously one of the best markets. NY market is a great place to see brands that are international brands that you usually would not see in other tradeshows.
- THIS IS THE BEST PLACE to buy books and small items for the store.
What is the biggest mistake you made while buying?
Overbuying is the easiest thing to do while going shopping for clothing. Come up with a plan on how much you want to spend each month and stick to that. Keep in mind sales representatives are there to sell clothing to you and want you to buy as much as possible from them. We always ask ourselves "do you really love it" if there is one person in the group that is not obsessed with the item we do not get it.
What Does it look like when you go to Market?
Here are some photos and videos of me at LA market.
Have any questions?
Email: Ariel@whiskeyleather.com. My biggest piece of advice is don't be afraid to ask people for help. I learned all the ins and outs by asking lots of questions from others along the way!