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    6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2010 4:12 PM by Arev01

    Starting out new business...Need retailers to sell

    SnehBoutique Wayfarer
      Hi All,
      I am new to all of this. Found this site while lookings for tips and tricks. I live in USA, but am a supplier with business in India. We sell quality womens apparel. Very elegant merchandise at extremely reasonable costs. I have seen stuff sold in Macy's, Lord & Taylor etc recently, it's mostly stuff from India, but priced very high.

      I have the following:
      I have a business name
      I have conenctions to provide me as many shipments as required.
      I ahve a business plan.
      I know my target end client group

      I need to know following...
      1. What is the supplier structure here in US like? eg, if I find a retailer, is the deal they buy and they sell. Or is it on return basis, in other words, they sell whatever they can adn then return the remaining back to me for other stuff?
      2. How do I go about finding these target demographics stores?
      3. What should I do the ensure proper payments? ( I don't want situations where retailers don't pay me)
      4. Are there any legal steps that I need to take...(I know if I do wholesale business then I need a FedID, any more things like this...)
        • Re: Starting out new business...Need retailers to sell
          RobClayton Wayfarer
          That is a lot of questions and each one of the them is answered the same - it depends. All retail outlets are differenet. They all have differnet policies. Some buy up front and that is it and some buy and will only pay you after they sell it (net returns). You just have go in and be willing to negotiate.

          I would suggest that instead of trying to find individual store for coproate purchasing departments - spend that time trying to find sales reps in the women apparel industry. These reps already have their foot in the door and knwo the ends in and outs - thus educating you on what to expect with each store.

          Your legal requirements will stem more from where you are located - than anything else. I would suggest finding a local chamber of commerce or SCORE office and ask them about your local requirements.

          Business Junkie .org

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Starting out new business...Need retailers to sell
            Arev01 Wayfarer

            I know it can be really frustrating when you need information and you are not getting it so I looked at your original post again. I will help you as best I can but there is still a lot about the industry that I do not know.


            In the US the designer/manufacturer tyically sells their merchandise at a wholesale price to the retailer. (I am assuming that you know how to do costing on apparel.) Unless you have some special arrangement with the retailer, they (the retailer) owns the merchandise and they are responsible for selling it and whatever is left over at the end of their selling season still belongs to them. This is why I mentioned that you should be careful of charge backs. Sometimes the larger department stores tell you that there are damages in the goods you shipped them, but the merchandise is not returned to you until the end of the season. They do this so that they do not have to hold onto goods that they did not sell. Sometimes designers/manufacturers don't want to take the risk of possible charge backs so they either stipulate the amount of time in which damaged goods must be returned (a particular # of days) and nothing can be returned without return authorization #, which means that the retailer has called the supplier and talked with someone about the damages, most likely faxed in a list of the damaged goods by style, size and item code and a "label" has been emailed to them to print out and include on the packaging and in their paperwork that officially authorizes the return of the goods.

            I have a list of 3 or 4 thousand retailers, mostly in the US, that I gathered from the internet and I will used this list to make cold calls. I obtained the list by going to other designers' web sites and copying the list of retailers that carry their line. I put that information in a spreadsheet and format it, then I google the retailer to capture any missing information and also to check whether they carry lines that my merchandise would/could/should "hang with". If the fit seems right, then that store will be noted as someone that I should contact. Otherwise, I notate why they are not a suitable retailer for me. Deleting them is not good because I may come across them again in the future and I don't want to waste time looking them up again. I also have room in my spreadsheet to enter the buyer's name, phone extension, the date I called, what they said, when I followed up, etc. Generally, I am calling to ask them if I can send them my line sheets. Some want me to email them the line sheets, some want me to mail them, some want to know if I attend any market shows where they can view the line in person. I have worked for designers who do maket shows and designers who don't. Typically, you have to have finesse and charm over the phone because you are feeling the person out. Don't waste your time talking to the first person who answers the phone. Ask for the name of the _________ buyer (whichever category your merchandise falls into). Then ask if that person is available. If they are not available then at least you can put their name in your spreadsheet and specifically ask for them when you call the next time. Here are a few things I have learned over the years of making sales calls:

            • ALWAYS identify your name and the name of your business when you call. It makes you sound like a legitimate professional and also they will ask you anyway so give them that information up front.

            • Get to they point quickly. Let the buyer know that you viewed their website and you think they would be a good fit to carry your merchandise, then ask them if you can send them your line sheets.

            • Have some line sheets or a product catalog. Make sure they have your contact info on them and your required minimums. If you don't do any of the shows then this is how buyers will be able to view your line.

            Perhaps this information will be more helpful to you, as it answers more of the questions you had. As for legal steps you need to take, you need your business license, Fed ID as you mentioned, and if you are shipping between countries then the shipper has to properly fill out the export documentation. I haven't had to do that in a while, but I do believe that SIC Codes are required on the shipping documents. Let me know if you don't know what those are or if you need more information. I will share with you what I know.