Some of the most common questions people who just started their online clothing business or any e-commerce store are –
“How should I find the best wholesale clothing suppliers and vendors?”
“Do I need to purchase items from wholesale?”
“Should I opt for drop shipping or should I directly contact the manufacturer?”
If you’re reading this post, then chances are, you are one of those business owners who is looking to start an online clothing store. Today we’re going to tackle those questions and get you the answers you need. We will also cover some tips on how to search for suitable wholesalers.
Are you ready?
Before we go, it is important for you to have knowledge about product sourcing.
What is Product sourcing?
Basically, when we talk about product sourcing, it involves the process of obtaining products to sell on the business’s online store. There are several options that most sellers use to source their product including custom manufacturing (DIY), print on demand, drop shipping, or wholesale. Let’s take a closer look at each one of them:
Custom Manufacturing or DIY
Thousands of years ago, the idea of crafting products on your own has been there. As of today, sellers have now wider options to promote their handmade products to various customers – all thanks to the internet. However, to get the most out of this method, you should take considerations of these following perks and pitfalls:
In this method, sellers have the full control over their brand and typically comes with low start-up costs. So, you would want to make sure about how will you scale and grow your brand over the time in order to be at the top of your competitors.
The fact that you’re manufacturing your own products in one of the major setback of DIY-ing the source of your products. For example, if you’re owning an online clothing store, you will most likely to fund different materials such as sewing machine, fabrics, threads, and so on.
Hiring a Dropshipper
Most businesses today use this method to source their products that they sell online. Dropshipping involves the process of purchasing items from a vendor and list their products on the store online. This simply means that the vendors would demand payment for your products once they are sold and ships the orders on your behalf typically. This method can also come with pitfalls and perks, here are some of them:
Dropshipping requires no inventory, fulfillment, or packaging which usually gives the sellers a lower profit margin.
The only catch is that, you’ll typically have more competition as all of the products that are offered by dropshippers are widely available on the internet. This means that people will have more options on where to purchase the same exact product.
Working with wholesaler or manufacturer
Hiring a wholesaler or manufacturer can basically mean hiring a partner for your product development, sourcing, and distribution. This method could be great for business owners who don’t have the proper training to make their own products like clothes.
Here are some of its perks and pitfalls:
In this method, it will give the sellers a wide variety of options to create a unique idea or products while keeping their competitiveness at the top. This could be great for having full control over your brand, product quality, and production assistance.
The only major pitfall of using this method is that you may need to heavily invest in the upfront.
And speaking of wholesale and vendors, there are two major types of wholesalers that you could choose from to source your items you sell online. The domestic and overseas wholesale – let’s take a closer look at each of them:
Overseas manufacturing and wholesale typically come with low manufacturing costs but unfortunately, this could yield to lower labor standards and even lower product quality. This method could also come with a longer shipping time as the items are located overseas.
Because of the fact that the wholesalers are located domestically, sourcing your products using domestic wholesale will significantly shorten the shipping time. The communication between the wholesaler and the business owners will be also made easier as there will be no language barrier during each transaction. All of these advantages would mean that there are fewer mistakes and errors while increasing the manufactured quality.
However, just like the aforementioned methods, domestic wholesale could also have disadvantages. This could include higher costs and a limited amount of the products customer could choose from.
How to search right wholesale supplier for online store
So, now we’ve come down on how to find or search for the suitable and best wholesale clothing vendors and suppliers. Keep in mind that finding a wholesale supplier will be much easier if you already know exactly which and what products you’re going to need. Let’s say, you already have decided the product you want to sell online – here are some essential tips on who to search suitable wholesale suppliers for your business.
#1: Distribution Channels in your industry
Having a comprehensive understanding of your industry’s distribution channels will help you find the right wholesale supplier for your online clothing store or any e-commerce business. Some types of wholesalers include:
As we mentioned earlier, sourcing your product directly from a manufacturing company is one way to easily obtain products that you sell online. This is common for most online boutique or clothing stores as they buy small manufacturers or sometimes on one person.
- Exclusive distributor or Importer:
Depend on what industry your business may fall, a company might have the power and rights to distribute and improve a product in a certain country. Some of them might directly sell to the retailers but they typically sell or set up to smaller wholesalers locally.
- Regional Distributors or Wholesaler:
They the one that typically delivers boxcar-sized of products which are distributed to the local wholesalers.
Each of these distribution channels works in different ways from the volume of the product distribution to pricing. So, before deciding to choose any type of wholesalers that are listed above, you should consider first start smaller wholesalers.
#2: The power of the Internet
Of course, one of the best and easiest way to find a right wholesaler for sourcing your product for your online store is using the internet. Google searching could be your preliminary step to get more specific about the product or items you’re looking for. This doesn’t require comprehensive technical skills, just type in words like “distributor” or “wholesale” with additional keywords from your niche and wait for the results.
A well SEO developed website should appear on the landing page of Google but it doesn’t automatically means that they are the “one”. If the company that you’re looking for is quite promising, you should start to do some research about them and try to give them a call. Keep in mind that real company will be available during their business hours.
#3: Manufacturer’s recommendation
When finding the right wholesaler for your online clothing business, you may need to take a list of the different wholesale supplier and distributors from the manufacturer. Make sure that you’re both connected with each other. In this way, you will know what you’re looking for as they can give you necessary information about a certain product.
This includes the wholesale unit prices and minimum requirements of the order. So, try to be transparent and honest when contacting them. Make sure that your emails are concise, straight-forward, and speaks in a friendly manner in order to get the best response.
#4: Major B2B marketplaces
B2B marketplaces are where people bulk of items from different wholesale suppliers directly. You could start on Major B2B marketplace like Alibaba.com which has thousands of wholesale distributors and importers from USA (Global Sources and Buyer Zone), Hong Kong (Busy Trade), and Korea (EC21 and EC Plaza).
#5: Wholesale lots on eBay
As mentioned earlier, the internet is the major resource for anything that you’ve been looking for. For example, eBay can present you thousands of small retailers or wholesalers that could sell your product on the website. However, since eBay specifically targets retail consumers, the options for wholesale are typically suitable for a minimum or limited volume of retailers.
This could be a great option for that business owner who just started into e-commerce.
#6: Wholesale Central
One of the biggest and oldest directories where you can find wholesale suppliers as well dropship distributors is the Wholesale Central. This website is completely free to access and it could be beneficial for those people just started on the e-commerce business and with a limited budget. However, since Wholesale Central is free, the accuracies could be low as it is rarely being updated.
Some companies that are listed on the web might not be in operation. So, don’t expect a fast reply from the company you’re trying to source your products from. Still, Wholesale Central could have gems that are hidden and worth a look.
#7: Join several Forums, Groups, or other Professional networks
For some retailers, it could be a bad move to share the supplier information with other competitors. This is the main reason why small online business should expand their professional networks as possible. In this way, you could find the right and suitable wholesale suppliers to source the products that you sell on your online clothing store.
You can start building relationships with different insiders in your industry by participating in online discussions, forums, creating an account on professional media sites like LinkedIn, subscribing to several newsletters, and so on.
#8: Subscription to the local trade publications
In order to search the right wholesale clothing vendors and suppliers for your online store, you might need to consider acquiring newsletters or magazine which target different retailers in your industry. The chances are, more advertisers could be from different distributing or manufacturing company who are looking for small business owners – like you. Ads from online blogs, newsletters, forums, or any sources that are available will give you wide options to help you find what you’re really looking for.
#9: Trade Shows
In terms of building and growing a strong business, attending different trade shows in your locality will surely help you on your way to success. These events could be beneficial for business owners as they can have the chance to personally talk with the wholesale supplier, manufacturers, and distributors. It is the best way to avoid any inaccurate information that is posted online.
You could find available trade shows at tsnn.com – this is the largest directory for searching trade shows all around the world.
In order to be smart when choosing the wholesale suppliers, you need to make sure to look for wholesalers that sell products in packs, requires a proper business license, or one that requires a minimum product to purchase. Before making your first purchase, aforementioned, you need to contact the wholesaler first via email or call. In addition to all of that, never skip the legal stuff. Always make sure the wholesale supplier is legitimate, legally licensed, and properly documented. In this way, you can avoid any frauds that could a contributing factor for financial loss.
Once you found that right and suitable wholesale clothing vendors and suppliers that could source your products for your online store, you can now ask for the agreement. Ask about the return policies, volume discounts, as well as the order processing time. You should also be prepared for negotiating terms including the pricing, delivery schedules, minimum order quantities, and so on.
The Easier Way to Find Wholesalers
Salehoo is a well-known dropshipping marketplace that gives you access to many suppliers all at the same time. It is an online wholesale directory and forum for online traders, sellers, and traditional retailers. They have an extensive directory that you can use to find wholesalers of just about everything you can sell on the internet.
Salehoo has a comprehensive directory with over 8,000 wholesalers, drop shippers, manufacturers, and liquidators that offer anything and everything that you can resell for amazing profits. Finding a wholesaler for your boutique clothing business has never been this easy. After all, Salehoo is the most popular online selling directory on the internet today.
Click here to check it out.
Finding the right wholesale suppliers that have the right resources and with great negotiation, terms require comprehensive research and preparations. From joining online forums, discussion, or other professional networks, attending trade shows, subscribing to your industry’s trade publications or newsletters to simply searching accurate information over the internet.