Online sellers and brick-and-mortar boutiques alike face the pressure of ever changing fashion purchasing channels. Amazon, a now leader in apparel, makes building a fashion brand and a feasible business strategy no simple undertaking.
Fashion retailers must figure out the best approach to source apparel products in an affordable and quality way that enables fast sales and encourages repeat customers. That’s a task easier said than done and often brings brands to a crossroads of opting for wholesale bulk apparel sourcing or manufacturing private label clothing.
What is wholesale apparel sourcing?
Wholesalers sell clothing in bulk to brands at a lower price than what a store will charge at retail. Buying store merchandise from wholesalers allows up and coming retailers to then sell established fashion products at their own retail markup.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wholesale Apparel Sourcing
Sourcing through wholesalers allows boutique owners to purchase large amounts of clothing for a very affordable price. Young brands often do not have the capital to purchase directly from extremely high quality manufacturers which is why buying cheaper products at wholesale cost works well for them. However, there is a catch to these affordable bulk orders. Wholesalers often have very high minimum orders which means a that retailers must order a certain amount of pieces at one time. The low prices of each piece add up very quickly when that store is forced to order a large amount. Also, if a piece does not sell as well as anticipated, the option of returning unsold merchandise to the wholesaler is rarely an option at all. If it is, the fees of returning run extremely high.
Many wholesalers have catalogs that retailers can look through to see the most popular designs at a given time. Often, working with wholesalers is the fastest option for apparel sourcing since store owners can simply order from the catalog and receive the order in a few short weeks. While this certainly makes the design and ordering process easier, this is also the reason that many boutiques sell the exact same pieces. Shoppers will no longer give you the brand loyalty you desire since they can simply find a similar, if not identical, piece in another store or on Amazon for perhaps a better price. The timeliness of ordering also calls into question the quality of the pieces.
What is private label clothing?
Sourcing private label clothing requires you to work directly with a fashion manufacturer rather than a third party mediator, like wholesaler. While a known manufacturer might produce the actual clothing, the label on the piece will be your unique boutique brand.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Sourcing Private Label Clothing
Selling private label clothing gives you the chance to offer pieces that stand out and are unique to your store or online shop. Ordering directly from the manufacturer requires a unique design to create a unique product. While designing your own pieces can present a challenge, it ensures that customers will not be able to purchase look-a-likes anywhere they go. This builds brand loyalty as well as reputation. All of the clothing will have your brand’s name on it, which many stores can not compare to.
Sourcing private label clothing also solves the problem of high-quantity orders. Private label ordering allows you to choose your quantity of pieces if you use the best resources. These lower quantity, direct from the manufacturer, orders ensure better affordability for your brand as well as higher quality. Private label even opens up the possibility for you to work with clothing manufacturers creating products for high-value luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, and Versace. Your brand could have the high esteem of a made in Italy product without the risk of having purchased more inventory than you can sell.
Perhaps the most enticing benefit of sourcing private label is that you will have 100% control of the products. The time it takes to design, order, and receive a piece may be longer than when you source wholesale but in the end the payoff is worth it. You control the design, the labels, and in turn where your customers shop since these pieces will be unique to your store.
Get started on your brand’s future today by taking steps to make the brand your own. Tell us your success stories in the comments!