In order to secure profitable and consistent sources of quality discounted goods, it is important that one has a good grasp of how the industry works. Is is also recommended to have a local fashion broker to handle suppliers and all sourcing issues.
The term “wholesale” is here intended in a general sense meaning the purchase of fashion goods at discounted prices. In fact true wholesale technically does not really apply to the brand name fashion business, as goods are sold directly from the brand to retailers.
There are various ways to buy wholesale brand name fashion:
1)Purchase of stock, closeout and liquidations of garments from previous seasons collections.
In this case, the excess inventory is sold by the brand house directly to stock dealers in large quantities. These dealers then divide the lots and sell them to retailers or other smaller stock dealers.
These lots are the hardest to get and usually feed the top fish in the wholesale fashion business. The high minimum purchases of $ 20-30,000 keep many of the smaller buyers away though.
This type of stock applies to many casual brands (for example Diesel jeans, Replay jeans, Ck, top name suits) but rarely to top name ones such as Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Chloe, Ferragamo. These top brands infact tend to retail leftover stock directly through their own outlet stores.
2)Purchase of stock from end of season inventory.
At the end of each fashion season, there are wholesale dealers who go and clean up retail stores, hundreds of them at a time. All the goods end up in a warehouse from where they are sold to discount fashion retailers. This type of stock has high discount but lots are not very consistent (available styles sizes and colours are often limited and unpredictable) and item selection has do be done in person at the warehouse.
3)Buy current season or order next season collections through authorized retailers who have an account with the brand house.
Most fashion brands, do not wholesale, they only sell to retail dealers who have an account with them.
Some of the larger retailers when they place their orders to the brand, they place some for themselves and some extra to sell on the international market. These surplus orders are what you can profitably purchase at a good discount because by selling to foreign buyers the dealers can quickly recover cash flow.
Some dealers offer packing lists with photos for purchasing current season goods. To place orders for next season collections instead it is necessary to visit in person as photos are not usuallly circulated until season has begun.
4)Buy directly from the brand through your own account.
This is next to impossible for most as the allowed number of retailers is already saturated in most countries for famous brands.
It is often possible however to establish new accounts with less famous brands. This can be a great opportunity for profits and is the hottest trend in wholesale buying.
To establish an account with even any brand you are usually required to own “brick and mortar retail” space of a certain size in a good location. Few accounts for Internet retail are awarded.
It is advisable to resort to a local fashion broker to find and setup your new account with good brands. A good broker can recommend a choice of new brands suited to your local market and country.
When buying brand name fashion it is important to be guaranteed of authentic goods. A good broker is the best guarantee in this sense.
Generally speaking, good hints to fakes are: easy availability and low prices. Authentic brand name fashion are scarce and expensive. That is why when goods are authentic you will not find tons of them advertised nor huge discounts.
About “paperwork”: the only “paperwork” that exists for fashion stocks is the dealer’s purchase invoice. This is a confidential document and it is usually not sent but shown privately if requested. Beware of those advertising to send “full paperwork”; papers can be faked very easily with a computer.
To begin sourcing discount fashion it is best for you to contact a fashion broker who can save you time and money by pointing you immediately to the best source for you and help you with all the negotiation, payment and shipping, so that you, instead, can concentrate on selling!