If you have an up-and-coming clothing line, a great way to gain exposure and legitimacy is to have it sold in stores. This gives the customer a chance to visualize your product in person, feel the material, and try it on. It has always been a goal of mine to accomplish this feat. From the experience with my own clothing line, Cannolis & Rosaries, I’d like to help others do the same. So where to start?
Once you’ve established the target market for your line it’s important to network and contact stores that sell similar products. Establishing these relationships can take some time, but be patient and meet the right people who can put you in the position to talk with these stores and establish a good report with the store managers. To expand your network, consider hiring sales reps that can help push your products and talk to other stores on your behalf.
How to Pick the Right Store:
Generate a list of stores to check out, get their contact info and try and set up a brief meeting for you to pitch your products. With C&R we took a more direct approach and hit the streets with a duffle bag full of samples and walked right in and asked to talk to store managers. Don’t be afraid to set the bar high, even if you get shut down you can find out what it takes to get your products in the store and revise your plan. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
Big time stores usually have their own buyers so be prepared to present to them. The physical presentation of your product is important, so make it unique. The financial presentation is also a must. How can you make them money? Is there a demand for your product in their area and would it be profitable for them to carry your brand?
Another route to take is finding a store within your target market that works on consignment. Which is the route we chose with a popular street wear store in Boston, MA called Laced. Under consignment you can both profit, but there is no guarantee of the sale. This is a low risk investment for both parties, but can turn into a great working relationship. We would recommend this type of store for newer brands looking to establish themselves and gain more exposure.
In addition to promoting your own line, promote for the store that carries your brand and they may do the same. Now that you’re in the store you’ve created a partnership and they want to profit from this just as much as you do. Promote any in-store events or try and set up your own. A good way to get the word out there and connect with others is through social media, i.e. Twitter and Facebook, so retweet and share!
Quality over Quantity:
With C&R we really stress the importance of the quality in our goods. The highest quality of materials, prints, and embroidery go into every product we make. This is what helped seal the deal with the store managers we were working with. They are more likely to take a chance on carrying a few high quality products than a bulk order of lower quality products. It’s an easier sell; the big volume orders will come following the success of this approach.
Research the legalities and contracts; make sure both parties are in agreement before signing anything.
This formula can equate to success in many other fields as well. Just remember to never give up. It took months before C&R was in any stores, but we hustled and never gave up on the dream. Just to see C&R in stores was an amazing accomplishment on it’s own. Keep in mind, having your products sold in stores isn’t the only route to success. There are many different outlets to sell your products, so find your niche and run with it. We hope this has helped to inspire others with similar goals.
Respect. Just Hustle.
Written By J.S.