Wholesale apparel trade shows, also known as apparel markets, are one of the very best places for boutique owners to find wholesale clothing for their shops.
I had owned my boutique for over a year by the time I finally got around to attending my first apparel market! I highly recommend you attend an apparel trade show much sooner than I did!
I have some tips for you to slay your first apparel market!
My first tip is to prepare ahead of time. Whether you are attending the biggest apparel trade show (Atlanta) or a smaller local one, you will totally get overwhelmed by ALL THE PRETTY THINGS!
Having a plan will help you stay on track and not get overwhelmed.
- Having your credentials all in once place
- Looking at the vendor list on the site ahead of time and making a list of who you want to see
- Writing down your season’s “must have” list of what you’re shopping for
- Having a budget ahead of time and sticking to it
- Wearing comfy shoes (I must have walked miles everyday!), bringing a notebook or laptop for notetaking, and bringing an empty suitcase for your new inventory.
Let’s talk about the questions you want to ask each vendor when you see product you LOVE at a price point that works for your boutique.
- Do you offer immediates? (This means you aren’t pre-ordering from the vendor, they ship as soon as you order.)
- What’s your minimum order amount?
- Do I have to buy in packs? If so, are they 2-2-2- only, or do you offer different splits?
- How often do new styles come out?
- Do you offer zip code protection? (This means nobody else in a certain distance range can sell product from the same vendor)
- What sorts of discounts do you offer, and how often?
Don’t forget to be writing all of this down! It can get a little blurry in your brain after asking these same questions dozens of times a day for several days!
Have a list of your “must haves,” “really wants” and “would be awesome” items.
Set a budget, and SHOP AROUND!
Lots of vendors have similar items, so bring a notebook with dividers or file folders, and take notes on day 1 when you see something from your list. Here are some notes to make sure you record.
- What are the vendors minimums?
- Is there cash and carry for you to buy RIGHT NOW?
- Do they offer immediates, or pre-orders?
- And of course, write yourself a detailed description of the item and price point so you can come back.
Wholesale apparel trade shows can seem overwhelming, but it’s invaluable for you to be able to chat with the owners or representatives, touch the clothing, and even save money on cash and carry product.
Are you starting your own boutique? Come join my FREE Facebook group to get business tips and marketing help with other boutique owners!
Don’t have time to attend an apparel market? Don’t worry, I created some eBooks of my favorite vendors from my most recent trip to the Atlanta Apparel Market for you to use!