Finding buyers for your fashion collection is a grueling process that requires time, patience, and strategy. The fashion world is a close-knit, fast-paced, demanding community. To keep up, it's important to maintain a strong, yet pleasant and professional approach during every interaction within this industry.
The intricacies of the fashion world are a very important aspect of finding buyers for your fashion brand, and learning how to use them to your advantage is crucial. As an up-and-coming designer, succeeding in getting buyers to take a risk on your work is rare. Read on to learn how to find and attract buyers for your fashion brand through trade shows, cold calling, and visiting stores in-person.
Unfortunately, you can't simply walk into a trade show where designers are showing off their lines to potential buyers. Trade shows are exclusive events made for people within the fashion industry and outside parties aren't usually allow entry. Though there are many different types and sizes of trade shows, smaller trade shows are not necessarily less likely to be successful, they may not be easier to get into, and they're just as demanding as a large show.
It is important to attend a trade show before displaying your items at one so you understand the format and flow of the shows. Attending a show also allows you to get an idea of what type of pieces buyers are interested in obtaining for their retailers. Use your time at the show to question other designers, make connections, and create a plan for your own show.
When choosing which trade show to attend, you should consider yourself as an emerging brand. Larger trade shows may not be beneficial to your cause, as many times you'll be considered less important than returning designers and you'll be placed in the back with less foot traffic and interest in your clothing. Another reason to avoid larger shows is that buyers at larger shows tend to gravitate towards designers and brands they have seen at trade shows numerous times. As a newcomer, it's important to strategize for visibility and recognition from buyers during each show.
Cold calling requires heavy research, perhaps more so than any other method. First, you must understand your brand and what sort of audience it will attract. Once you know your brand, you need to figure out who your competitors would be. Then, you can try to find the retailers that sell your competitors and research stores that you believe your collection would do well in. Even with all of this information, you still have to find the buyers for the right stores and figure out which one would most likely be interested in your collection.
Every buyer is different. Each has a certain way of working through a collection, examining a new designer, and deciding which pieces to purchase. It's important to be mindful of how they wish to proceed when trying to show them your collection.
Many buyers prefer physical mail, rather than an email or phone calls, while others hate to be contacted through their cellphone. One rule of thumb is to introduce yourself and ask permission before sending samples or pieces of your collection. Most buyers don't appreciate receiving unsolicited items from you. Connect with a potential buyer beforehand and try to schedule a face to face meeting if possible.
This method is for the brave and the extroverted. Going into a store in-person that you think may benefit from holding your collection ensures that the buyer, along with any other store representatives, are present.
When you make a physical appearance in a store the buyer will meet you on a much more personal level than at a trade show or through an email. They can dedicate much more time towards examining your collection and you will not immediately be compared to countless other designers and brands.
When you enter a store, you'll need to be extremely prepared for any questions a buyer may have. They might want to know your desired price point, production costs, materials, or design process right away. You'll also need to tailor your pitch to each store and each buyer to ensure that they see exactly what your clothing can bring to their company. You have to do a lot of research and personalization in order to attract a buyer enough to purchase a piece from your collection.
New brands must always go above and beyond to attract new buyers to their collection. You need to compete with familiar, well-established designers, as well as other emerging brands that may have similar strategies or collections. Using this guide, consistently reevaluate your selling strategies to ensure you're presenting yourself and your brand in the best possible light.
Melanie Winograd is a personal stylist and a freelance fashion writer from Los Angeles, California. With over 15 years of professional experience in the fashion industry, she has worked with many private clients and businesses, including District Clothing , to provide her insights into which styles and pieces are trending and fashionable. Apart from her heavy involvement with fashion, she is passionate about yoga, gardening, and sailing.