How to connect with buyers
If you do decide to go down the wholesales route, you will need to be able to connect with the buyers who are responsible for deciding what products are stocked in that shop.
However, it is super competitive. At any given time, there is an innumerable number of brands competing to get the attention of retail buyers. You have to really stand out. Not only do you need to have a great product, strong branding, photographed well, strong communications, the right price points but you’ll need to think about how else you can garner a positive response.
Visit in person
Before you approach buyers about stocking your products, you should try to understand as much as you can about the shop. What does it look like? Where is it? Who are their customers? Where is it located? What price points do they offer? What does their marketing and communications look like? Who is the owner? Who is the buyer? What other types of products do they stock? Does their shop stock other sustainably made brands? What sustainability issues do you think they would be interested in hearing about? If you can visit their shop or office in person, a personal introduction is so much more powerful than cold calls or faceless emails.
Send them something interesting
Buyers get fashion brands contacting them via email and sending them their look books everyday. What is so special about your brand and products? Get creative. Grab their attention by sending them something unique. Make sure it aligns with your brand story and values so that it makes your business stick in their memory. For example, if your collection features a great floral print send a bouquet of flowers that look similar to your print to the shop you wish your products to be sold in.
The typical way that many brands and retail buyers connect is through physical trade shows like Pure London, Capsule in New York City, SEEK in Berlin and sustainability focused ones like The Green Shows in New York and Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin.
Online retail buying platforms
There are several new digital platforms that are helping brands and retail buyers to connect in the way a tradeshow would but without having to travel and exhibit in a physical space. Check out websites like JOOR, Brandboom and SOURCE Brand Preview, which is focused on showcasing brands working in a sustainable way.
A lot of buyers find brands they love and want to stock through social media, especially Instagram because it is such a visual way to represent your brand. This is another reason why having great brand and product imagery is so important. Follow the shops you want to stock your products on social media. Comment on their posts, engage with their content in a positive way. You don’t need to engage with everything but make your existence known. On Instagram and Twitter, use hashtags that you think might help buyers stumble upon your brand.
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