You need to pick a business model for your clothing line.
You can either:
- Sell it yourself
- Sell it wholesale to retailers only
- Or be a retailer and wholesaler of your clothing line
Sell it yourself
If you plan to sell your own line, you have the option of opening a brick-and-mortar store or an online storefront. Obtain the permits required in your area to run a retail business such as registering your business name and resale permit or sales tax permit. Such business documentation will be necessary in order to open wholesale accounts with clothing suppliers.
The next thing you need to do is find selling venues for your clothing business. The most expensive venue is a traditional, physical store. But there are also some feasible options. Have you heard of the rent free retail incubator with Downtown Winnipeg Biz? You can check that out here.
Less expensive options include mall kiosks, temporary pop-up spaces, your own e-commerce website through companies such as Shopify and Etsy, online marketplaces like Ebay, and social media websites.
Some people have success only selling their clothing brand online. If you do this, include the address for your website on your clothing labels so that customers will remember where to go to get more of your products.
Trade shows are great venues to promote and get sales leads for your clothing line. Winnipeg currently does not have a fashion trade show or fashion week. If you’d like to support a Winnipeg fashion trade show to showcase your collection along with other designers and local resources (photographers, manufacturers, fabric suppliers etc), email us here.
Sell it wholesale, to retailers only
First thing you need to do is list down the list of stores in Winnipeg that you want to sell to. Visit them and see which ones cater to the same target market you have for your clothing line. Book an appointment with the store’s buyer and bring your samples. Start with small niche stores and then build enough business to generate interest from larger ones.
You can sell to a retail store either by consignment basis or prepaid orders. Consignment means you are paid a certain percentage for every piece of clothing that is sold. It can be 60/40 or 60 percent goes to you and 40 percent goes to the store.
The challenge with selling to retailers is that their sales staff will need education about your line so they can sell and display it best. Providing a product knowledge manual that includes suggested methods to display your product and signage properly will provide for a more positive impact in the store and with the sales people.
Be a retailer or wholesaler of your own clothing line
If you’re eyeing big department stores for a retail space or selling directly to them for wholesale, you need to have a good system in place. This is because you have to fulfill bulk orders from them. You also have to be financially prepared because you would have to wait a little longer for the payment and you will have invoices from manufacturers that need to be paid.