1. Have a list of stores that you want to approach. Then create a spreadsheet and do the research to get the information of 350 buyers from independent boutiques and high-end department stores including Barney's, Farfetch, Moda Operandi, Revolve, Everything But Water, Jessie, Planet Blue, Standard, Vida Soleil, whichincludes their name, email, title, phone, mailing address, and company website.
2. NEVER email on a Monday unless you want your email to be deleted immediately. Best days to email buyers are Tuesday through Thursdays after 10am.
3. Follow the KISS Rule: Keep It Simple Sweety - Remember you don't want to waste the buyers time or they will lose interest. An email with a short introduction of the brand and a line sheet that includes images, dimensions, wholesale price, style number, product description, and why it is compelling.
4. Don't be a cheapskate! If you're serious about working with this buyer then suggest providing a sample. If you need it shipped back, you should pay for shipping there and provide a shipping label to return it. Alternatively just ship it complimentary for the buyer to keep for consideration and if they carry the item moving forward, it will usually get put it into stock.
5. Be prepared to hear NO. It's not fun and it can hurt one's feelings but you have to remember that its business. There are an infinite amount of reasons why they said no (but some specific ones about why they could have said yes which we hit on below.) If they decide they are not interested in the product. Most buyers are quite appreciative of the time and effort you took to send the sample and they will get it back to you. Sometimes they will even reach out with a call or email to explain the reason for their decision or offer a different retailer as an alternative.
6. "Be" the buyer. Familiarize yourself with the product the store already sells to understand if your brand would be a good match. The responsibility of a buyer is to establish a strong assortment that’s compelling, new, and fresh, according to open to buy guidelines and seasonal deadlines and requirements.
One major reason buyers decide to move forward with a brand is merchandise flow which is determined by asking...
- does this look like anything else?
- will it cannibalize anything else?
- is this a great addition?
- do I believe in it?
Other reasons for deciding to bring in a new brand right away are as simple as that business is strong and the store needs more merchandise or they are looking for new seasonal products, and if it's compelling and it hangs with other brands in the inventory mix they would absolutely want to lock it down.
7. Be knowledgeable about your brand, your production, and your deliverables. Don't hem and haw! Have real verifiable answers. Buyers want to know:
- Are your products reorderable?
- How long will they take to get?
8. Be retail-ready. Make sure your brand is "branded." This includes hang tags, custom poly bags or packaging, printed tags, etc. And don't forget your social media - in this day and age your instagram or website speak volumes about who you are as a company. You need to look put-together in order to be taken seriously by retail stores. Its good to keep in mind that those who pay extra attention to these little details are the ones that stand out and are successful.
9. Buyers want you to understand and to be transparent on pricing and terms. Over and over we hear from buyers that the most critical point is that new brands need to understand is when you can deliver, and how much your product costs. Ask yourself:
- How do I require getting paid?
- Can I do Net 30 payment?
- Or do I require COD because I'm just getting established?
HINT - Buyers prefer Net 30. If you can't do that chances are they are not going to be able to work with you. Your best bet is to try and incentivize them with a discount. The amount the discount is something you would negotiate depending on the strength of the order.
10. Guarantee success. Tell buyers you'll guarantee sales—it is no risk for them by letting you utilize your influencer marketing and PR efforts to push sales to the store. When you get an editorial or influencer mention, send sales (i.e. 'where to buy' credit) to one store, the next time let it go to the second, etc. It's important to build that buzz/confidence with retailers so they, in turn, invest in you by pushing the product themselves.
11. Let us save you some time so you can get to doing what you do best. Taking care of your business and selling your products. Our list of verified and quality buyers includes independent boutiques and high-end department stores including Barney's, Farfetch, Moda Operandi, Revolve, Everything But Water, Jessie, Planet Blue, Standard, Vida Soleil, and 340 more.