How to Get the Best Retailers to Stock Your Brand: Part 2

In the first segment of our How to Get the Best Retailers to Stock Your Brandwe delved into the mindset of seasoned buyers such as Sarah Andelman from colette, Chris Gibbs of Union, Dean Walker from END, Deon Point from Concepts and Fabiano Amorim from Bodega. We looked at their workflow to get a sense of what they're looking for in new brands and how fledging labels in the digital age can get their attention. Building on from that, it is imperative that we investigate the more intricate details such as wholesale strategy and what makes your products more attractive.

In an ideal world, both the brand and the retailer has the decision to stock or be stocked, however, with so much competition out there, it makes it almost impossible for this to come true. Therefore, it is up to you to make your brand as attractive as possible, either through your wholesale pricing, marketing or even social media presence. At the end of the day, what is probably the most important lesson is to understand that great product sells itself. Does it have a story behind it? How is it different to what another brand is producing?

Read on below to understand what it takes to get the most prestigious retailers to stock your brand in this day and age.



What do you look for when deciding whether to stock a particular brand?

Sarah Andelman (colette)

Something different, something I don’t have yet, something unique and original.

Chris Gibbs (Union)

We have a number of brands/designers that we have been offering for a while... some for 10-plus years. Therefore, I have the guys I go to when I want 5-pocket denim or an M65 or what have you... so if you're a new designer and you are offering another 5-pocket jean, chances are we already have that covered. Are you doing it in a new way though?

Deon Point (Concepts)

I want to see how well they are managing their brand. I also take into account the Concepts voice. The store has a certain aesthetic and tells a story through what we merchandise. We want to find brands that have that voice.

Dean Walker (END)

First off, does it fit with END’s brand profile architecture? Then, it is down to quality, hype, price.

Fabiano Amorim (Bodega)

Does the brand fill a particular need? Does anyone (including myself) care about the brand? Is their attention to detail down to each stitch? We also consider what the long term potential of the brand is -- that usually boils down to the creative and business team behind it. Can the brand grow? Are they innovating and offering a fresh perspective?



What's more important, a brand's aesthetics or designs?

Sarah Andelman (colette)

The product itself.

Chris Gibbs (Union)

Do you have an interesting perspective on things in a way that we are currently offering things? Even if the gear is the same as other brands, do you at least have an interesting story to tell, where it's not so much about the gear but more about the story behind the gear? That's what gets our attention.

Deon Point (Concepts)

I think both but if I had to pick one, it's designs. Good product can always stand alone.

Dean Walker (END)

I would say they are of equal importance. Aesthetics are subjective, collections can be bought in several ways as each buyer could buy a brand to match their own businesses aesthetics. Designs are how the designer wants to convey their vision and creativeness to the consumer, which is hugely important as that gives a brand its DNA. So while representing the designers'/brands' vision, you have to tailor the buy to the profile of the store.

Fabiano Amorim (Bodega)

For a brand to last more than a season or two, the brand's aesthetics need be solidified in those first designs. Look at how Cav Empt rolled out its graphics in that first season -- you immediately saw the vision in each design, and they're able to carry that through each season on relevant silhouettes. When individual designs are strong enough and cohesive with the rest of the range, a brand's aesthetics ring clearly. In fashion, there's no longer a singular design or product that you can build your empire around. Fast fashion and competitors will knock it off and the nature of trends will kill it. Brands have to build for the long haul.



At the end of the day it's a business, how much is down to wholesale prices when considering what to stock?

Sarah Andelman (colette)

Our quantities are totally dependent on wholesale prices.

Chris Gibbs (Union)

Prices are definitely relative. Not everyone can afford expensive shit so we try and find a balance of offerings from a price-point perspective. That said, we are a specialty boutique and that means we are in the business of offering up unique things. There is often an additional cost for this. In the end, I typically try and look at things more from a value perspective. I look at the deign, the provenance, the fabric, the designer, the price, and try and find good values.

Deon Point (Concepts)

In a perfect world, we’d sell everything at full retail price; this isn’t the case obviously. If a wholesale price gives us room to mark down product at the end of a season, it's definitely a plus.

Dean Walker (END)

It’s important as a business that a brand sets wholesale and a RRP which gives the retailer a good profit margin. RRPs are becoming more important as it’s easier to purchase from another country's markets where products can be cheaper, so to maintain a level market, RRPs need to be kept parallel.

Fabiano Amorim (Bodega)

Brands with good margins and favorable terms are great motivators for buyers to try out new brands. Sometimes, people really stand behind their product and will offer it to you on consignment. You also want to keep favorable exchange rates in mind when bringing in slow jams from overseas.



What's the quantity a new brand should expect to be ordered when they're just starting out?

Sarah Andelman (colette)

We don't have any specific rules but we often do a test first.

Chris Gibbs (Union)

It's impossible to say as there are too many variables that come into play.

Deon Point (Concepts)

It varies on the size of the business doing the purchasing but small brands willing to let retailers get a taste of their product through small batch ordering is definitely helpful.

Dean Walker (END)

I don’t think a brand can put a number on what size order to expect as this is so varied from business to business. Buyers will have different opinions and limitations on what can be spent on a new brand.

Fabiano Amorim (Bodega)

If the buyer reaches out to you, they're sweating you so it could be a full size run of every colorway of every style you offer for every one of their retail doors. If you had to cold call and beg the buyer, then expect them to order sticks or below minimum.

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