If you’re starting a clothing line, know this: Selling your line to a business is NOT the same as selling directly to consumers. Here are 3 things you need to know about selling to boutiques.
1) Boutique owners really just want to know 2 things about your line:
- How does it fit into my store?
- Can I make money from it?
Fashion designers must be clear on these two points to get a shop’s attention. They care a lot less than we’d like to think about your line philosophy and your inspiration for the season’s styles. You want to focus on filling the stores’ needs rather than telling them about yourself and how great your line is. Sad but true.
Be sure you know who your line “hangs with” and why you feel it would sell in their particular store before you approach them.
2) They hate big attachments on emails.
I could fill about 7 pages on “how to approach a store” and “how to draft a sales email for a boutique.” For now, just know this… Unless you’re already been selling to someone, the chances of them opening an attachment on your email are slim to none. Instead, include 2 pictures of your line in the email and a link to your website. They can go to your site if they’re interested.
3) Getting no response from a buyer is not the same as getting a NO.
Look, buyers get hundreds of emails a day. It’s impossible to keep up with them all. (I sold my shop 3 years ago and STILL get around 50 a day from manufacturers! No lie). If you’re starting a clothing line and you contact a store and don’t hear back from them, hang in there. Keep trying until someone tells you NO THANKS. Be nice, respectful, and persistent. Try contacting them different ways – email, phone, and snail mail. Use all three options and see what gets the best response. Don’t overlook the good ol’ postal service. So many vendors use email these days that you might have a better chance of standing out if you mail something.
Want more information about getting your clothing or accessories into retail stores? We have a course for that! Check out “How to Sell Your Line to Boutiques” here: https://fashionbrainacademy.com/blog/e-learning/bootcamps/
Your readers may find this of interest if pitching buyers via email:
There’s a three part series on “who do you hang with?” I’d leave links but then this would probably bounce. Here’s the last one, it has links to the previous entries:
Thanks, Kathleen. great info.