The 3 Secrets of Success from the Insider View of a Fabric Rep – with Jay Arbetman

Do you ever meet someone and right away you know you’re going to like them? That’s how I feel about my guest today, Jay Arbetman.

Jay is the owner of The Sourcing District, a sales agency that sells fabric, textile products, and garment production necessities to companies in industries like apparel, hospitality, event planning, and uniforms.

Jay’s the guy I call when I want to get the pulse of the industry and know the truth of who’s doing what and what’s working for them. He doesn’t name names  – because, duh, these are his customers and he loves them – and yet he;’s aleways able to explain p[atterns of success that he’s seeing and dig a little inside dirt and what’s coming NEXT.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – this is a GREAT interview and you will learn some real truths  from an industry insider and the 3 things Jay sees in ALL successful entrepreneurs.

I’m going to find out from Jay what people are doing NOW that’s working.

Have a listen…

You can also listen on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

What we talk about:

  • How department stores and big box stores have abandoned innovation and the fashion part of the business and how that’s helping independent designers.
  • How designing and selling has changed over the years.
  • Many of today’s designs product differentiation eliminates price competition.
  • Great tip about NOT “going cheap” on certain fabrics.
  • What drives potential customers to pricier products instead of the $49 special.
  • The selling avenues Jay sees that he feels are successful right now

Quotes from the podcast:

  • 03:32 – “They’ve abandoned innovation (big box department stores). They have, to a great extent, abandoned a lot of the fashion part of the business. What are they doing now? They’re trying to sell you the middle slice out of a loaf of white bread. So consequently that’s left a vacuum. And that vacuum is what independent designers, have filled.”
  • 04:42  – “They’re [independent designers] not afraid to charge what their product is worth, which should include a fair and meaningful profit. Otherwise you’re not in business. So I don’t think you want to be in the $49 dress business. You can charge what your product’s worth if you show quality.”
  • 07:58 – “Our designers are part of the message…and they also work with a little bit of soul, too. Part of their message is who they are and what they believe in. A lot of the designers that I see that are successful, yeah, they own it. I don’t want to sound too corny, but they’re true to themselves and true to what their message is.
  • 09:41 – “You know, at the end of the day, whether it was 1992 or 2019 I think that product differentiation eliminates price competition and that allows you to charge a fair price. “
  • 12:44 – “You can cheap out a bit on woven fabrics but I don’t recommend ever doing that on knits. You have to buy fine quality with knits. I have customers who wandered over to the dark side on knits and that never really works out very well.”
  • 23:57 – “So let’s look at the fashion business in general. What is it? It’s three things. There’s business, there’s a certain science to it and there’s an art to it.”
  • 14:47 – Jane: What makes a successful designer? “Everyone I work with who has a thriving business, with just a few exceptions, they’re looking for something different. They’re looking for something that they just connect with. It’s the best way for me to put it. They connect with THAT fabric.
  • 21:10 – “Sometimes I hear the words… I hear this every once in a while,  I’ve got the secret sauce that all…cause I always think, Oh no, not the secret sauce again! That’s always bad. I’ve never liked to hear that.
  • 23:57 – “Amazon is working with independent designers… Right, right. And they’ll do it well. And I still think that the indie fashion designer can put something into their product and to their marking marketing that Amazon is not going to be able to do.”
  • 32:33 – “It does take a long time. It can take some period time to really get yourself successful to where you’re really making money and doing wonderful things. And it’s very rare that somebody gets out of the box and, you know, just does fabulous right off the bat. We all encounter problems in our business. It takes time to succeed.”

Mentioned in this episode:


Thanks for listening!


P.S. If you’re a fan of the show, will you do me a favor? Take a moment to leave an honest review on iTunes. It really helps the show and I’d so appreciate it!

About My Guest, Jay Arbetman: 
Jay Arbetman is the owner of The Sourcing District, a sales agency that sells fabric, textile products and garment production necessities and before this he manufactured women’s outerwear and sportswear for 30 years. Jay knows his stuff when he’s talking about manufacturing, production, and what it takes to have a successful business. 



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