Wholesale supply and distribution is a huge part of many different businesses, particularly fashion brands. Many fashion companies rely on wholesale suppliers to deliver the right trends at the right time, helping to build a portfolio of styles to stock their physical or online shop.
Some of the biggest names in fashion depend on wholesalers, with many using their wholesale supplier to bring in different brands and styles to ensure a varied product line.
Working in wholesale fashion can be exciting, allowing you to see behind the scenes of how some of the most popular brands get their hands-on seasonal styles. There are many different areas of wholesale fashion that you can get involved in; from design to sales.
Getting into the wholesale fashion
Getting a job in any area of the fashion industry can be incredibly competitive, so it’s important to make sure you have the right skills on your CV. You will likely need to be able to manage relationships with clients well, and be able to look at things creatively or analytically depending on the role you have your eye on.
In many cases, you might need some previous experience. This could be anything from work experience, internship, apprenticeship or a degree. Demonstrating some education or experience in sales, marketing, buying or merchandising can help to set you apart.
The different areas of wholesale fashion
A wholesale fashion supplier can provide a multitude of services for its customers, with each service specializing in a different area of the wholesale process.
At the very heart of everything a fashion wholesaler does is the design team. Some of the most reputable fashion wholesalers will have an in-house team of designers, whose sole purpose is to come up with new styles and designs. They are responsible for sourcing the best insights and utilizing expert knowledge to create fresh collections every season.
The designers will work with buyers and merchandisers to ensure that the products are as amazing as they can be, along with quality control processes to check the progress of each piece.
Once designs have been complete, they will be sent ready to be manufactured and brought to life. Many wholesalers will use factories around the world to partner with in order to create the designs.
Attention to detail is key, along with safety, so quality control is a very important part of this stage of the wholesale business. It is also important that the factories are compliant and accredited. The relationship between a wholesaler and a manufacturer need to be managed efficiently and with clear communication, to ensure the process of creating your designs goes smoothly.
When it comes to delivering the finished designs to customers, the sales team are there to negotiate fair prices and the right products for customers’ needs. Many fashion wholesaler suppliers will have catalogues, showrooms or online stores for clients to browse.
These resources need to kept up to date, in particular any websites associated with your wholesale services. As more business models are moving to digital, the right teams should be dedicated to working on web development and other similar roles to ensure your digital shop front is presentable and accurate.
It is also possible for fashion wholesalers to re-process the created garments in order to suit the specific needs of a brand. This can be done by re-labelling and adding the customers’ branding and design features to the clothing.
The final stage within the process of a wholesale fashion supplier is distribution, which involves getting the products delivered to the customer. This will involve partnerships with freight and transport companies, creating the final part of an efficient supply chain.
Keeping lead times as short as possible, having the right process in place with the right partners can make a huge difference.