Buying & Selling Wholesale Fashion without the Gamble
Running a retail business of any type could be considered a gamble, but buying and selling wholesale fashion means dealing with higher stakes than usual. Some retailers live for the excitement – tracking market trends and predicting what's hot 6 months in advance; vying against thousands of competitive buyers at busy trade shows to source this season's best-seller; negotiating deals with new and untested suppliers based on sales predictions; and finally placing the bet – the deposit on the carefully selected collection that will make your store the name on every customer's lips over the coming season. Sometimes the gamble pays off and stock sells out even earlier than expected making you wish you'd ordered more, sometimes you're stuck with pieces that just won't sell and you're forced to slash prices to avoid warehousing dead stock. Either way, these are the stakes that women's fashion wholesalers and retailers have accepted for decades – the “way it is” in the fashion industry.
But this outdated business model is hurting the industry more than it is helping it. Fast fashion retailers rush to create copycat looks direct from the fashion weeks within weeks or even days, and design houses are now under pressure to create extra seasons such as “pre-fall” or “resort” just to keep up with relentless demand. Tiktok and Instagram influencers create or kill off trends from one day to the next. Retailers face a constant struggle to keep up.
Customers' priorities are changing and it's increasingly difficult to predict trends as far ahead as a month in advance, let alone a whole season. Struggling stores have enough to contend with in the current climate, with the cost of living rising and consumers cutting back on their spending. Smaller independent retailers, particularly those with brick-and-mortar stores, can be forgiven for wondering how they will survive. But some larger stores like TK Maxx and Zara already have the solution that many of us are looking for. It's time for retailers to adapt to Agile Fashion.
The Agile method might sound like something used only by tech firms, but when applied to retail, it suggests a new led-by-demand way of fashion sourcing that can cut costs, reduce waste and allow retailers to safeguard their investment. The idea of Agile working can be traced back to the “Just in Time” or Lean manufacturing principles established by Toyota in the 1950's. Designed to streamline the production process, workers would constantly evaluate what worked and what didn't, adapting to changes as they happened to both save time and reduce waste. Other industries, particularly those in tech, took this method and adapted it to work for them.
What if fashion wholesalers and retailers adopted this same model? At the moment, despite much talk of sustainability and ethical production, thousands of tonnes of unsold stock still goes to landfill each year. But if fashion buyers were to source small amounts of short-order stock regularly, retailers would be able to assess the popularity and adjust future orders accordingly – a technique which implies lower initial investment and subsequently less risk. Reactive purchasing based on live trends could very well make the difference between survival and bankruptcy for some fashion businesses.
With City Goddess fashion buyers of all sizes, from major retailers to small independents, can source the latest in trending women's wholesale fashion without having to step outside their door. With a low minimum order of just £150, free shipping to selected locations, and the possibility of buying your selection in both packs and single pieces, trialling new products is now a minimum risk. Plus, with international courier shipments taking just days from order to delivery, fashion stores can update their stock the moment new trends become popular. With such high competition among fashion boutiques on the high street and online, those stores with a regularly updated stock portfolio have a unique advantage allowing them to stand out from the crowd and keep customers coming back for more.
When sourcing wholesale women's fashion it's about time retailers took the guess-work out of the equation. By purchasing short-order stock, wholesale fashion brands and buyers can now work together to build a healthier industry, both for our business and the environment. At City Goddess we believe this is the future, and we're doing everything we can to help our retail clients succeed in this competitive industry.