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How To Break Into The Wholesale Fashion Business

Updated on November 6, 2009

Where To Find Fashion Merchandise Wholesale

There are more than a few people who are drawn to the industry of high fashion. Most are mesmerized by the glamor that it represents. And, just like those aspiring actors and actresses who want to see their star on the Hollywood walk of fame, the goal of the fashion designer is no less lofty.

They hope that one day their own designer fashions will be show cased by celebrities who stroll the red carpet of the Oscar Awards, or featured by runway models on the catwalk of the top fashion shows held in major cities such as New York, Los Angele's, and Paris.

Making your way to the top of the designer fashion industry can be a daunting task. Without the right connections, or unless you have a fashion design that is unique to the marketplace, you could wind up toiling in obscurity for many years before ever receiving that one break which could make your fashion line a household name.

If you are an aspiring designer, or just interesting in fashion merchandising, then there are a few things that you must do in order to increase your odds of success. Instead of trying to struggle for a position at the top of the "fashion foodchain" you must first understand how the business works my moving backwards.

One of the best experiences for anyone who desires to become a force in the fashion world is to work as a buyer. It doesn't matter if a small boutique or a large corporation employs you. Becoming a corporate buyer in fashion merchandising puts you in the forefront of the latest marketing and fashion trends.

Learning how a particular company markets their fashion merchandise is a key element in any business. Also, if you have clothing designer aspirations, then you will "meet and greet" a variable cornucopia of designers who will be flooding your office with their latest creations. All of which will be coming to you in the hope that you will carry their latest clothing line.

The marketing lessons you can extract from this experience is incredibly valuable. Take note of their marketing presentation, and what persuaded you to consider carrying their fashion items. What can you do to improve on an existing design? Who manufactures their clothing? What are the prices points?

The wealth of information available at your front door will be priceless in terms of developing your own designer fashions. In order to become a buyer however, there will be a learning curve involved. You will need some education and experience in retail fashion in order to get hired in any corporate or small business environment.

Two institutions that can help you pursue a degree in fashion merchandising are the Fashion Institute Of Technology in New York city, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Fashion Institute, as well as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, should also be able to help you find employment once you complete your course studies.

If you want to pursue jobs in the fashion industry directly, without the aid of either organization, then you can visit 24 Seven Talent ( 24 Seven Incorporated is a specialized web portal that can help you build a career in the fashion, retail, beauty, and the entertainment industry.

Another resource that you can help you with your job search, or if you just want to become familiar with the fashion industry as a whole, is a website called Infomat ( is a search engine that features over 350,000 fashion designers, showrooms, retailers, as well as world wide manufacturers of men's, women's and children's, apparel, textile and accessories.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, I really don't want to go through the time, education, and interview process that it takes for become a buyer. In addition, I am not ready to travel the bumpy and uncertain road of "designer fashion fame". You would still like to become involved in selling fashion merchandise without all of the education and prerequisites needed to break into the highest levels of the fashion world..

An alternative option is buying and selling wholesale fashion. While you will need some upfront money to get started, the investment in inventory does not reach the level of what you might have to spend for a retail operation. You can get fashion wholesale prices on relatively small orders. You can't buy one or two items of clothing, but if you are willing to buy 10 or 20 items, then that is where you will find your price break. The more you buy, the cheaper the price.

You can find wholesale fashion from companies that carry overstock and out of style clothing from jobbers and off-price apparel dealers. The Off-Price Specialist Show features wholesalers and jobbers that carry men's, women's, and children's apparel 20-70% below the original manufacturers wholesale price.

Another very important trade show for anyone who wants to become involved in the wholesale fashion industry is the Magic Show. No, this is not an event where you will find David Blaine or Criss Angel from the cable show Mind Freak. No magic tricks will be performed at this show.

The only thing that is truly magical about the event is that for a few days in the Las Vegas desert, the MAGIC show will host some of the biggest brand names in the fashion industry. The event also gives fashion designers and clothing retailers a chance to showcase their products, and for wholesale fashion suppliers to find new customers.

Complete information about both fashion trade shows can be found at their respective websites,, and If you don't have the time to find wholesale fashion suppliers by attending trade shows, then I would suggest that you subscribe to the trade magazine that the Off-Price Specialist Show provides.

You can find subscription details on their website. You can also find wholesale fashion suppliers from the Magic website, but it will take some patience. There are a lot of designers and retailers listed as well. Finding wholesale fashion suppliers can take some work, because most of the attendees are not listed specifically as wholesale suppliers.

You will have to search each company's description in order to find out who is a retailer showcasing a new product, or a wholesale supplier searching for new customers. To search their website, access their attendee information link, located at the top of their homepage. From the drop down menu, use their "exhibitor search" feature to find the product of choice.

There are more than a few wholesale fashion suppliers available to you. I can't name them all here, and you will have conduct your own research to find a niche in the marketplace. But, to get you started, if I could only suggest just one supplier of wholesale fashion merchandise it would be

They buy below wholesale fashion from Federated Stores, which owns Macy's, and Bloomingdales. purchases Macy's customers returns and shelf pulled merchandise. They also purchase overstock, cancelled orders, and out of season clothing from various manufacturers of brand name and generic clothing.

Chances are, if they do not have what you are looking for they are able to find it through their various contacts and longevity in the wholesale fashion business. Please remember one important point. Don't be surprised if some fashion lines of clothing or handbags will not be available to you through the wholesale fashion distribution chain.

There are companies such as the Louis Vuitton organization that will never let their products be sold to the secondary wholesale market. They protect their brands fiercely, and will destroy their products rather then release to an off-price dealer, clothing wholesaler, or jobber.

If you find yourself in a position where you can't find the type of wholesale fashion clothing that you want to sell, or don't have the cash to meet a wholesale suppliers minimum purchasing requirements, then just don't limit yourself to just wholesale fashion clothing. Fashion accessories like costume jewelry, earrings, and necklaces can be an additional product that is worthy of consideration.

Just stroll the shopping malls, grocery stores, or just about any public forum today, and you will find, more often that not, that most women are wearing at least one set of earrings, rings, or, at the very least, a necklace. I would also venture to guess that most of the jewelry that they adorn are not expensive diamond earrings or jewel encrusted watches.

Most women buy jewelry that speaks to their sense of style, or as a matching piece for a particular item of clothing. Other woman purchase jewelry that is visually appealing, and doesn't resemble any style of high fashion such as Tiffany or Harry Winston. Not everyone can afford that kind of luxury, and cost is not always a factor when picking out jewelry items. There are a few distinct advantages when considering a wholesale fashion jewelry business.

One being that the choices among wholesale fashion jewelry suppliers and manufacturers is immense, as well as your choices of styles and designs. Whether you choose to sell the costume variety, or pieces that are on the upside of one hundred thousand dollars, the wholesale fashion jewelry business provides more choice and greater price flexibility than just about any fashion product on the market today.

Specializing in a specific type of jewelry requires research. One place to start, at least for Costume Jewelry statistics is One report that provides is the Costume Jewelry And Novelty Manufacturing Industry In The US And It's Foreign Trade. You have to purchase it to get the full report. But, what is available online, is enough to get you up to speed about the popularity, companies, and countries that supply and import Costume Jewelry in the United States and abroad.

If you want hardcore market data about the fashion industry, then the NPD Group ( is the marketing service for you. They have a team of experts in marketing research which follows consumer spending and product popularity in the fashion industry and other products the enjoy retail popularity.

If you have an interest in the latest fashion jewelry pieces, then the Jewelry Information website ( is the place where you can find the "hottest trends" in Jewelry, Watches, and accessories. See their "hot trends" link at the top of their homepage. Another excellent resource for both fashion clothing trends, as well as jewelry, is Instyle Magazine (

Their "trends" link is also listed on the top of their homepage. To help you find suppliers in the wholesale and jewelry manufacturing trade, there are a number of organizations that can help you with both. The Hong Kong International Jewelry Show (, will give you access to Asian suppliers and manufacturers.

Here again, you may not be able to travel to the show, (Hong Kong International Jewelry Show) but their "product magazines" section will give you access to suppliers of wholesale fashion jewelry in the following categories: Antique Jewelry, Designer Collections, Diamond Jewelry Engravings, Gem-Set, Jewelry Gemstones, Gold Jewelry, Jade Jewelry, Watches, Clocks, Objets d'art, Pearls, Platinum Jewelry, Precious Stones, Semi-Precious Stones, Silver Jewelry, and Silverware.

The publications come out twice a year, and you can pick up a copy by filling out their "overseas buyers request form" from their website, you want to find wholesale fashion jewelry suppliers here in the United States, then your one stop resource for wholesale suppliers that contains a variety of jewelry items is the Jewelry Business And Watch Industry News,

Their buyers guide has over 7000 suppliers, and there are a number of wholesale jewelry suppliers that can be found through their "resources" link at the top of their homepage. Whatever fashionable product you choose to market, always make sure that you perform your due diligence, so you can find your own profitable niche in the wholesale fashion industry.


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