How do I purchase brand-name apparel at wholesale for my online store?
March 26, 2014 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I am interested in starting an e-commerce business selling brand-name specialty apparel. How does a small reseller develop the relationships necessary to purchase brand-name goods at wholesale? Is this done by going directly to the designers or working with intermediaries?

There are a couple of smallish e-commerce sites selling many of the brands I am interested in, so I know this is possible. What I don't know is how those sites obtain their inventory.

A few of the apparel brands do have wholesale inquiry pages on their own websites, but most do not.

The research I've done thus far has led me to overseas exporter marketplace sites like alibaba and dhgate, some of which offer a few of the brands I'm looking for via China. However, I'm uncertain if the products offered there are authentic or whether the sellers are trustworthy.

So is it a matter of going directly to the apparel designers, or are there third-parties who facilitate wholesale purchases for them? How can I acquire the inventory I need as a small reseller?
posted by iamisaid to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
In the bike shop world, we mostly work with distributors for the bulk of our inventory. Some things have to go right to the manufacturer, but when that's the case, it was never really hard to find that direct contact info.
posted by advicepig at 9:45 AM on March 26, 2014

Go direct to the brands... they'll tell you if they use a distributor, lots of apparel brands are pretty cocky and don't think they need to work with online only sites anymore b/c they have there own website.... and the one's they do work with are arbitrarily grandfathered in.
posted by matimer at 10:19 AM on March 26, 2014

There are a few online marketplaces set up for this sort of thing. Check out NuOrder and Joor for starters.
posted by spilon at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2014

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