How to take your clothing line to retail

Retailers Expect Strong Christmas Shopping Season
Credit: Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

By Meredith Corning

When it comes to selling your clothing line, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Before you ever approach a retailer or a buyer, there are crucial steps you must take in the first instance. Fashion Designers too often make mistakes by creating barriers for themselves by not taking a professional approach and by not creating a checklist that will lead them to gaining more customers through retail outlets.

Create your own checklist by following the steps below:

  1. Create a look book. By developing a signature look book with its own look and feel, you will be able to showase your work in the most professional light possible. Find a fashion photographer, make-up artist, hair stylist, and models that represent your brand. Plan out the photo shoot by preparing a vision board prior to that you can refer your photo shoot professionals to during the process.
  2. Develop a buyers packet. This is a must have. Never approach a retailer without a buyers packet. Pitching your line without selling/marketing tools will make you look like you do not know what you are doing. A buyers packet will normally include several items, an introduction letter, a company overview, a line sheet, price sheet, order form, look book, and press pieces. If you feel uncomfortable taking on this task, ask a professional for help.
  3. Form relationships with vendors and production. Finding a reputable vendor and production house to help you with large orders is something you need to work out prior to selling your line into retail. How long will it take your vendor to turn around an order? How will the order be packaged? No buyer wants to receive your shipment in pieces in an unorganized fashion.
  4. Design a sales strategy. Line up dates to attend trade shows as this is a great way to connect with potential retailers and buyers. Be sure you have an online presence including a website, social media, and a blog. Send out press releases to other fashion bloggers and journalists to write articles about your line. Arrange trunk shows. If all of these tasks seem overwhelming, consider hiring a sales representative.

While these are not all the steps involved in reaching the retail market, it will get you on the right path. Fashion designers’ dreams come true everyday by accomplishing their goal of moving their line into stores, so with a little planning and a great deal of hard work anything is possible. For professional help with any of these services use the Meredith Corning Enterprises contact form.

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