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Where to Find Suppliers for your Fashion Business

As we discussed in previous posts here on the START by WGSN blog (click here to read them!), the first step (before starting your search for suppliers) is to clearly and objectively list what exactly you are looking for. For this, the ideal is to have a good product mix planning - a broad view of which pieces and models will represent your next collection (and in what percentages). Organizing and outlining internal processes are the watchwords before looking for suppliers.


(Image: Canva Pro)

Having done a good planning and already knowing clearly what you need, the next step, which can be quite challenging for entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey, is finally the search for suppliers that can serve your fashion company. Below we list some of the most effective ways:


1) ONLINE RESEARCH

An in-depth online search is important. But beware: searching for suppliers doesn't just mean Google what you're looking for and check just the first page. To find good suppliers, you must research as much as you can, with attention and dedication.

Many vendors have very traditional businesses and don't pay attention to marketing; some even produce a professional website. This means they are not highlighted by Google, which is exactly why you should keep searching. You're likely to find many pages from vendors with an amateur or "outdated" aesthetic avoid judging at this point and make the effort to get in touch.

Also, try to change the words you use when searching. Instead of just putting "supplier + product name", search for similar words like "dealer", "distributor", "wholesale". Add the city or state where you live to make the process easier.

The tip is to identify suppliers you are interested in and then go looking for information about them. Search for their reputation, if they have reports from other customers, call them to find out relevant details such as price, delivery and deadline, or set up a meeting. Try to interact with them to see how they serve customers.


(Image: Canva Pro)

2) FAIRS OF YOUR MARKET NICHE

​​This is one of the best ways to find reliable suppliers. In addition to the knowledge you acquire through lectures and workshops, for example, it is possible to interact with potential partners and learn about the products they offer. Pay attention to all types of events in your segment and participate in those that are viable, as this is a great opportunity to meet other professionals and negotiate in person. Fairs and events are great places for you to network either with suppliers or other entrepreneurs.

3) ONLINE PORTALS

Search catalogs on websites specialized in your business segment. From time to time, companies provide catalogs of their products. Keeping an eye on this is a great step towards finding good suppliers. Also pay attention to the websites and social networks of specialized fairs. Websites typically provide information about companies that have appeared in previous editions. On the other hand, social networks, in addition to providing this information, can be followed by good providers, presenting an interesting source for research.

(Image: Canva Pro)

4) INDUSTRY-RELATED ORGANIZATIONS

Get in touch with associations or federations related to the fashion industry. These organizations usually have relationships with many companies in each region, which can shorten your path to fabric, trim and packaging suppliers and help facilitate in structuring your mix of partners.

5) START BY WGSN SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY

START by WGSN's Supplier Directory is a small fashion businesses exclusive guide with companies (segmented by country and updated weekly) that supply fabrics, trims, packaging and more in minimal viable quantities to optimize your sourcing process.

The resource is one of the most accessed tools by subscribers on our platform. Click here, become a subscriber to the platform and explore various tools to optimize your fashion business!




Click here to read more posts on the START by WGSN blog about trends and strategies for the fashion business. Subscribe to START by WGSN and use our exclusive tools to create and boost your fashion business.


Starting a fashion brand? Click here to join us in a free trial and explore our platform, especially developed for small brands and fashion entrepreneurs.

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