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I designed and printed a line of tshirts which I am selling online. I want to put them in some retail outlets and decided to go look for a sales rep. I'm in Socal so I went to LA's fashion district's California Mart building and The New Mart to meet some sales reps.

I was a little surprised about my experienced. At the Calfornia Mart, most of the building was empty, and the few sales reps I did meet wanted extremely low wholesale prices: $3, $4/unit. My prices are more than that just for the blanks and I need to factor in profit, so we're about double that at least.

The New Mart on the other hand had sales reps mostly dealing with high end shirts - $16-$30 wholesale. They didn't like that I was using blanks as opposed to cut&sew.
Well, I'm not ready for high end fashion cut & sew specialty manufactured blanks.

So end of the day, I walked around a lot, talked to some people, but found myself at a weird limbo... Too pricey to sell at large retailers that carry tens of thousands of $8 tees, not fine enough to sell at premium stores (Fred Segal, Kitson, etc) where shirts go for $60+ retail.

Where my stuff belongs is where most of the "quality" shirts I do see - graphic tees printed on good quality blanks like American Apparel, priced around $20-26 retail.

I'd like to get into PacSun, Tilly's, or Urban Outfitters.

Should I just go at it alone by trying to find buyers and emailing them line sheets?
Is there a better way to find a sales rep matched to my market segment?
 

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It is important to remember that you determine the price point and profitability when you buy the t-shirts. If you pay too much to the t-shirts you cannot change the profit picture much afterward.
Give you an example: I recently had an order that required 5,000 colored t-shirts. I called several regular suppliers and asked them what my pricing would be buying that quantity. It works the same when you are ordering larger quantities but further price reductions stall out around 50,000 shirts...less than 5K and chances of large order pricing is unpredictable.
Call several suppliers with the same proposal. Tell them you must buy the shirts and you would prefer buying them from them.
I know some large national suppliers pay their inside sales people a commission so they have an incentive to get your order by offering the best pricing.
If I want to use a particular supplier but have better pricing elsewhere I call them back with that better price and give them the opportunity to beat my best price. Often you will be pleasantly surprised. Always order enough to get free freight too.
 

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I need to start thinking about taking on some out of the area reps for our custom wholesale printing, and maybe our brands. What is the average %age and responsibility arrangement for small to medium screen printing shops lately.
 
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