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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all

I'm trying to decide what seems the best strategy to get tee business going.

For maternity tees and infant/toddler tees, does it make more sense to try to wholesale to stores/retailers right out the gate? Or, does it make more sense to go direct-to-consumer and set up an ecommerce site? Or, is a mixture of both the way to go?

Also, what's the best strategy to get into retail space if you can't afford to attend the tradeshow circuit, contacting the stores directly? Or, do you have to get an independent sales rep.; if so, what is the process to get a sales rep and how much does that cost or what is the industry norm in terms of commission structure?


Sorry :eek: I know I'm asking a lot, but I would love to hear what has worked for folks on the forum. I definitely could use all of your insight.

A thousand thanks in advance.
 

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Hi, no your asking the right questions. attending the trade show is ok, if your a buyer. Trade shows are for selling to the retail trade. You are most often not allowed to show your stuff to anyone unless you have a booth. They cost hundreds to thousands depending on the show. You can contact reps to show your product but unless you have a very unique product it is hard to get a rep especially for tees. There are an abundant of companies that show their lines. Wholesale pricing is really low for most. The reps do not make a lot of commission selling low cost tees. If you do get a rep be prepared to furnish them with lots of samples and share in the cost of them being there. also most retailers want terms 30, 60 and even 90 days.. so if you get a sale be prepared to spend a lot up front. Most reps do not want to sell small orders so if you got a nice size order for a large Cash outlay. And sometimes you wait to see your money. You may even have the customer want to return your product because it did not sell. This is primarily with uniques designs not so much a promotional tee. In fact I get 50% up front and 50% at delivery for those. At the last show I was at in San Francisco I walked around counting companies that were selling tees and tote bags. there was a lot of booths, in the high hundreds and I found over 100 at least selling tee shirts. Most were designs pumped out by large manufacturing companies and the prices were at what most of us pay just to put out a shirt. You can open more doors by getting away from the shows and knocking on doors as I do. I do have a rep back east and he is showing my tote bags at a show at Turning stone casino. But he will not show my tees. In fact he and his wife are also producing the show and I told them about all of you people out there that may wish to buy a booth. he said they already have too many tee shirt people. Yuck
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reality check. I thought trade shows at this point in my company's development might be cost prohibitive. Your information confirms that for me. You're right, the other approach is contact stores direct. I'll need to re-evaluate my plan and see how to combine a mixture of direct sales from my own website set-up and then maybe identify a store or two that seem like a good fit for my tees.
 

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From what I've read in these forums and from other people I've talked to in person, tradeshows can be a great way to get into retail stores and reach a lot of buyers in one place.

The more specialized the show you reach, the better your potential for getting into that perfect store (or stores). While a big show like Magic may be too much for your line, there may be smaller tradeshows geared towards maternity lines or women's clothing that may be a perfect fit and less of a cost investment than bigger apparel shows aimed at broader markets.

I don't think it would hurt to try to startup some retail sales via a website. Just make sure you don't step on your wholesalers toes.
 

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Another Idea is a Show that is not about Fashion Trade. IE if you have a product that Computer Geeks would like go to a computer show instead Each of the computer stores there might order some shirts for thier stores. (comic conventions, Christian Conventions, the list goes on especially if your T's are niched I am preparing for my first large Mens Christian Convention in october for my Purity Products I will let you know how it goes)
 
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