T-Shirt Forums banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I've got my shirt samples ready to go and now and I want to get these shirts in stores! What are my options?? Sales is not my strongest catergory so I've thought about hiring a company that specializes in selling t-shirts to stores. I have an urban style of clothing like so obviously a company that has previous experience with hip-hop related merchandise. How would I go abouts this?? The South is the place I want to target as the the main focal point (Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, Miami etc.) but also want to get them all around the US. (not going to neglect the greater whole) So my main questions are where can I find a company that does something like this? What prices should I expect? etc. any other info for my situation would be great!

Thank you very much
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
Check out this thread:

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/showthread.php?p=26449#post26449

There are companies that provide this service, but most retailers are used to dealing with a regular sales rep, and that’s what I would suggest.

Also, most companies that I have seen want to do actual marketing for you and other “services”. So they will charge a premium for these services, and want to get paid before you see any results. I would stay away from companies.

The good thing about sales reps is that they don’t get paid until after they have made the sale. And most times not until after the retailer has actually paid you. So there is no up front money out of your pocket.

Check out the thread, and if you have more questions that weren’t discussed there, let us know.

I know Lawaughn and Lou have retail experience and might be able to add a few things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,800 Posts
hey Nate,
personaly i think it's a good idea for you to get out there and pound the sidewalk some and try selling to retailers yourself as a test maket and to get a feel for what you are up against.

anyone that knows me will tell you that I sound like a broken record but i'll say it again " Create Demand ". Spend every dollar you can afford Creating Demand for your stuff... it's not easy but this will get buyers/sales agencys etc. contacting you. See where this is going ?

Around here, we have come to the conclusion that the T-Shirt biz is a lot like the Music/showbiz biz. Thanks to our illustrious leader who's family owned and operated over 150 record stores and shares with us the retail trade info... we see the common factors involved with T-Shirts and Music/Showbiz industries.

You need a hit record, 1 design to take you to the next level.... like a Vote for Pedro for example. Focus on 1 collection at a time. It is a tough market to break, but hey, you can do it you know. Good luck !
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
LucyRoberts said:
hey Nate,
personaly i think it's a good idea for you to get out there and pound the sidewalk some and try selling to retailers yourself as a test maket and to get a feel for what you are up against.
I would have to disagree. This can be accomplished without doing what you suggest. Normally, I am of the mind that the most you can do yourself, do so. But, this is an area, I think an expert would serve you much better. It is good to know your limitations, and be able to focus on what you are good at. Remember the end goal is to be successful at your business. And one has to figure out the best way to go about that.

I have pounded the pavement myself, and know that it is much easier if left to a professional sales rep.

There are certain things that they know, that it would take years for someone with absolutely no experience to learn.

Another upside is that most reps already have relationships with retailers because they sell other lines. From the retailers point of view, they would much rather deal with a sales rep that has experience, know what they are doing, is familiar with the terms and lingo used, and know exactly how things work.

The right sales rep can have you in a few stores in no time. The same stores that might tell you know, can tell your sales rep yes, just because of their relationship.

I think it's well worth it. Especially since there's no money out of your pocket up front.

Also, many use their sales reps to teach them how the business of selling to retailers works.

So I think given all of those pluses, finding a hiring a great sales rep is leaps and bounds better than figuring out all of that stuff yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,361 Posts
Most larger stores have buying agents. Contact the store manager and ask for the phone number for the buying agent and go from there.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
Sales Reps deal with the buying agents. Most large stores aren't going to want to talk to the little guy just starting out.

Again, this is why I think hiring a sales rep is so important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,800 Posts
binki said:
Most larger stores have buying agents. Contact the store manager and ask for the phone number for the buying agent and go from there.
true.

just be professional, don't contact a store when they are busy making sales, do it on the off/slow time.

----------------------------------------------------
yes sales agents in most cases already have accounts set up with re-sellers and this means that they can sell your stuff to multiple re-sellers etc..etc..etc...

but it all comes down to one thing. Will it sell ?

here is a major problem example of how a sales agent can ruin you:

lets say your sales agent lands an account with a retailer and sells 10,000 units of your stock and cleans out your overstock, this means in most cases that you will not see the Payment for at least 60 days or more.

So you get a bunch more orders and go ahead and make more product to fill the demand.

Afte 90 days the Big Order retailer did not sell your stuff, so now they hold payment and want to return the goods for credit (they do that you know).

Because you do not want to get into some legal shmeagel with this retailer because everyone will lose, you take the goods back.

Now you have a full warehouse of overstock that is hurting you cashflow so the only way out is to Clear OUT the stock.

By clearing out your stock at lower prices will help your cashflow and may be keep your bus. alive but it will hurt the relashionship you have established with your paying re-sellers and most importantly it will HURT and DE-Value your brand NAME.

....whops, better stop here, long winded. Sorry.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
No need to apologize. But with all due respect, you just made my case even stronger!

If Nate had no clue about the situation you just mentioned, this is all the more reason to hire a GOOD sales rep. Going it alone could have very well put an inexperienced person in this predicament. And this is just one example.

As I said before, hire a GOOD sales rep. A good rep would know how to avoid this situation and many other ones. They will also be able to advise on how to be successful.

If one doesn't know about net30, shrinkage, buybacks, benchmarking, etc. than can get taken advantage of in a hurry! Before you know it you have no merchandise and no money. All because you wanted to do it yourself, when you could have had the use of an expert.

I just think it's very wise, especially given that it's so cheap, but yet so important.

I'm not just saying hire the first sales rep that comes along. Like anything else in your business, you have to do your homework. But that homework is much simply than that of trying learn everything a retailer knows about selling to them.

So I say do your homework. Find successful sales reps. Get references and check them. Get a rep with experience selling your market. If done right, hiring a sales rep will be 10,000 times easier than trying it yourself. And your end goal of being in a retail store will be met with fewer complications.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
What stores do they sell to?

Are the stores in your market?

Do they take on new lines?

How successful have they been in getting new lines in stores?

How much volume do they sell?

Are they willing to work with you if you only have a small volume to sell?

Are they willing to stay with you when you start to get a large volume?

How much experience do they have?

What other lines do they sell?

Do they have any kind of reputation? Is it good or bad? Who says it’s good? Who says it’s bad? Talk with representatives of the other lines they represent. Talk with the buyers of the stores they sell to.

Obviously, I don’t suggest just picking one out of the hat. Even though sales reps are independent agents, they still represent your company.

I suggest hiring one the same way you would hire a lawyer if you were an innocent person accused of murder! Make sure you get the right one!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,800 Posts
Comin'OutSwingin said:
No need to apologize. But with all due respect, you just made my case even stronger!
what case ?

sure sales reps can bring you sales, that's their job. So will setting up a booth at trade show for example, lots of new designers do it, try it. Your carrer will not end there if you decide it's not for you.

If you want to be a designer alone and not get involved with the selling or business end of things, then get a Label to handle it all and you just hang out at your studio and do what you do....Create Designs.

Sales reps are not a quick ticket to sucess, they are only one element of the marketing/sales/distribution etc.....puzzel.

the bottom line is... will it sell ? try cafe press, and a local t-shirt store and do a test market before getting all heavy duty with reps etc.... there is nothing wrong with being newbie and starting at the bottom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,800 Posts
wow.... you peeps post like at the speed of light.

hey, the most important thing that a sales rep can offer you is a dollar amount guarantee of how much they will sell over a set term. :D

......please Rodney don't edit/snip this post. LOL
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
the bottom line is... will it sell ? try cafe press, and a local t-shirt store and do a test market before getting all heavy duty with reps etc.... there is nothing wrong with being newbie and starting at the bottom.
I think we can all agree with that :) It's just not the topic of this particular thread.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
The case that using a sales rep is light years better than trying to get your stuff in retail shops on your own.

If you have no experience you can and most likely will get taken advantage of. It is much easier to find a good rep, than it is to avoid getting taken to the cleaners by a retailer.

I don't think hiring a sales rep is getting out of the business end at all. Quite the contrary. It's just that if you get big enough, you can't do everything. And if you are small enough, you just don't know some things. There is nothing wrong with hiring someone to do something you have no clue about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Hello,
if i were you, i would do it on my own.You can start by sending your flyers to businesses that you are trying to target.Dont forget to include your information of how they can get intouch with you.This may sound simple, but it works.If they do not call you, follow up by going to the stores when they are less busy.If they like your product and think they will sell,you will get sales.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
You make it sound so simple. It seems that way, but it's not.

There can be many stores that like your designs, but WILL NOT deal with you because they know that you don't know what you're doing.

There are also retailers that will buy your stuff, and try to take advantage of you because they know you don't have a clue what you're doing. There's just to much involved, in my opinion to risk it with valuable merchandise.

It's not as simple as they like your stuff and you sell them merchandise at wholesale prices. They are not the retail customer. They will expect you to know certain things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
The "simple" ways i mentioned earlier on works good.It's working good for me an iam talking from my experience.There is no one way to sell t/shirts and it's always good to start small and grow big-in my opinion.
If you want to get into the wholesale business,that is the most eaziest way i know;expecially, if you are not selling to the big guys like departmental stores.Do not be discouraged,if the mechants like your designs and think they can sell them,you will get sales.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
I'm glad that's working for you. And you are correct, there is no "one way" to sell t-shirts.

My only point is that if you want to be successful in getting in good retail shops, your best option is to hire someone with experience. This also comes from experience.

In my search to find a quality rep, I've had numerous retail owners and buyers tell me how they easily turn away people with GREAT designs because it's just too much of a hassle to deal with them. They say that GREAT designs come along all the time, and that they don't have time to teach a newb the retail business. From their perspective, they are wasting their time dealing with this 1 person (small t-shirt guy with no experience) that is selling this 1 brand of shirt, when they can deal with another person that's selling them 4 or 5 brands and they don't have to take the time to explain to them how payments work!

Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Are you going to be able to find some retailers that like your stuff and will put it in their stores? Probably. But you also have to weigh how likely that same retailer will take advantage of you because you don't know anything about how selling to retailers works.

The funny thing about getting taken advantage of is that you don't that you're getting taken advantage of!

I'm only speaking to the fact that the "best" way is to hire a GREAT rep. You pay 15% commision. You only pay when they sell. In the meanwhile, they can teach you what you need to know about selling to retailers.

That's invaluable for 15%!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,691 Posts
Regardless of what is right or wrong (& for the record, I fall on the hiring a sales rep side) there is a book called the national register of independent sales reps for the apparel industry. These reps work nationwide & could expand your reach and brand recognition, beyond what you could do by yourself. However, I agree it is nice to build your line "grass roots" and get out there on your own and sell, but it is not always the most profitable approach available. Depending on your talents, you might be better off focusing on design work and managing your business, & leave the selling to a professional. Definitely a case by case question.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,957 Posts
Good points, Josh.

Adding something else...there have also been instances where the relationship is so strong between sales rep and retailer that a retailer will buy additional lines (shirts from the small-time guy that happened to hire the right rep!) as a favor to the sales rep.

So in a case where they definitely would not have taken your merchandise in their store, they did, and the only reason was because of the rep. The end game is what's important. Getting in the store.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top