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Comin'OutSwingin said:
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.
I went back and re-read your linked thread Greg and wanted to say thanks. I also found this article on the topic and thought it might be helpful to those looking for a sales rep:

http://www.inc.com/articles/1997/05/12030.html
 

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I don't really think someone just starting in the t-shirt business could afford to pay for sales people. I mean maybe I could, but that would be in China/HK and the cost would obviously be a lot lower. I guess you really need to make sure you know what you're doing and have the contacts so you can get introduced. Another way could be finding a way to get your name known in your niche market, I'm planning to look at supporting some smaller urban/streetwear brands in in the HK clothing market. Obviously, I'm from HK so its easier but I still need to learn a lot....maybe taking it slow and building up your own knowledge and experience is good. As said before in this thread, you can't expect retailers to buy your products wholesale if they dont think you know what you're doing. Try to know the market gradually and I'm sure it'll pay off. But anyone else agree or disagree with me on this point? even if you know the area well, you're still entering the business world which is a new experience for most.

Nick.

HKDMZ
 

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That's the beauty of having sales reps! You don't pay them until the retailer pays you!

Let's say you find a great rep that gets you into a good store. They order 100 shirts from you that you are selling to them for $10/shirt. That's $1,000 gross from the sale to this retailer.

Well, when you get your $1,000 from the retailer you pay the rep their 15%, which is $150.

There is not really anything to afford. You pay for their services after you get paid. They know that's the way it works. If they sell, you should be able to pay them 15% from the sale of the goods.

If someone can't afford to pay 15% from the money they are getting from the retailer, theyhave some serious problems, the least of which is trying to sell to them yourself!
 

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No one can be more passionate about a product than the creator of the product.It's always good to know in and out of a business.The sales rep.can get you sales, but if your product is not selling,what do you do next?This is why it's always good to do it on your own first.Hiring a sales rep.will not guaranty you success,doing it on you own will gain you knowledge.
I,ve seen so many people selling to big chain stores like wall-mart, and they did it on their own.You dont even need a sales rep. to contact these big stores.All you need to do is call their home office and ask for their buying process,they will explain to you what need to be done.If they like your product and think your product will sell,you will get sales.However,everyone is entitled to their opinion.No one has monopoly on ways to sell t/shirts.The best sales rep. you can get to represent you and your product(s) is you.Peace!!
 

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However,everyone is entitled to their opinion.No one has monopoly on ways to sell t/shirts.
This is very true :)

There's no need to go back and forth about which method is better :D

I think both the "do-it-yourself" method and the "hire a sales rep" methods have been well represented in this thread. Good information has been posted for whichever route a person is more comfortable with.
 

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Rodney said:
Good information has been posted for whichever route a person is more comfortable with.
Quite. Just one point noone mentioned - if you're willing to spend some money but still want to give it a try yourself, you might consider going on a sales course. If you find the right kind of training, it could actually be loads of fun!
 

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Are we speaking of larger companies, or smaller clothing shops? Living here in the beautiful San Fernando Valley, there are a ton of small, hip shops. If one could get their work into only a couple of these trendy shops, and your designs are either strong or quite unique, then other shops might catch on and request a look at your stuff. Of course, I'm applying "common sense", here, and trendy industries rarely utilize the term.

I already have two shops that might take my stuff. The problem is, smaller shops won't buy 1000 units... maybe 10 or 20 if you're lucky. But the product is out there, and that's a start, right?

Also, directly selling to friends and the general public might generate interest. If you walk into a shop, and the owner has seen your work on somebody, I'm wondering if that might smooth things over a little. Again, small shops, not large.

I'd also assume that your designs should be able to hold their own. It's been mentioned that, even with strong designs, a shop might not wish to take you on. However, if they like the designs, then it might be a good bet to ask for the contact info of a rep or two they have a good working relationship with.

Come to think of it, that would be a great way to find a solid rep.

Again, I'm using common sense. You may shoot me at any time.:D
 

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I agree that both methods can work and be successful. And it depends on the situation.

Small shops can be great. Selling to them yourself can be great. But one point I really want to stress is don't go into the situation without education, because it leaves you very vulnerable.

There are a myriad of things that can go wrong with selling to retailers, even small shops, and if you don't know your stuff going in, they will know it.

Don't leave yourself open for someone to take advantage of you.

Educate yourself.

People keep saying that you can get in stores without sales reps, or you can be successful without using sales reps (getting into Wal-Mart). This is very true, and I never said anything contrary to this. But, I would like to point out that just because a store tells you "yes, I like your stuff" and they put your shirts in their shop, doesn't mean that you got a good deal. They could be robbing you blind! (and I wont start on Wal-Mart!)

That's why I'm an advocate of sales reps. You can learn the process from an experienced person, while being successful at getting your products in shops. They can teach you how the process works. What a good deal is. The terms that are used and what they mean. How to actually make a sale.

So, in closing, just because someone like your shirts, doesn't mean they want the hassle of buying them "from you!"

And just because you were successful in getting in a store, doesn't mean you were treated fairly, or will be treated fairly when a problem arises.
 
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