Obtain your EIN/Seller’s Permit
In most cases, you are unable to view products and/or product prices until you sign up for an online wholesale website. Part of the signup process will ask you to upload a Seller’s Permit and/or EIN to verify you are legally able to purchase non-taxable wholesale items. Once you're verified, you will now be able to view all products and prices without any issue.
Not all vendors will allow you to get a sample, but in the case that they do, always get a sample order. A test order will allow you to:
- Test the quality of the product
- Know the amount of time it takes to get from the wholesaler to you
And other things you normally would have to take a chance on.
If drop-shipping, determine if you can send your own packaging and materials to the supplier to ship with your orders. Most dropshippers offer white label (blank packaging), but double-check to be sure. The worst thing you would want is for your customers to be confused by any conflicts in names.
Search for unique products.
With so many e-boutiques out there ordering from the same or similar wholesale companies, you can run into the competition selling the same products as you. There is a way to follow the trend and remain exclusive with great marketing.
Things You Can Do
- Research the competition to see what’s trending, not just to copy.
- Use Google Trends to find trends in what real consumers are searching for
- Try to stand apart from your competition with unique products that fit your target market.
The list of wholesale vendors we provide consists of both popular vendors used by top-grossing brands as well as those that are on-trend but only known by a select group of people in the industry.
Keep Track of Your Purchases
Once you settle on vendor companies, you will need to keep a running record of your purchases. We recommend you print or “save a pdf” of all receipts and important information in Google Drive or Dropbox. In addition, we recommend you create a spreadsheet to track your vendor purchases. Online Boutique Center's signature wholesale vendor tracker (included with every wholesale vendor purchase) is specially designed for boutique owners to track all of their vendors and purchases, the amount of money spent and what it costs, profit margins, and so on.
Don’t Rely on a Single Supplier
Finding a wholesale supplier that you can order multiple items from is a great feeling. The shipping time is just right as well as the quality. However, what happens if that company goes out of business? Where will your inventory come from? This is why we recommend you establish relationships with multiple suppliers to ensure you never run into an issue if one company no longer stocks a product or stops selling clothing altogether.
- Ask if you are able to get special discounts for ordering more (if not already offered). Never underestimate your negotiating ability! Bargaining and negotiating are going to come in handy when speaking with wholesalers or manufacturers.
- Research. Search Google for reviews on the wholesale vendor
- Customer Service. Verify you are able to get in contact with someone via phone/email beforehand.
- Attend trade shows. A trade show is an exhibit that gathers wholesale suppliers and retailers together to showcase and sell their products (i.e. Magic in Las Vegas)
- Build a relationship with your wholesale suppliers. This can lead to volume discounts and freebies.
- Search Google for local wholesale suppliers. Be sure you have a printout of your seller’s permit handy for purchasing.
Need help launching your online boutique, click to access our signature Boutique Startup Plan eBook.