Sourcing The Best Stock
Our guide to finding the best vintage clothing suppliers.
In today’s world the supply of vintage clothing is almost endless and spans the entire globe. Individuals are now starting to understand the value of second hand clothing and instead of throwing out their old clothes they are passing them on to charity shops or putting them in the recycling bins at their local recycling centres. This is good news for the aspiring entrepreneur. It means stock isn’t too hard to find but it can also be confusing where to start. Below we’ve written our top 5 tips for sourcing stock.
1.) If you’ve already emptied your own wardrobe then the first port of call should be friends and family. Ask if you can raid their wardrobes especially your parents and grandparents as they’ve probably got a lot of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s clothing that they don’t wear anymore. You can offer to share profits or maybe they’ll kindly donate them?
2. ) Good old carboots & charity shops are always a good place to scour if you’re just starting out in the vintage game. Often times carboot sellers won’t realise the value of their old clothes and they’ll just want to get rid quickly which will work in your favour and you can pick up some real bargains.
3.) Ebay and other online market places can be a good source of smaller quantities of branded vintage clothing especially if you’re looking to sell jeans but probably won’t be as good for larger quantities unless you hit upon a lucky bulk vintage job lot. You can also use it as a way of establishing a relationship with a new supplier.
4.) Contact current vintage retailers to see if they have overstock of the items that you’re looking for. This will also probably work better if you’re looking for smaller quantities rather than tonnes and tonnes and also bear in mind they probably won’t want to sell you their best selling stock. There may be a lot grade B vintage items they’ve struggled to sell themselves so tread carefully.
5.) Pick up the phone and start making some calls at home and abroad. Countries where a lot of the second hand clothing supply tends to come from includes Italian, German & American textile recycling companies. You might find these companies may already have contracts with some of the larger UK based vintage clothing suppliers and they will also expect you to take much large quantities but don’t be discouraged. Persistence pays off!
Setting Up A New Vintage Clothing Business
If you're looking to set up a new vintage clothing store whether that be online or a bricks and mortar store there are a few simple tips to follow:
Decide your own mini niche. Vintage is already a niche market but narrow it down even more than that initially. Are you going to sell men's vintage sportswear? Women's high end 50's dresses or vintage Levi's denim? This should help deciding what your initial stock purchase would be.
Source, source, source and source again. Always shop around for the best prices you can find and have more than one wholesaler on hand to make life easier. The prices you pay for your products to sell ultimately determines your profit which in turn determines your success. This simple fact could be the difference between the success or failure of your new retail enterprise.
Keep your starting costs low. Don't take on a lot of unnecessary costs initially in terms of labour, premises and loan repayments. If you overestimate your sales then you will struggle to keep up with repayments and this may even lead to the failure of your business.
Building on the last point. Start with small wholesale orders and test your market or new product before making large orders. If you dive in head first and buy too much of one particular item you are going to struggle if that item proves to be unpopular no matter how cheap you bought it.
Make sure you employ a good accountant. This point will probably end up saving you a lot more money in the long run than it will cost in the short term and will definitely save you a lot of stress.