A Retail Business Owner’s Guide for How to Buy Wholesale Clothing

Congrats on your new retail venture! It’s an exciting time to start a fashion boutique or take the one you’ve got to the next level

One of the key parts to owning a successful retail business is stocking the products your customers love to buy. To do that, you need to know how to buy wholesale clothing, and there are six steps to getting this done right. 

But first, we should cover a few definitions.

Wholesale Clothing Business Glossary

The term “wholesale” means selling large quantities of goods to retail buyers who then sell the goods to customers at higher prices.

Other common wholesale clothing business terms:

  • Buyer – A person who selects and purchases stock for a retail store
  • Delivery Time – The date inventory arrives at the retail buyer’s address
  • Gross Profit – The money earned after subtracting the cost of goods sold from your revenue
  • In Bulk – Goods sold or bought in large quantities and not packaged individually
  • Inventory – A list of every product your business has in stock to sell
  • Linesheet – A brand’s page of available products for buyers, including images, descriptions, color/size options, wholesale prices, etc. 
  • Markup – The amount added to the wholesale price to cover a business’ overhead and profit
  • MOQ (minimum order quantity) – The number of units required for purchase
  • Online Marketplace – An e-commerce site that connects vendors with buyers
  • Price Match – A wholesale price that is equal to an identical product found elsewhere
  • Price Point – The optimized dollar amount to price a product, according to hypothetical demand 
  • Reorder Point – The number of units left in inventory when a product needs to be replenished
  • Retail – Products being sold to the public at a price above wholesale, often 50% higher
  • RFQ (request for quotation) – An email asking a vendor for a product’s price based on order quantity and other options
  • Sample Orders – One or a few product units sent to a buyer for testing and approval
  • Shipping Time – The date (or range of dates) an order will be shipped from the vendor to a buyer
  • Unit – A product quantity of one
  • Vendor (interchangeable with “supplier”) – A distributor of a manufactured product to a buyer
  • Wholesaler – A company that sells products in large quantities at low prices to retail businesses (such as OrangeShine)

How to Buy Wholesale Clothing in 6 Steps

Learning how to buy wholesale clothing isn’t hard, and neither is finding where you can buy wholesale clothing. All it takes is a smart budget and a good eye for fashion. Simply follow these six steps for buying clothing wholesale and get on your way to healthy profits! 

  1. Get Your Permits and License

You need to have the right paperwork to operate a clothing business. Here’s what you need:

  1. An employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS if you plan to have employees or choose to conduct business as a corporation, not as a sole proprietor
  2. A sales tax license or certificate (if required in your area)
  3. A seller’s license or a resale certificate

Insider Tip: Get one-on-one help and mentorship from the Small Business Administration (SBA). 

  1. Decide on a Niche

What do you want to sell? Kids’ shoes, men’s swimwear, women’s party dresses? Sure, you can sell everything, but that’s not recommended. It’s best to narrow your focus so you can really deliver on what your target audience actually wants.

Insider Tip: Have a brand strategy that details the direction you want your business to take over the next 2 to 3 years.

  1. Calculate Your Budget

To ensure your fashion retail business makes money, you must figure out how much money you have to spend on buying clothing wholesale. Don’t forget to account for:

  1. Product margin
  2. Packaging costs
  3. Shipping costs
  4. Taxes

Insider Tip: Understand the psychology of pricing to help you price your products right in your market.

  1. Choose Domestic or Overseas

Whether you should partner with a U.S.-based wholesale clothing business or one from another country, there are pros and cons of each. Domestic shipping times will be shorter, but costs are higher. For international wholesale clothing businesses, costs are lower, but shipping times are longer.

Insider Tip: Try a mix of both onshore and offshore vendors to get the best of both worlds.

  1. Find a Wholesale Clothing Business

Now comes the fun part—shopping! Browse OrangeShine’s online wholesale clothing marketplace to help you find vendors that offer exactly what you’re looking to sell. Popular vendors include Capella Apparel, BOMBOM, and H&D Accessories, among hundreds of others.

Insider Tip: Check out Vendor Promos for exclusive deals. 

  1. Register as a Buyer

Once you’ve browsed the goods and have decided on a couple of vendors to connect with, it’s time to register as a buyer. This gives you full access to product and pricing information so you can contact and place your orders for buying wholesale clothing.

Insider Tip: Join our $hine Rewards Program to earn points! Every dollar spent can eventually be redeemed as a store credit or Amazon e-gift cards.

Get Started Buying Wholesale Clothing with OrangeShine

Now that you’ve got the basics of how to buy wholesale clothing down, register with OrangeShine! Still have questions? Reach out, and we’ll be glad to walk you through the process.