6 Tips for Buying Wholesale Inventory for Boutique Owners

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6 Tips for Buying Wholesale Inventory for Boutique Owners

Buying wholesale inventory is one of the most important jobs of a boutique owner, and it can also be one of the most fun! However, not having a game plan can result in overstock inventory and uninterested customers. Reduce the risk of having leftover inventory with our 6 tips for buying wholesale inventory. 

Always remember, buying wholesale inventory is about INVESTING in something that you are going to turn around and make a profit.

Let’s get into our 6 tips for buying wholesale inventory!

1. Know your customers

If you don’t know your customers and who you are buying for, how can you serve them correctly? One way to get a better insight into your customer is by doing customer interviews or surveys. Some good questions to ask include: 

  • What are your customers’ needs, wants, and desires?
  • What are their pain points or frustrations? (Is this something you can offer a solution to? Customers will pay to have their problems solved.)
  • What sizes do they need?
  • What fit, feel, and function do they need?
  • What colors do they love?

Remember, just because you love it doesn’t mean it is what your customer is looking for!

2. Know your options

There are so many different options for boutique owners wanting to buy wholesale inventory. Great news – the Hub is working hard on a brand new project created with wholesalers and boutique owners in mind – Hubventory! In the meantime, boutique owners have the option of the various online marketplace and in-person marketplaces. Which is better, you ask? We suggest a marriage of the two. There are benefits to both in-person and online wholesale shopping. Going to an in-person market can offer inspiration, relationship building with vendors, and you’ll actually be able to see and feel the quality of the apparel. Major markets can be found in Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Las Angeles, Nashville – just to name a few!

Remember to keep your customers in mind from tip #1. It’s easy to walk into a market or log onto a wholesale site and get sidetracked by everything they have to offer. Go in with a plan and your customers in mind. 

6 Tips for Buying Wholesale Inventory for Boutique Owners

3. Understand your vendors sizing

Nothing is worse than getting excited about an online order only to find out that the sizing isn’t correct. Make sure your customers don’t experience this with your boutique. It’s up to you to provide the right resources for your customer and knowing your vendors sizing is a key step in this process.

4. Understand Prepacks

Vendors will most often pre-pack their items. These are packages of one item based on size runs. Common pre-packs include 2-2-2 (2 small, 2 medium, 2 large), or 1-2-2-1 (1 small, 2 medium, 2 large, 1 extra-large). It is up to you to make the best decision with these pre-packs. If you have a number of XL customers, it wouldn’t make sense to order a 2-2-2 pre-pack. Likely, if your customer base is primarily small-sized, it wouldn’t make sense to order a 1-2-2-1 pack. Lot’s of numbers here, but this is a crucial part in making sure you aren’t left with overstock and buying what your customers actually need. 

6 Tips for Buying Wholesale Inventory for Boutique Owners

5. Keep Minimums in Mind

Another important thing to keep in mind before purchasing from a vendor is minimums. Each vendor works differently, so make sure you ask about this. Some brands require a minimum dollar amount spent, while others require a minimum number of pre-packs bought. Is this something you can afford, or is it just that one sweater you fell in love with? The majority of the time, it is not worth it to break the bank to meet that minimum requirement for that one item. This is a huge red flag and will result in leftover inventory. 

6. Price for Profit 

It is easy to get caught up in a pricing bubble while wholesale shopping. When you are shopping around, the first thing you should ask yourself when you find something is ‘what will my customer pay for this?’ Once you’ve decided on a price, and only then, turn that pricetag around. If the wholesale price is justifiable and can offer you a good ROI (return on investment), you’re good to go! If there isn’t a gap between your ideal retail price and the wholesale price, it might not be a good option. 

FREE DOWNLOAD – More Tips on How to Buy Wholesale

There is a science to knowing how to buy wholesale clothing for your boutique. There are plenty of apparel markets and online vendors you can go to, but knowing where and who to buy wholesale clothing from is key. This free download will go over the key tips for buying wholesale for your boutique.


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