Tip for Buying from a Fashion Wholesalers by Collette Costello – How to Start a Fashion Company Series

Starting your own fashion company has been your ambition, you have the money now to get started, simple all you have to do is buy your stock.  Usually it is very easy to spend your money when shopping, however when it comes to buying from fashion wholesalers all the rules change.


Wholesale companies, suppliers may have relationships with shops, retailers that date back generations and may only sell to big companies such as ASOS.  Once I visited a small fabric wholesalers in Manchester to have a look at stock, I was told by the manager that he did not sell to people like me, without asking anything about me and asked to leave the shop.  It can be quite a intimidating process, so to make it easier check out my top tips below.

*****Golden Rule, have as little stock as possible and sell quickly!******

Tips for Buying from Fashion Wholesalers

  • Make sure your business is official, list on Google Business, have your own web-site, register with HMRC as a sole trader or a company for a VAT number.
  • Find wholesalers on-line or go to wholesalers trade-shows such as Moda, these companies are more likely to be forward thinking and willing to take on new customers.
  • Many wholesalers selling on-line will sell to anyone as long as they spend £200 – £300 minimum, you just need to register and they will sometimes deliver in 24 hours.  I have used JC Unique, Moda HandbagsKids Wholesale Clothing and Clever Baggers along with many others.
  • Ebay has loads of wholesalers selling at reduced prices from China, the only issue is it can take a month for the item to arrive and I have had items never come.
  • If your feeling brave you can walk into a wholesalers and ask to look at stock, always bring proof of your company with you, not all of them have asked me to leave, a good one for sewing supplies is Taylors Supplies.
  • Manchester is the home of wholesalers, most of them are in back street of Ancoats, everything from fabric, clothes and handbags, many of these do show at Moda.  Born out of the wholesalers in this area were companies like Forever Unique owned by Seema from real housewives.
  • To get the best prices your need to be dealing with massive orders and big wholesale companies, many will want you to order a minimum of 1000 pieces and that maybe just in one size.
  • Big wholesalers have approached me on Linkedin or can be found on Alibaba, often small local wholesalers will offer better prices for big orders.  This where it is a real risk, trusting overseas wholesalers or investing in stock that may not sell could make you lose a lot of money.
  • As my experiences with Digitex prove (see Factory section of article), once a supplier has your money you can do little to get it back even if they send you faulty goods, so always pay only half up-front if possible.

Buying your stock from wholesalers is the kick start your company needs, always think before spending any money, do I need this stock, will I get my money back and is the supplier trustworthy with they deliver.  For more information about what stock to buy check out my post “Best Fashion Items to Sell in On-line Shop”.


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