Get Your Fashion Line to Market: Introduction to Wholesaling | Of a Kind | Skillshare

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Get Your Fashion Line to Market: Introduction to Wholesaling

teacher avatar Of a Kind, Co-founders, Of a Kind

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Pricing Your Line

    • 3. Photographing Your Line

    • 4. Presenting Your Line

    • 5. Reaching Buyers

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About This Class


What You'll Learn

In this class you'll learn the absolute essentials for how to start selling your fashion line wholesale (to retailers). We'll walk you through the cruciual 4-step process for getting your line to market: 

1. How to Price Your Line. How to think about markup and your target audience.

2. How to Photograph Your Line. The best ways to showcase your work, both conveying the mood/vibe of the line while also highlighting the details of each individual piece.

3. How to Present Your Line. Creating a lookbook and linesheet: Understanding the best way to present the details of your collection and thinking about layout.

4. How to Reach Buyers: How to go about actually selling your collection via trade shows and store outreach.


This class is perfect for makers who want to take their businesses to the next level—people who, perhaps, have been selling on Etsy and want to start wholesaling or have a couple retail accounts but want to expand their reach.


What You'll Create

By the end of this class you'll have created  a combined linesheet and lookbook for your collection that you can present to buyers. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Of a Kind

Co-founders, Of a Kind


We're Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, the founders of Of a Kind. Which is a website that sells the pieces and tells the stories of emerging designers. We've worked with over 200 up-and-coming lines over the past three years and can't wait to share our experiences with you.

Learn more about us here.

See full profile

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2. Pricing Your Line: - Hi, - guys. - I'm Erica's Rouleau, - one of the co founders of Of a Kind. - And welcome to our skill share course. - This class is all about wholesaling your line and getting it into retail locations, - so the course is broken down into four units. - The 1st 1 is all about pricing your line, - which is a really huge component of actually wholesaling. - The second is all about photographing your line and presenting it in the best possible - light. - The third is about look, - books and lying sheets, - putting years together and figuring out what the differences between the two and the fourth - is about approaching buyers and getting into retail locations. - So let's dive into our very first unit on pricing. - So first things first. - It's really important to understand industry standards, - so retailers have mark ups that they typically use for various product categories, - and those actually vary a lot across different product categories. - So for housewares, - the standard markup is typically around two times, - which means if you were to wholesale a base for $10 a retailer would probably sell it for - close to $20 so 10 times two equals one, - but a perilous different. - The standard markups there are typically between 2.2 and 2.5, - but for accessories were talking jewelry and handbags. - Small leather goods You're looking at a 2.52 even three times mark up. - So when you're thinking about how to price your line, - it's really important to consider these factors. - It's also really important to understand the fact that retailers may vary their mark ups - from one to another so small boutique say, - may have a lower markup than a big retailer. - And if you're feel really strongly about your line being priced a very particular way, - say you don't want your rings sold above or below a certain price, - that something you should make very clear to the buyers early on and have that conversation - when you're working out your purchase orders. - So now that you have a sense of standard mark ups, - you can play around with Handy Dandy, - a little pricing spreadsheet that we made for you. - So it's an Excel file that you can download, - and if you don't have excel, - you can upload it to do Google docks, - and you can start plugging your numbers in Okay, - so let's play around with this spreadsheet. - Now let's enter in some data. - So basically all you do is type in in the yellow cells, - your material costs or labor costs. - Any other expenses. - Associate ID The wholesale markup. - Meaning how much your multiplying your material costs, - labor costs and expenses by to create your wholesale price, - which will determine your profit. - What you, - the designer are taking home and then you enter the retail markup, - which, - as we talked about before, - can vary from retailer to retailer and also varies across product category. - And then these non highlighted sells the wholesale price, - profit and retail price categories will be automatically calculated. - When you entering your data, - they have formulas in them. - Okay, - so let's do an example. - Say you are selling handbag and material costs are $30. - The labor costs are $20 you don't have any other expenses associated with this item. - So if you keep your wholesale market it to your profit when you sell, - each bag would be $50 you would be wholesaling it to retailers for $100. - Let's say the retailer's mark up is 2.5, - which is pretty standard for accessories like we talked about before. - That could give you a $250 retail price. - Or maybe let's play with that retail markup and say that the retailer has a higher mark up - of 3.0, - which is still, - you know, - within that range that we talked about it being industry standard that makes your retail - price the retail price they're selling your bag. - Four To store $300 let's do some more playing. - Let's say that you bring your material costs down. - Let's say that you find another supplier that can help you bring your read your price down - to 25 Oops, - $25 which you'll see effects not only your profit, - your wholesale price, - but also the retail price. - Or let's play with this and make your mark up closer to 2.5 so that you're taking home - $67.50. - But you'll see that that really dramatically affects the retail price. - It added over $50 here. - So play with this until you get to a point where you feel comfortable or the numbers land. - And so at this point, - I think it's really useful to step back and think about who your target audiences. - Who do you think the person is that's going to be buying your pieces from your amazing line - ? - So let's say you're playing around with that pricing spreadsheet that, - as we were before, - and you land on $600 for a cuff in your line. - But let's say that your customer is maybe a girl in her twenties, - and she might not have $600 to spend on a cough on on the regular. - So at that point, - you have to think about either one rethinking about who your audiences and trying to target - a different customer, - which we can move on to and units two and three when we talk about photography and building - out your look, - book and lion sheet and you know, - putting the other the presentation materials for your line. - Or you can think about how to achieve a similar aesthetic with your cough for a lower price - , - a price point that your customer might be more comfortable with so you can play around with - your material costs. - Maybe it's sourcing stones for your cuff that are a little less expensive. - Or maybe it's gold plating instead, - of casting in solid gold on. - And these are all things that are really important to think about to make sure that your - you know the aesthetics of your line. - Um, - and the pricing of your line actually gets into the hand of customers because the ultimate - goal here is to sell things right, - even if you aren't ready to start wholesaling your line right now, - if you're just starting to explore the idea, - it's worth taking some time to consider how the your direct sale business might affect your - the wholesale business that you eventually hope to build. - So every now and then, - I will discover designer that we want to work with for all mankind who maybe is selling - silk T shirts on her own cider on her Etsy shop for $30. - But when we reach out to that designer about potentially working together, - we discover that basically, - that designer is selling that she shirt for what is ostensibly her wholesale price. - But she's selling it directly to consumers for that price, - which could be a really complicated thing. - It doesn't allow any wiggle room for a retailer to come in. - So for retailer were to pick up her line and market up, - say, - 2.2, - or for this example 2.5 times, - they would end up selling her T shirt for $75 which is pretty dramatically different than - $30 which is a complicating factor. - So either the designer would have to readjust her pricing, - Um, - so selling her own shirts on her site for $75 in order to avoid undercutting the retailer. - Or there'd be this huge price disparity. - And if the designer changes her pricing, - that can upset those early customers who got really comfortable with the idea of paying $30 - for a silk T shirt. - So that's it for Unit one. - I hope you learned something, - and I hope you spend some time playing with that handy spreadsheet. - Figuring out pricing for your line is a really key component of establishing your brand and - getting into the the best retail accounts that you can, - um, - and up next Unit two on photography 3. Photographing Your Line: - Hi. - I'm clear Maser and in the other co founder of a kind Today I'm gonna lead you through unit - to which is all about photography. - So you'll need to take pictures of everything in your line. - You need it for your look book. - You're lying. - Cheat pitching, - press your website, - and this is especially important if you're doing e commerce. - In general, - photographs are so important to what you're doing. - I cannot tell you how many times have been sent a look book or a line sheet being pitched - by a designer. - And we end up passing it over cause it seems like it's just not that great. - Then we end up walking the trade show and seeing the same line and really loving it when - we've seen it in person. - And we wonder why we passed over it the first time we saw it. - So just keep in mind that a lot of times photographs could be the first and maybe last time - that someone interacts with your lines. - Do you really want to nail this before you even pick up a camera? - The first thing you want to think about is what sort of a photographic style you're going - for? - What are the things that are most important to your brand? - And how are you gonna convey those things through photography? - Take a minute to think about the photography style that's most representative of your lying - . - Do you want to go with natural lighting or do you want to bring in studio lights? - Is important to you to have a hair and makeup person? - Or do you want to spend that money on something like a better model or about a photographer - ? - If you are, - for example, - shooting Fine jewelry line, - it's probably worth it to invest in a photographer who's worked with a fine worked with - fine jewelry before because that person is going to know how to capture all the details of - your products. - But if you're going for a basic sign, - that's really more about a mood and a lifestyle. - It's probably worth spending a little more time and maybe a little bit more money on a - model who can really capture the look and feel that you're going for at of a kind. - We're big fans of using natural like places with big, - sunny windows and outdoor spaces. - In addition to being pretty cost effective. - It's right for our brand. - It's right in terms of telling the story that we're trying to sell to tell. - We also don't invest a lot of time in hair and makeup. - We like more natural look, - but that may not be what's right for you. - If you're someone like Katie or Emilio who's designing high end evening where then you can - probably get away with a really minimal backdrop and not a lot of props. - But you do want to make sure you're spending the money on a model who really nails your - aesthetic. - Who is really gonna make your gallons shine? - And it's probably also worth putting some time and energy into things like hair and makeup - , - because that's really important when people are looking at things like evening. - Where once you've got your plan in place, - it's time to start thinking about what sort of equipment you need. - Most of the equipment we're gonna talk about here you can rent directly from camera supply - stores in your area, - or if you think it's worth investing in a piece long term and you do want to buy it, - look at places like Amazon and eBay. - First that might have used components for West. - First thing you'll need is a camera. - You don't necessarily need to hire a professional photographer for this, - but you do need to have a good DSLR camera on hand. - You can't do this with an iPhone. - You can't do this with a point and shoot. - In addition to the camera, - you need to think about what other sort of accessories you need. - So if you are not using natural light, - you do want to bring in special lights for this. - If you are shooting something like fine jewelry or any products with small, - fine details on it that a regular lens can't capture, - make sure you get your hands on a macro lens cause you're gonna be able to get a lot more - detail around things like small gemstones, - other things that can come in really handy during a shooter. - Some things like a light reflector tripod clamps for holding lights, - which can also be really useful for adjusting fit for apparel and think about white - backdrops for shooting a peril. - We really like to use either a seamless white backdrop for a large white flat, - which is essentially a massive piece of foam poor or if you're shooting small products like - jewelry. - A lot of people really love something called a light tent, - which could grab off Amazon as well. - The other thing, - you're gonna want to start to think about our crops. - So are you shooting a vase? - You're gonna want to grab some flowers so people can see what the flowers look inside. - The days. - Are you shooting a handbag? - Make sure you have some objects that you can put inside of it. - People always want to see how much a hand. - But I can hold on what it looks like stuffed, - and it's also really helpful for providing context in terms of scale. - We love whenever a bag can fit an iPad or a laptop because it's such a big selling point. - So we always make a point of shooting on I pad or laptop inside of the bag's. - Whether you're shooting apparel, - jewelry, - accessories or anything else, - you should always shoot everything both on white and on body or, - in the case of HomeGoods, - style in it in its natural setting. - So that means if it's a vase, - shoot it on white so we can see the details but also shoot it sitting on a night stand with - some flowers in it. - Each type of shots serves its own purpose on whites. - Convey information about the details in the material of the peace, - while the on bodies were the editorial shots served fried context about size, - scale, - utility and the overall sensibility of your line. - This is always really relevant in the context of jewelry. - So let's say you're shooting a really delicate diamond ring we want to see on White so that - we can see the quality in the cut of the diamonds. - We want to see the exact shape of the ring. - But we also want to see the Ring Warren on someone's finger because we want to see how big - it is, - where it sits on that person's finger, - the jewelry and handbag line. - Lizzie Fortunato does a great job of combining both of these types of images in there. - Look book, - so check this out in the photo On the left, - you get a real sense of the labels sensibility because you see the model, - what she's wearing, - how her hair and makeup or done. - But the necklace in the handbag, - which are the pieces that the line is selling are really popping within this picture. - And then in the photo on the right, - you have just a on white of the bags. - You really have a chance to get a sense of the quality of the leather, - the hardware, - the stone detail ing the things you really want to understand about the bag itself. - All right, - that's it. - You're ready to go out and photograph your line. - Just make sure you've really thought it through beforehand, - and you take your time on set to really get it right. 4. Presenting Your Line: - We're in Unit three already, - and this unit is all about putting together your look book and you're lying sheet. - And so the first question is, - what are look books and what airline sheets and how do you use them? - What are their roles? - First, - the look Book. - The Look Book is really meant to showcase your line, - to convey your aesthetic how you would style pieces really show them in their element so - you can present them in the best possible. - Like and then the line, - she is more like an information dump. - It should have everything that a buyer would potentially need to decide whether or not to - pick up a piece for his or her store. - So we're talking about wholesale pricing, - different variants like a color or fabric materials sizing. - All of those details should be right there in a very accessible way to really get a handle - on the difference between a look book in a line, - she let's look at an example. - So here is a look book from Rachel Rose. - You can see that her pieces air styled on a model. - There's pretty minimal hair and makeup because that's sort of how she presents her line. - Everything's very easy to wear. - Easy fitting, - hand painted and dyed silk pieces, - but it's all you know meant to convey the Rachel Rose vibe. - But then, - if you look at her line sheet here, - there isn't a model. - It's very simple. - She uses these sort of line drawings, - demonstrate the shapes of her collection better, - much, - you know, - sort of more flat. - Um, - we can sort of got go either way on those. - Um, - you don't have to do this by any stretch, - but we do love about her line. - She is that they're swatches of each of the fabrics that the piece is available in right - there on the page, - which means you don't have to flip back and forth between either and sort of appendix that - would exist in the line sheet or with a look book to say, - OK, - what what is the florals? - Print? - What is the leaves print? - It's great to have everything side by side to that point about flipping back and forth toe - look a fabric swatches. - Be thoughtful about how someone will navigate your look book and your line sheet, - the more digestible that you could make the information, - the easier it will be for you to engage buyers, - and that will ultimately help when you are selling your line. - So we love. - As Claire mentioned in the Last unit, - when designers include on white product shots, - it's of this winter for Grace Example. - Here she has all of the information you would need under pictures off the jewelry that you - comptel exacts. - You can tell exactly what you're getting. - We also love when designers include MSRP, - ease, - Air suggested retail prices. - That means it eliminates the need for doing a lot of mental maths. - We don't have to sit there and think, - OK, - if that bracelet wholesales for $30 then we'd have to sell it for $70 $80. - This is really great to just have all the information right in front of you. - Something else that we just love love. - Love is when designers do a look book in line sheet in one, - and I'm not talking about just sort of attaching them with the line sheet of the end of the - look book or something, - I mean, - fully integrating them. - So if you look at this example from the line o sage, - Euro you can see that on the one side of the page there's a picture look, - book style image of a model in the piece that they're that they're referencing on this page - . - Under it, - you can get off the sizing details and then right on the right side of the page, - you have all the various fabric options, - the wholesale prices of suggested retail prices, - making it really easy for us to figure out exactly what's happening. - And we don't have to flip back and forth at all. - You can digest it all right here. - Once you have a handle on how you want to present your materials, - you should think about how people are going to consume that. - Is this something that you want to be handing out at a trade show? - Our event on, - And if so, - it makes sense probably to get printed copies. - But even if you are getting printed copies, - we don't suggest spending a lot of money on them. - At the end of the day, - people are ultimately going to throw them away, - probably sooner than you wish that they would. - So a simple Kinko's job will absolutely cut it, - a staple in the corner is totally fine. - What you're trying to do here is to get your materials in front of people in a way that - they can consume. - And it is not about the quality of the paper, - the quality of your line and the way you're presenting it should definitely be enough. - We end of the day always prefer to have file sent to us digitally, - so an optimized pdf is great or a link to a dropbox or high tail download in an email. - And, - um, - we also love when you include a link to your website so that we can get a better handle on - exactly the aesthetic of your line and can explore past collections as well. - Speaking of websites, - you should definitely have one if you don't already. - Squarespace is a really good place to start. - If you check out Nikki Chasen's website here, - you can scroll through her collections on her squarespace site, - and it very much gets the job done. - Also, - even just setting up a tumbler with your contact information and images of your look book - will do in a pinch. - You really want to make it as easy as possible for someone to access images from your most - recent collections when you're not reaching out to them. - So if someone discovers you via, - you know, - a little press hit on the Web Or if they did, - you hear your name from a friend of theirs who bought a piece from your line, - you won't be able to discover your materials as easily as possible. - What's the best way to present look book images on your website? - We pretty much despise Flash. - And so it is Apple. - So we're in pretty good company on that one. - Um, - so I'm gonna walk you through a couple of examples that we do really like. - Wanna lay in a coma in sight. - If you click on collections, - you can scrawl very easily through all of the images from her spring collection. - And as a buyer, - I could grab one of these images. - I could file it away somewhere I could email the designer and say, - You know, - I wanted these pants and, - you know, - could get 20 units in a certain size. - It's all very accessible. - It doesn't require a lot of navigating and sinking. - Same goes with Samantha Pleats site. - Hers is actually formatted a lot more like a print look book. - And if you click on an individual image, - it blows up so that you can grab it here a swell. - And as you'll notice under each of the images, - it has the number, - a name and number for each look, - which makes it very easy to reference everything that's happened. - Ultimately, - the message of this unit is to keep it simple. - There's a lot of temptation to add bells and whistles and, - you know, - fancy flash and videos and crazy backgrounds and your look books and, - you know, - jazzy papers for all of your printed materials. - But ultimately, - buyers really just want to be able to consume the information, - um, - and get what they need out of it so that they can place an order with you. - That's what we're going for here. - So hopefully this unit was helpful and we're moving on to our last one, - which is all about actually reaching buyers and getting your pieces into their stores. 5. Reaching Buyers: - in our final unit, - we're gonna talk about how to actually go about selling your line and getting it on the - radar. - Fires start out by thinking about participating in retail events that are targeted directly - to consumers but tend to have a lot of buyers trolling around looking for young designers. - So check out things like the Renegade Craft Fair, - which travels across the country, - does market in Chicago and busts holiday craft tacular in New York City. - Certain boutiques who are focused on fostering new talent even have events specifically to - invite young designers in to show off their line. - So thistle and clover in Brooklyn is a great example of this. - If the boutique that you're really targeting doesn't have something like this, - sometimes it's worthwhile to just pop in and drop off your look book for the buyer, - make a list of what boutiques you'd love to have your line in and go ahead and just cold. - Email the buyers at those boutiques. - Keep the email short and sweet. - No one wants to read a lot and make sure you include a link to your site as well as your - look book and your line. - She personally as a buyer. - I love when people include a link to the line sheet instead of attaching it to the email so - it doesn't clog up my inbox. - Another option is to start thinking about online showrooms. - These air essentially online wholesale market places which facilitate the process of you - wholesaling your lines directly to buyers. - So check out places like Drawer Motor List and pop market, - which help this process along. - Okay, - so now we're gonna talk about trade shows. - Trade shows can be kind of a beast that can be really expensive and time consuming, - but oftentimes they're worth it because they do exist solely to introduce your line to - buyers. - And oftentimes fires will even write orders right there on the spot. - So trade shows tend to take place the week after Fashion Week in most major fashion cities - , - So think New York, - Los Angeles, - Paris and what they are are a chance for you to set up a booth and sit around for a day or - two while buyers walk up and down all of the different booths and check out your line in - New York City, - we always make a point of checking out capsule man and woman and for home goods. - We like to hit up New York now, - which used to be called the New York International Gift Show. - We personally love it when designers man, - there are booths. - It's nice to get a chance to talk to the people directly and ask them about their line. - If for any reason you can't be the one to man your own booth, - just make sure you're sending someone in your place who really knows you're lying inside - and out can answer all possible questions. - So that person should be able to answer questions about production time and minimums and - things like that, - so that if the buyer is coming to and is really interested in buying your line, - they have all the answers. - When you're really ready to get serious about selling your line to buyers, - it's time to start considering showrooms showrooms a responsible for managing all of the - wholesale sales of your line directly to retailers a lot of times their showrooms that also - help you with your PR. - Part of the beauty of the showroom setting is that the people running the show room often - times have a lot of pre existing and positive relationships with buyers. - And because you're grouped in with a lot of other lines, - you have the opportunity to get seen by a buyer who might not have come in specifically to - see your line. - So let's say a buyer who often buys from another line in your showroom is there to check - out their fall collection. - The person who runs ashore was also probably gonna make a point to show that buyer your - collection so you have the opportunity to sort of piggyback off of that other business. - Another option to consider with showrooms is using them only for a specific part of their - business. - So say you're really eager to start targeting international buyers, - but you don't have the connections or the capacity to start seeking out those introductions - . - You can work with a showroom just specifically for international sales of your line. - Or maybe you have a handbag line, - but you're also starting to do jewelry. - So you have a lot of relationships with handbag buyers, - but not necessarily with jewelry. - It may be worth considering starting out your jewelry sales with a showroom to start to get - on the radar. - Jewelry buyers and finally, - my best advice about all of this is not to get discouraged and just to keep at it. - A lot of times, - buyers want to keep an eye on the line for a while before they go and bite at it. - So you might some your collection four times before they finally ready to buy. - Just because they don't buy it the first time doesn't mean they're not interested. - It may be that they've already spent their budget for that season, - or they like it, - but it's just not quite there yet. - So that's a time when it's really make sense to ask for feedback, - because that feedback could be so useful. - Buyers have a really good sense of what their customer likes, - and having that sort of feedback can really help build your lying. - All right, - that's it. - You should be ready to go out and sell your line. - Now, - once you've gone through all this and you've taken your pictures and you've gotten your - look book ready, - go ahead and shoot it to us as designers at of a kind dot com so we can take a look to let - us know if you have any questions