5 Ways to Get Noticed by Retail Buyers

I’m a former buyer turned buying and brand consultant. I’ve been emailed, visited at work by eager brands, and stalked on social media. Here are 5 tips that will impact how you get noticed by prospective buyers:

1. Email is Cheap: Send something real.

Have great fabric swatches that you are using for F/W? Send a sample over with a personalized note card to the prospective buyer. Include a couple of sketches. This is personal, real and valuable. In essence, it is a pre-lookbook. If you are a new fashion brand its essential to make a great first impression.

email tips business advice

2. Speak Up:

Send something out to a buyer? Call and follow up. Leave a message requesting feedback. I can’t say how many times the second or third email actually got my attention. Buyers are extremely busy, so don’t always assume they saw your first email. Also, don’t hard sell your potential partner. If it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. But, they need to tell you that first. How to tell if you’re a good fit before getting the hard rejection? Visit the retail store or check out the e-commerce site. What are the price points and aesthetics of the store? Is your brand positioned at a luxury price point but the retailer offers affordable luxury? Check first. With small retailers across the country that don’t have online shops and aren’t in your immediate market, making the phone call is important. Remember. Both of you are after the same goal: to get the right product, at the right price to the right customer.

3. Time Is Precious:

Your time, their time, everyone’s time. Don’t contact the wrong person, don’t expect them to put you in touch with anyone. More importantly, don’t expect a response if you’re using an outdated email list. Buyer’s change like the seasons, and you need to double-check your lists via LinkedIn. Even calling the receptionist and asking to be transferred to your contact will tell you if they’re still in that position. Remember: the women’s designer is not the same as women’s contemporary, so do your homework.

marketweek buyer appointment new designers

4. Share Your News

Did you receive press lately? Was your brand just featured in a popular publication? Which celebrities are wearing your brand? Are you going to be at an upcoming tradeshow? Let the world know. Make sure to email your most recent press kit to potential buyers you met or spoke with. Nothing interesting going on? Don’t make something up.

5. Follow but DON’T Stalk

There is a distinct difference between following a buyer on Twitter and friending them on Facebook. Don’t engage on a professional level with someone, on a platform used for personal means. Example: If the buyer you want to reach out to has a personal non-work/industry related Instagram account, i.e. photos of her baby and friends don’t stalk her. If it is focused on fashion and work, then follow and engage away.

fashion avenue seventh avenue garment district

Getting in front of the right buyers is a combination of your brands perceived value + determination + longevity – too many emails + creativity. Perceived value can be a tough one to decipher. Think about how your brand firsts gets experienced online. Your logo, the navigation on your site, even the font, quality of photos and brand copy all add up to your brands perceived value. Perceived brand value can be thought of as everything ranging from your fabric to hangtags to where your products are made. Remember…you can only make so many first impressions! Need help building your pitch and sales strategy? Leave a comment for me below!

Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail, has championed the success of small to medium sized retail and fashion businesses internationally. Her co-authored book “The Fashion Designer’s Guide- CREATING FASHION WEBSITES THAT SELL- Your Step by Step Manual for Ecommerce Success” releases in February. From opening retail stores in New York to launching a brand from Bali, Syama has taken ideas and turned them into scalable and sustainable businesses. Syama has a background working at the merchandising offices at: Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife, Ann Taylor and Macy’s. Visit: Scalingretail.com and follow her on Twitter @ScalingRetail

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  • http://www.Melindesign.com/ Melindesign

    I love these tips! They could be applied to any entrepreneur. Always follow up, we can’t stress that enough. We assemble jewelry for designers and always remind the young designers to remember to send the line sheets. A sample (if they can). Keep a calendar, scheduled with alerts and reminders to update your contacts on what’s new and what’s happening with your product.

    • Syama Meagher

      A calendar is a great idea! I often suggest brands use free software like Streak or Boomerang to help with reminder emails. Sometimes its hard to remind yourself to follow up!

  • http://yonanewyork.com Nicole Alexander

    I would love some help building my pitch and sales strategy. Is there anyway I could get some guidance/mentoring?

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Create an Apparel Line That Attracts Buyers | Maker’s Row Blog

  • Ale bremer

    I would love to get in touch with you and get some insight on my brand’s strategy. Would really appreciate it!

  • Ram

    HI this post was really nice and helpful. I am from Illinois and our family business is garment manufacturing in India and supplying to Europe customer, I would like to know how I should find the buyers in USA. Can you please give me your suggestions or tips,

    • http://www.scalingretail.com Syama Meagher

      Hi Ram! Sorry I missed this comment! If you are in need of consulting assistance send me an email: Syama@ScalingRetail.com Thanks!

  • Phumelele Khona

    Hi, thanks so much for posting this, it is so helpful; I am based in Brooklyn, NY, debuted my S/S16 collection during NYFW fit press and now I’m at the point where I’m looking ways to expand from one local boutique in Brooklyn to other boutique. Here’s my website http://www.BlackPhumelele.com, please view it and give me some feedback.

    Phumie.

    • http://www.scalingretail.com Syama Meagher

      Hi Phumelele! Sorry I missed this comment! If you are in need of consulting assistance send me an email: Syama@ScalingRetail.com Thanks!

      • Phumelele Khona

        Hello I just saw this message, I will email you to the provided address.

  • Rachel Mansi

    I’d love some help with a sales strategy and pitch, if you’re available! I found this article extremely helpful and I’m looking forward to your book coming February.

    • http://www.scalingretail.com Syama Meagher

      Hi Rachel! Sorry I missed this comment! If you are in need of consulting assistance send me an email: Syama@ScalingRetail.com Thanks!

  • Emarvanay Cochran

    Hi Syama! Your article is very interesting, I’m in need of help with sales strategy and creating a pitch. I used a company from Makers Row to produce my jewelry line, check out my website (Emarvanaycollection.com) would love to see if you can mentor me.

    • http://www.scalingretail.com Syama Meagher

      Hi Emarvaney! Sorry I missed this comment! If you are in need of consulting assistance send me an email: Syama@ScalingRetail.com Thanks!

  • Jason Maderight

    I’ve been in Barney’s/ Saks and other big box retail meetings so let me first share a bit. #1 they buy with numbers. They have a set budget they’re spending based on last season’s sales. Then after analysis they’ll do some brand testing with a budget. They’re more likely to bring you in if you already have significant following, numbers in sales, numbers in social media, press articles. #2 grow within your immediate community. Stores care about sell-through. So, if you’re in one or two boutiques, get close with the store associates. they’re more likely to recommend your products when you’re not around. When you own that local area with real numbers, you have something more significant to show the next level of buyers. #3 Can you actually deliver? If you’re doing $100k in revenue, that’s GREAT. But, an order from Nordstom could be $500k, to be delivered in 6 months, how are you going to deliver on that order? It’s very likely it comes with cancellation buy back clauses that will put you out of business if you are late or if it doesn’t sell. If you’re a startup designer without connections, work hard, grow your brand story, get a few seasons in, get some volume in, and then consider hiring a rep. The first people you’ll show the business plan to will most likely be regional sales reps who already have those connections.

    • http://www.scalingretail.com Syama Meagher

      Thanks for your comment! As a former buyer at Barneys I can say that 80% of what i did was always fiscally based, big misconception between between what people think buyers do and what happens behind the scenes. But to get that first meeting can be tough! Kudos to you for your success.

    • Stefan Constandache

      Thanks for knowledge Jason, greatly appreciated!

    • http://www.fashionfromaz.com Rod Z.

      Thank you for sharing this! I think it’s just what text above needed to feel complete.

  • http://www.creativepile.com Julian

    Great article! Line sheets are very important when approaching retailers. Especially when emailing them. Here is a great article about line sheets that might help:http://www.creativepile.com/2016/07/24/what-is-a-line-sheet/

    Enjoy!

  • Stefan Constandache

    Hello Syama, my name is Stefan and i am currently working on my first fashion line! First off, i want to thank you for the information provided, i found it very helpful. I am currently in the stages of finishing my first samples and i could use some help and guidance. I am very ambitious and i want to this for the long run. However i could use some pointers and guidance from somebody with experience. Please let me know if you would be interested in a chat! Thank you!

  • Tomas Veres

    Please check our services, we offer fashion buyer list, http://www.igaffluentresearch.com