7 Tips for Buying Wholesale Inventory

There is a lot to consider when it comes to buying wholesale inventory. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind.

If you own a boutique, you know your customers like to see something new each time they visit. They get bored easily, it seems. For you, running a business is mostly just that, running a business. It’s the behind-the-scenes activities that take up most of your time and effort. You may have even been sticking with the same brands and the same supplier because right now, it is just easier. Or you may feel obligated to maintain the relationship you’ve taken a long time to develop.

Your customers aren’t thinking about the business, however. They are thinking about trends, fads, and looking hot on their weekend date. Whether they are rushing in for a new Friday night outfit or shopping for a whole new wardrobe, they are searching for something that will make them stand out from the crowd (in a good way).

Buying wholesale inventory for your boutique is a must. Doing it the right way so that you and your customers benefit from various styles and brands can get tricky. Below are 7 tips to help you succeed and maintain good relations with everyone involved.

1. Talk to Your Wholesale Supplier

Your wholesaler may access brands and labels not currently listed on their site. Communicate with them and explain your customer’s desire for something new. Your conversation may encourage them to add brands to their supply list. Or they may be able to refer you to another wholesaler.

You will feel good about moving forward because you have been upfront with the supplier you have grown to trust. Plus, wholesale suppliers like JSMALL  have great relationships with manufacturers. They are happy to share new trends in clothing and accessories coming from the maker, giving you the inside scoop and an edge over your competitors.

2. Keep Good Records

No matter where you buy your inventory, track it. From the moment you open your boutique doors, you must start keeping track of the brands you sell, where you got them, costs, and if they sold. You could expand the information you track to include the quality of items if they were marketed correctly, shipping, and more.

Choosing software that makes it easy to track and manage inventory will save you time and money.

3. Join The Group

Join the supplier’s social media group if you want access to more brands and supplier networking. For example, JSMALL  has a Facebook page with over 1000 followers. That’s a lot of free feedback on items the wholesaler posts. You get to read others’ comments and how customers from outside your zip code respond to new clothing and accessories. You can get great ideas on how to sell new products in your boutique. You can connect with other boutique owners too.

When joining a group, make sure it is the wholesale group. You’ll know it is if they ask you for a vendor number or sales tax ID.

4. Don’t Go Halves on an Order

I’m sure it is tempting. You are friends with other boutique owners. You start talking about splitting an order to save on costs, time, and inventory. This starts sounding like a partnership after a while, which is known to end badly. One person usually does all the work, pays the most money, or gets stuck with inventory. Rather than risk having a bad experience and losing a relationship, avoid splitting orders.

If you need a smaller batch, ask your wholesale supplier if you can purchase less. Many suppliers are happy to provide small-batch orders.

5. Attend Wholesale Markets

Attending a wholesale market is exciting and fun for the first few hours. Then you must get down to business. You want to make sure you accomplish things while at the market, like checking in with your number one wholesale supplier. Meeting in person strengthens the relationship.

Plan your market trip. Look at the layout and find the suppliers you want to visit. Create questionnaires to fill out with the information you need to know to make the best decisions. Don’t feel pressured to decide on the spot or even while at the market event. Gathering data is the primary goal.

6. Don’t Be A Design Thief

Whether you are at a market event or searching the internet, the designs you see belong to someone else. Sure, you may be talented enough and have the right equipment to copy a design to sell in your boutique, but it’s just not cool. Some designers put copyright or trademarks on their work. This means they could sue you if they discovered you are profiting from their design.

Also, don’t buy from a wholesale supplier who steals designs. There are many companies out there who try to knock off original designs. A good supplier appreciates creative control and highlights the talents of designers. They don’t steal from them. At Wholesale Fashion Square, we value integrity, and it shows in our products.

7. Choose Wholesalers That Offer Lower Minimums

For small boutique owners, ordering the minimums doesn’t always make sense. Your customer base may not even match the minimums yet. Instead, work with suppliers who cater to boutiques, like JSMALL. They offer small batch ordering to test the waters with a new product and then put in a quick reorder if it is a hit with your customers. If it’s not a hit, then you aren’t stuck with too much inventory.

Even when ordering small batches, it’s essential to know how to calculate your order to meet demand. Here are some tips for deciding the minimum order quantity.

  • forecast demand
  • figure out your break-even point
  • understand your holding costs, or what it will cost you to store the items
  • know how you can boost inventory turnover


Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. At JSMALL, we welcome inquiries from buyers. We want to help your boutique succeed.

We look forward to helping you make your customers happy.


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