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How To Find A Wholesale Distributor For Your Clothing Store (Tips & Tricks)

How To Find A Wholesale Distributor For Your Clothing Store  (Tips & Tricks)

Anyone who works in the fashion retail business is well aware of the fierce rivalry among business owners. This is because having a wholesale distributor provides many opportunities to business owners like you, ranging from a steady income stream to lots of room for expansion!

But of course, the biggest challenge is that you can’t sell something you don’t have. Therefore, as a store owner, one of the first steps in running a successful clothing store is finding the perfect supplier you can trust and rely on.

In this article, we’ll discuss five pointers to help you discover the best wholesale distributor for your business. Furthermore, we’re going to share some of our secret tricks that might work for you!

What Is A Wholesale Distributor?

The wholesale distribution sector is a critical component in the global supply chain, transporting the vast majority of items between business partners worldwide.

As of December 2020, the wholesale distribution business employed 5.68 million people in the United States, accounting for 3.6 percent of all private jobs.

The Future Of Commerce

A wholesale supplier is an enterprise that purchases products directly from manufacturers and redistributes them to retailers for a profit.

Wholesale distributors, in other words, are the supply chain’s gatekeepers.

These companies work in an introductory manner: they purchase goods in bulk from producers at a lower cost, then resell them to local retailers or merchants. This technique allows them to earn a large sum of money while maintaining a low-risk margin.

Reasons To Use A Wholesale Distributor

Reasons To Use Wholesale Distributors

As a small business owner, selling wholesale items from suppliers is the safest way to grow your firm because your logistical and financial resources are limited.

However, while selling items directly to end users may be the most cost-effective approach to generate money, there are several compelling reasons to employ distributors to get your products into the market.

Here are some more distribution advantages:

1. Business expansion potential

Having a wholesale distributor can provide you with plenty of opportunities for business expansion.

For example, let’s say you want your brand to enter the Australian market. An international distributor can introduce you to a network of Australian retail stores. Furthermore, they can provide you with information on what sells the most in an Australian-based consumer range.

2. Availability of market research

A wholesale distributor can gather relevant information from your end users. This is crucial if you want to do market analysis on a current product or receive feedback on new concepts you’re working on.

Therefore, using a distributor’s vast network of retail clients is an excellent way for you to strategize and stay up with customer preferences.

3. Customer engagement

When you work with a distributor, you may easily reach a large audience to increase client visibility or a niche target audience without conducting any market research.

4. Less administrative fees

A supplier’s primary business framework is to generate and distribute products. Consequently, you may reach many retail outlets through distribution without investing any of your company’s funds in creating and maintaining that network.

5 Ways To Find The Perfect Wholesale Distributor For Your E-Commerce Clothing Store

5 Ways To Find The Perfect Wholesale Distributor For Your E-Commerce Clothing Store

In the United States, wholesale commerce is valued at about half a trillion dollars each year, and it has increased by more than 11% in the last five years.

Fred Economic Data

These are staggering figures, which is why more retailers are vying for a slice of the online economic pie. But again, you can’t sell what you don’t have.

So, where can you start?

First, you must determine what items you wish to offer and whether they are compatible with your brand. Once you know exactly what you want to market, here are some pointers to help you select the best wholesale apparel for your retail or online business:

Step 1: Learn the industry’s distribution channels

There are several routes for wholesale apparel to reach retailers from suppliers. However, you must first understand the clothing industry’s distribution networks.

Clothing wholesalers often service a variety of markets within the clothing industry.

Wholesale Clothing Distribution Channels
Clothing Distribution Channels (click to zoom)

Because of this, understanding the various supply chains or distribution channels will make selecting the right wholesale clothing supplier for you much more manageable.

Step 2: Build your online and offline networks to connect with a wholesale distributor

The Internet is a terrific place to look for wholesale suppliers. However, other retailers may be hesitant to share their supplier information with competitors. This means that not all data are available online.

If you’re just starting in the clothing business, it could be better to leverage your networking skills to get insider knowledge on the best wholesalers.

For example, you may try cultivating relationships with industry insiders. Moreover, participating in online forums and updating your social media profiles can help you swiftly establish such relationships.

In the end, the jig is ultimately yours!

Step 3: Get your trade show applications in!

Trade shows are crucial occasions where retailers may speak with suppliers directly. This is quite beneficial since you gain personal knowledge about the articles of clothing that piqued your attention.

If you aren’t able to find the right distributor for you, trade shows are still an excellent opportunity for you to expand your industry knowledge base and gain more connections.

Step 4: Have clear-cut criteria for potential distributors

Since you’ll most likely work with a wholesale distributor for quite some time, you need to establish trust and credibility.

Here are a few things to bear in mind to help you narrow down your options:


Some websites have a disproportionate amount of knockoffs and low-quality stuff. There, do your homework before you’re trapped with hundreds of low-quality items.


Take careful notes on costs and take into account that everything is negotiable. Remember: the larger the order, the greater the discount.

Customer Service or Support

Who will fix things if something goes wrong? Customer service is crucial in dropshipping, so you should only engage with reputable suppliers.

Step 5: Ask the right questions

Now that you’re almost set, it’s time to ring those wholesale distributors’ phones and initiate a kick-off!

This is when you must ask straightforward, open-ended questions to determine the best supplier to negotiate with. We’ve listed some of the questions you might be looking for answers to:

1. “What are the minimum order quantities?”

What would you do if you require at least 50 shirts, but the supplier only gives discounts on purchases beyond the 500-piece threshold?

2. “How much does each unit cost?”

The more you order, the cheaper your cost per unit (CPU).

But take note, especially if you’re just starting: avoid ordering more than you require. Otherwise, you could end up with a significant excess and a loss!

3. “How does the return policy work?”

Will you or the wholesaler be responsible for the cost of returning the bulk order if there is a problem?

PRO TIP: Reduce risk and loss by selecting a provider with a solid accountability policy.

4. “What is the lead time?”

Prolonged delays result in dissatisfied consumers.

So, when you’re asking inquiries, remember to check the lead time on a product. Basically, this will help you manage client expectations and avoid keeping them waiting indefinitely.

5. “Do you have liability insurance?”

If a supplier doesn’t have liability insurance, this should raise the alarm for you.

Liability insurance is meant to protect you if a client is injured due to faulty or damaged items you sold them. Thus, if your supplier isn’t covered, continue with extra care.

wholesale distributors - clothing


Having a dependable supplier to deal with is the first step to having a successful wholesale clothing business. After all, such a relationship is associated with various benefits, such as business expansion potential, availability of market research, customer engagement, and less administrative fees.

However, finding a reliable source of high-quality products has never been easy. Thankfully, there are effective ways to discover the best wholesale distributor for your business. In this article, we put together five pointers to help you in your search:

Do you have any questions about how to find a wholesale distributor? Or do you want to learn more about Wholesale Suite. Send us a message or leave a comment below; we’d love to hear from you!   

author avatar
Belle Berber Writer, Content Manager

One thought on “How To Find A Wholesale Distributor For Your Clothing Store (Tips & Tricks)

  1. I’m looking for suppliers who can offer athletic apparel. I’m looking for name brand apparel as well as team apparel.

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