How to Start an Apparel Buying House

Clothing Showroom
After posting the article 10 small business ideas in the garment industry, I have received many emails from OCS fans on how to start a business on those given ideas.

One such query is how to start an apparel buying house? Instead of mailing notes to individuals, I am posting it here for all interested would-be entrepreneurs. It is all about how you can materialize your dream of setting up a small buying house for garment sourcing.

I had a discussion with one successful entrepreneur of a buying house on this topic. I had also gained knowledge when I was working with a number of buying houses, during my job in a garment export house. I will share a few points those are essential for starting a buying office. And I hope these notes might be helpful information for your business start-up. Actually, all the followings points are the primary requirement for starting a successful business.

An office: 

Initially, you don’t need a big office; you can start your business with 3-4 room office. It is essential to prove your existence in the business and a communication address.

Product development cell: 

You need to set a product development facility that may include designer(s), a sampling room and show room to display your products and developments. Develop your product range (product profile) with your creative team to attract your buyers.

Minimum working team: 

Develop a team with merchants, technical department and Quality Assurance team. Technical team would help your designer to develop products and sampling. Merchants will be required to day to day communication with your buyers and suppliers. Their job can be extended for sample development from supplier factories, sourcing of materials, providing approval to suppliers. Don’t forget to consider quality aspect of samples and production.

Supplier base development: 

Develop supplier base in your region or low cost clusters. Make your suppliers’ list as big as possible. There are many reasons of having large suppliers contact. You will get competitive price for production, you can cover wider range of products, have larger capacity for production for big buyers etc. In your supplier base include small supplier as well as medium to large manufacturer for social compliance point of view.

Sample development services for buyers: 

Many small buyers look for sample development facility in buying houses. You can do this job for buyers. Actually you don’t need to set up sampling room for this service. For buyer’s samples like FIT and SMS (salesman sample) instead of developing yourselves, go for samples are made by your suppliers, from where you are going to procure the order. Supplier would not disagree for the sampling, provided you would give them production orders. Tactic of earning from sampling services. For small number of samples, suppliers would not charge you. But you can charge for those samples from buyers.

Offer buyers a full package of sourcing orders. 

Buyer prefers buying houses that provide a complete solution for garment sourcing. Like
  • Product development
  • sampling, 
  • quality assurance and shipment inspection
  • Logistics and shipment

Good relation with buyers:

When you are going to start buying house, I assume that you have a contact / good relationship with some buyers. And you might know well about buyer’s behavior. Prepare yourself accordingly. I mean
  • Fabrics preferences
  • Product range
  • Costing procedures and achievable cost
  • Colours for various seasons

No contact with buyers?

If you have no contact with buyers, you can proceed with the following method
  • Develop your product range
  • Create a list of buyers that are sourcing similar to your product range
  • Contact buyers and show them your product range
  • Start your business
Related post: 5 Tips for conducting buyer meetings

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