Are you a clothing or accessories brand looking to stock at some of your favourite retailers? We get a lot of queries from designers asking about how they can be stocked on the site. We decided to provide a guide about what we look for at Ichyulu and we hope that this might be of use to all aspiring designers.
1. Product is important
You can have the greatest product in the world but if you do not have attractive pricing, you might struggle to attract retailers. It is important to understand how retailers work. Do they work on a wholesale basis or commission/consignment? If it is wholesale, make sure that you have at least standard wholesale pricing at a minimum. It can be frustrating for a retailer to reach out to a brand, ask if they have wholesale pricing and then see that there is no difference between the wholesale pricing and commission/consignment pricing. If you are not sure what wholesale pricing is, there are a lot of online resources available.
It is key for brands themselves to sell within the same recommended retail price (RRP) range that they provide to retailers. If a customer can buy directly from the brand at a cheaper price than from a retailer, it will not make financial sense for the retailer to buy from you. There can be small differences in the RRP and this is understandable but it should not be significantly different.
In Kenya, pricing is the main challenge that we encounter. Most brands actually retail to customers at a wholesale price and thus price out prospective retailers who work on a wholesale basis.
3. Brand assets
It is very difficult for a retailer to develop your brand’s identity for you. It is important to have your brand assets ready such as a working website, great photography and active social media. This means that a retailer can be listed on your website as a stockist, can understand your product line through the photos and see what type of community you have developed via social media.
Retailers love brands that have great marketing as that often drives traffic to them as customers look out for where they’re stocked. Retailers love it even more if they notice that brands often publicise where they are stocked.
4. Product samples
As much as possible, try to find a way for the retailer to see your samples in person. If this is not possible, great photos are best. At Ichyulu, we are happy to assess products through photos. Photos can be very revealing for retailers as make sure your sample garments are well made. If the quality of finishing is not very good, this will show up in the photos.
5. Have your linesheets ready
You should have your linesheet available which contains the critical information about your brand. The linesheet should include high quality product photos (front and back), sizing, wholesale pricing, recommended retail price, minimum order quantity, production timelines, payment conditions and order information.
6. Make your pitch
We would recommend that you do your research before making your pitch. Make sure you understand how the retailer fits within the broader retail landscape. For example, if the retailer you are interested in prefers to stock brands you can not find everywhere, if you are already stocked in several retailers within the same town/area, it might not be the best fit.
7. Do not lose hope
Be aware that retailers receive a lot of requests from designers and that you might not always get a response or acknowledgement. Do not lose heart about this, as it is a common occurrece. It is better to keep the retailer up to date with your new collections and continue sending through your linesheets. If they like you product and everything else aligns with them, they might eventually get in touch.