When you’re launching a new online boutique, it’s important to find trustworthy vendors who will actually work with you.
I get a ton of emails about what questions to ask a potential wholesale supplier or vendor before placing an order.
But when you apply to work with a vendor, they have their own set of criteria to see if your boutique is a good fit for them.
So what exactly do wholesalers consider when reviewing an application from a new boutique?
Well, you’re in luck!
Guest expert Susan Anderson is the the USA Brand Manager for Blade and Rose, one of the childrenswear lines featured in our best-selling Infant & Children’s Wholesaler List.
I asked her some key questions to help you establish and maintain great relationships with your future vendors, especially when you’re just starting out!
1. Should the website be ready before they reach out?
As an online boutique, yes, it’s really important to make a good first impression.
It only takes us a few minutes to set up a new account and provide you [the retailer] with an online sign in and password.
So we’re really looking for partners that would put our brand in it’s best light while we do our job of providing the highest quality products that your customers expect.
2. What are some common questions you get that new boutique owners would want to be aware of?
New boutique owners should ask about minimum orders, reorder minimums, and how to properly fill the payment form. It’s also important to know how to set up Net 30 terms (if interested). Plus, knowing any additional terms and conditions and return policies up front will help.
You should also inquire about where the products are shipped from. You have to set realistic expectations for your customers, that’s a key to your success.
Blade and Rose is an English brand, but we ship from Los Angeles where we have a fulfillment center for our products.
Finally, ask if 3rd party website sales are allowed (i.e. Amazon). You want to make sure that you and your vendor clash as little as possible so it’s really important to ask the right questions.
3. Are you interested in knowing the other brands that they plan to carry? If so, why?
Yes, we want to know what other brands the boutique will carry. Our goal is to have a successful relationship with a new partner. It doesn’t make sense for us to have direct competitors on the same site.
New boutique owners should want to have brands who fit specific niches, sizes and styles. This lets you offer the right variety for their customers and also ensures that vendors are excited to continue working with you.
4. How can a new boutique create a great ongoing relationship with a wholesale brand?
We value long term partners because they really act as an ambassador for our brand.
Boutiques that work with us for a while understand the garment quality and our commitment to customer service
At Blade and Rose, we go above and beyond for our partners who support us. We offer exclusive specials, provide photos for promotion on the website or social media, and even samples of the next season’s pre-orders.
5. Do you have any additional tips?
Make sure you ask any potential brand partner about the level of quality they offer. If they don’t have an answer for you, you may want to reconsider using them.
For example, our sunglasses are polarized with UVA/UVB protection and our toys are CE tested and certified for safety.
You want to make sure you’re getting the best products so that you make more happy customers.