How to obtain wholesale clothing

by S. Herlihy; Updated September 26, 2017
Buying wholesale clothing can enable your business to remain profitable.

The apparel industry is an important sector of the American economy. More than 750,000 people are employed in this field according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the most vital parts of the clothing industry are clothing retailers. Clothing retailers buy and sell clothing to the public. In order to do so they must obtain clothing in great quantities. Buying wholesale clothing at cheaper prices can help the retailer earn a profit.

Step 1

Determine what type of clothing you want to buy. Wholesale clothing includes many different types of items. You can choose to buy wholesale outwear such as hats and coats. You can also choose to buy dresses, shorts, shirts and skirts. Buy wholesale clothing for a specific season at least three months in advance. Orders for fall items should be placed no later than early June.

Step 2

Obtain an EIN. An EIN is an Employee Identification Number. The IRS assigns an EIN to people in business for tax purposes. You can get one for free from the IRS website. An EIN identifies you as a member of the apparel industry to other industry members. Some wholesalers will let you purchase from their stores without one. Many will not.

Step 3

Investigate wholesalers. Wholesale clothing retailers are quite varied. Some wholesalers specialize in a specific area of clothing such as sportswear or formal gowns. Others offer clothing for purchase in many different areas. If you are opening up a clothing store, you may have to work with many different wholesale clothing vendors in order to stock your store.

Step 4

Buy clothing. Many wholesale clothing vendors typically have both a retail store and a website. Buying from a retail store can be easier if you live near one. If you don’t have a wholesale clothing vendor in your area, you can still order items online. Look closely at the website. A site should have a picture of each item for sale. The site should also include a detailed description of the clothing offered including the type of material used, the sizes offered and the composition of details such as buttons and other fastenings.

Step 5

Place an order. Orders from retail stores can be delivered to your door if you don’t have a truck for larger items. Wholesale clothing orders can also be shipped to your address from a website. Allow at least a week for delivery.

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