Clothing boutique owners are retailers, because they purchase products for the purpose of selling them at a profit. A clothing boutique owner will purchase her products from manufacturers, distributors or importers who specialize in selling certain types of products for different types of consumers. For instance, a boutique owner who sells swimwear products will acquire contracts to purchase products from swimwear distributors or manufacturers.

Wholesale Manufacturers

Manufacturers produce products and sell them at wholesale prices to distributors. There are some wholesale manufacturers who sell their clothing lines directly to retailers. Retailers who purchase their products directly from manufacturers rather than working with merchant distributors typically pay lower prices for bulk items. Some manufacturers also require retailers to buy a minimum limit of products. Manufacturers who sell to retailers will require the store owners to comply with certain pricing standards when selling the clothes to end users.

Wholesale Distributors

Most clothing boutique owners purchase their products in bulk from merchant wholesale distributors. Wholesale distributors purchase the clothes from manufacturers and sell them at markup prices to retailers. Most retailers also mark up the prices before reselling the clothes to consumers. Distributors may specialize in purchasing certain types of wholesale clothes and certain brands. Boutique owners often have contracts with wholesale distributors, who ship the products directly to their stores at regular intervals. Some wholesale distributors also sell their products directly to consumers.

Trade Shows

Manufacturers and designers often sell their products to retailers at trade shows for wholesale prices. Industry trade publications show listings of all the vendors who will appear at each trade show. Vendors showcase their products, and retailers browse the items to determine which products will best fit their stores. Boutique owners can set up appointments with vendors to place orders directly with the manufacturers and purchase the products they want to sell in their stores.

Imported Products

Some boutique owners purchase their products directly from clothing importers. Imported clothes are designed and made in other countries, such as India and China. Import clothing buyers travel to other countries and purchase the garments from international clothing manufacturers and sell them directly to clothing boutiques. Alternatively, some clothing importers sell the clothes to domestic wholesale distributors, and the distributors resell the clothes to retailers.

Purchasing on Consignment

A clothing boutique owner may purchase products on consignment. The store owner does not pay the manufacturer of the products until they are sold. Depending on the consignment contract, the retailer pays a percentage of the price of items sold on consignment.