Apparel markets can be overwhelming with so many people, showrooms, products, and vendors all in one place. Here are some tips and tricks I have when it comes to tackling market and getting through with ease.
The first question I get asked is, where do I stay? Head to America's Mart website! They have a list of all the hotels to stay at within a block of the market. Plus, if you book through their website you will receive discounts for your stay. I have listed the website below.
Next question, when I purchase items at market when will they arrive? This process is actually very organized and you will be able to tell when items will arrive, even before purchasing. Near the clothing, usually on a sign listed above or next to the clothing racks, there are colors keys. Each color represents a time frame of when items will arrive at your store. As you are shopping all clothing will have a color tab on the hanger to indicate what date each item will be shipped to you. Some are immediate, indicating the items will be shipped to you as soon as the show is over. Others can go out as far as 6 months. One thing to remember is vendors will charge you for the items once they ship, not at the time of purchase!
The most common question I get asked is, what is required to get into market? The first thing I want to mention is, you have to be a retailer. To prove you're a retailer you have to provide one of these three items required to enter market; a business license, proof of website, or wholesale invoices. Once you have one of those documents you can either register online or at the door. Once you register for market you are allowed to bring up to two people with you, even kids! There is no admission price.
Question number four, how do I stay on budget? This is the biggest challenge when heading to market. There are millions of products in a huge building full of pretty things! My biggest tip is to always plan ahead and know your numbers! I offer a FREE budget spreadsheet I have used for years on my website. I also have a Youtube video that breaks down the spreadsheet and how to use it. I have linked the video below.
Last question, where do I even start? This building is huge!! It is 14 stories and has millions of shoes, garments, clothing, and accessories. My first tip is to start with your biggest lines. They are great at projecting trends and planning ahead for future seasons. It's also a good idea to get those numbers on your budget spreadsheet before heading to the remaining vendors. That way you can feel secure that your big vendors are taken care of and then fill in as needed. Next, head to your immediates. Immediates are lower-priced items that are fast fashion. They are going to be lines that you don't need a contract to purchase from, and have low to no minimums! Floors 1-5 are going to be immediate lines and the higher floors are going to be the bigger lines. Don't try to hit every floor and see every single thing in the building, it will not happen! Have a plan and stick to it!