How to find consistent and reliable sources for merchandise

One of the reasons people ask me about cutting out middlemen is because they want to find continuous and reliable merchandise sources.

Oh this is funny.

I mean, it’s not funny and I’m not trying to mock anybody but anybody who has dealt in the off price market long enough knows there is absolutely no such thing as continuous and reliable sources of merchandise from a particular brand. You get what you can get when you can get it. That’s the nature of the business. Anyone who ever asks me about this I tell them if they need continuous and reliable steady supply of anything, they need to be in regular retail buying at full wholesale and selling at full retail because that’s really the only way to get it.

A jobber might get a killer deal on a brand and buy 30,000 pieces of some to die for merchandise. And then the company has nothing to sell them for months, nothing good for months, even a year or longer. Designers are not in the business of manufacturing merchandise to sell to jobbers, therefore jobbers exist solely to absorb the inefficiencies in the business (excess product manufactured, irregulars, cancelled orders, returned merchandise, etc.). This makes it entirely a market of opportunity. When they get the opportunity they buy the merchandise, when you get the opportunity you buy the merchandise. And there is no crystal ball to predict when the next opportunity can present itself.

Now some companies may have ongoing arrangements with a jobber because they consistently have excess stock available. But in all reality, their ultimate goal is to manufacture and sell more efficiently to minimize this occurrence. So, for the most part, the availability of specific brands of specific merchandise tends to be sporadic, or opportunistic as I like to call it.

So if you’re looking to get style X from brand X and get X number of pieces each and every month, you’d be so much better off as a regular retailer than trying to hack it in the off price market. To really make it in this market, you need to be able to spot an opportunity and take advantage of it when it arises and have something to get you through the times when the opportunities are not as abundant.