Are You Frustrated Because Retailers Are Not Responding?

frustratedThe waiting game. We’ve all played a round or two and it never gets easier, no matter how the circumstances change.

Whether we’re waiting for a call back after a job interview, a letter of acceptance from a college or university, or if we’re waiting on a retailer to get back to us with an order for our designs, there are endless hours of nail biting, pacing the floor, and jumping out of our skin when the phone rings.

But, what could be the reason for the hold up?

Here are a couple of explanations about why you may still be waiting with sweaty palms next to the phone for a retailer you’ve pitched to get back to you:

They’re busy.  

No, really. While it may not be a very good excuse, the life of a boutique owner is a whirlwind of activity at all times. Typically working 80+ hour weeks with just a few staff members, retailers are owners, operators, accountants, buyers, merchandisers and customer service specialists.

They have to-do lists that stretch for days. It’s possible that your name is on one of those lists and they just haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and reach out to you. In this case, it’s really not you, it’s them. If a couple of weeks have passed and you haven’t heard anything, following up could make all the difference.

Did you send a thank you note (handwritten, not via email) to thank the retailer for their time? If not, try this approach first and if you still don’t get any response give them a call and see if you may be able to have a meeting over the telephone. Even if the worst case scenario is true and they’re not interested, any feedback they can offer is extremely valuable as you continue on with trying to find a potential buyer.

You’re just not the right fit.

Ask yourself how much preparation and research you did before you went into your appointment. Be honest. Is the retailers’ customer a reflection of the target market you’re designing for?

While you may have made an impression with a killer presentation of your line, the buyer just doesn’t see your designs appealing to their customers. It’s crucial for you to find out about the demographics beforehand so you’re educated and know what will appeal to the retailer. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by not doing your homework before scheduling appointments with buyers.

You didn’t demonstrate value for the retailer during your pitch.

Having an amazing brand is great, but the key to landing the deal is relaying to the buyer what’s in it for them. How will they profit from carrying your line? Will it entice additional customers, higher transactions, or introduce them to a new group of clientele? Make sure you’re clearly communicating the value of doing business with you throughout your presentation.

They’ve done all of their buys for this season.

The fashion industry, as we all know, is forever changing. A good buyer is like a good scout for a sports team, they are constantly searching for the next best thing. Even though traditional buying times (or trade deadlines) are over, they may be interested in meeting with you mid-season to see what you have to offer in case they can put your line on their radar for next season.

You never know when circumstances may change. Even though you haven’t heard back from them today, there may be an opportunity for you to come on board in the near future. The important thing here, assuming you’ve done your research and the appropriate follow-ups, is to stay positive and when the time is right you will be the first person in mind when they’re ready to place an order.

Getting a face to face meeting with a buyer is challenging, but getting them to sign on the dotted line is even more difficult. It takes practice, persistence and patience.

Are you frustrated because you haven’t heard back from a buyer or retailer?

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Dominique Leger

Dominique is a graduate of the Fashion Marketing and Merchandising program from Toronto’s International Academy of Design and Technology. She has a decade of experience in the fashion industry working as both a Retail Manager and a Visual Merchandising Manager.

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