Working with a Fashion Showroom

working with fashion showrooms

We discussed the pros and cons, as well as some of the business-related criteria worth considering in our recent article, “A Fashion Showroom: Good Idea for Your Business?”.

Once you have decided that you want to work with a showroom, you will next need to choose one to work with and then plan out how to work with that showroom.

Deciding on the Showroom

During the research phase and before you meet with a showroom, be sure to ask yourself these questions so you can find the right fit:

  • Who are their principle buyer contacts?
  • What other brands do they represent, and are the price points generally in line with my brand?
  • Where are their current brands stocked?
  • What geographical regions do they cover, and do they have partner offices?

Every showroom will have different strengths, so look at their sales and distribution channels very carefully to ensure alignment with your brand. Talking to other brands that have had experience working with showrooms you are interested in can provide you with useful insights.

Working with the Showroom

Working with a showroom is not just a contract – it’s a partnership. By claiming a percentage of sales, the showroom becomes an equity holder in your company.  You, as the owner of the brand, acquire a sales force, which is the face of your brand.

It is good practice to set precedents early on in regards to how you want the working relationship with the showroom to evolve. Here are some things to think about:

  • Clarify each of your responsibilities on a regular basis.
  • How often do you want to communicate: e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly?
  • How will you receive feedback from buyers to improve your brand?
  • How will you both measure progress and openly discuss what is and what is not working for your brand?

Remember that this is not a zero-sum game. If you do well, the showroom does well.  So, you both need to work to make the pie bigger rather than utilizing hardball negotiation tactics.

At the end of the day; however, there is one thing that trumps everything: trust. When you meet with the showroom team, you both have to be comfortable with working with each other over the long-term.

Have more questions about showrooms and sales reps?

The Showroom Skinny

Join us for TOMORROW’S webinar. You’ll learn:

  • If a showroom makes sense for your business
  • How to find the right showroom
  • What questions to ask before signing a contract
  • What to expect from your sales rep
  • How much you should expect to pay a showroom/sales rep
  • How to get the most out of your showroom/sales rep experience


Top image via zubrow
Showroom image via Erika Astrid

Kajal Sanghrajka

As the founder of Fashion Coefficient with a business background, a creative curiosity and love of working with designers, Kajal consults for independent brands on business planning, financials and operations.

1 Comment
  1. Veronica

    To have a show room I have found it quite challenging, FIRST OF ALL you need a good investment/capital to start with and of course the most important a NETWORK. Even fo saving you can start your showroom at home…
    After that, find two brand or more brands that have nice and easy contact with you. I can not name all the brands I have found, but to give an example there is a German brand called ‘herzens angelegenheit’ that is basically makes classy and simple items that are very easy to sale: DAILY BASICS, which means that I do not have to make too much effort to sale, the shirts and blouses are always IN, because of the simple design. My advise is to find clothing easy to sale and when the season is gone you can just save to the next year. Of course with a little discount, Right now there is the Fashion Pool in Hamburg 2015. A very nice way to start and visit the most High-Class brands. Good luck with the Show room and new business!

    Vero from Germany 🙂

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