In general, people prefer to do
business with those that they perceive
as being experts in their field.

Picture a department store 
buyer that is looking for
a closeout deal to 
increase sales.

The department store
buyer is more likely
to follow the advice
of a closeout broker
that has been doing
business for 10 years
than to a seller that just
started her business.

And the reality is that
the closeout seller that
just started her business
might know a lot more
than the closeout broker.

But since the broker will
be perceived as more 
of an expert he is 
likely to get the order.

If you want to have a better chance
of attracting customers to your
business, whether you have
a retail or wholesale business,
you have a better chance of doing it
if you are perceived as someone
that is very knowledgeable about the
fashion business.

Since the process of buying
fashion merchandise can be
complicated, buyers want to
know that they are dealing with someone
that can give them reliable advice.

For instance, if a boutique
owner from Texas is visiting the
New York Fashion district,
which wholesaler would she
rather deal with, one who
can barely explain the differences
in dress styles, or one that
can make recommendations
based on his sales to other
boutiques in Texas?

Or for another example,
if you walked into a store
and wanted to buy a
Calvin Klein women's suit,
how impressed would you
be if the salesperson started
telling you why the material
is ideal for the summer weather
in your specific city?

The idea is to become an
authority in the product
segment that you are selling.

People can instantly tell when they
are dealing with someone that
has genuine experience in the
fashion business.

Its their vocabulary, their confidence,
their advice, and their vibe, that help
us decide if someone is
really an expert.

You can take two approaches
to be perceived 
as a trusted fashion seller,
and I would recommend
that you implement both
of them.

The first approach is to
learn everything there is to
know about the topic.

You can pick up trade magazines
that cover the clothing industry,
such as the Apparel Magazine,
you can subscribe to
wholesale magazines such
as Web Wholesaler,
you can read fashion publications
such as Glamour or Vogue,
and you can purchase books
on the clothing business such
as How To Get Dressed by
Alison Freer.

The key is to approach your
education on the fashion business
the same way a Harvard MBA student
would explore the world of mergers,
or an Albert Einstein medical student would explore
the latest news on blood pressure drugs.

The second approach is to immerse yourself
in the industry, and gain your knowledge
base through trial and error.

I know that this can be the most daunting
approach, but ultimately it's
the best one.

There is no better teacher than
the experience that comes from
taking action.

If you want to advise flea market
vendors on the flea market
business then you need to 
be a flea market vendor yourself
first.

If you want to advise
exporters on selling merchandise
to Africa, then you need to sell
merchandise yourself to Africa.

Thankfully I have had many
retailers from Africa
shop at my closeout warehouse,
and those interactions
have given me some
great ideas that share
with my African wholesale
buyers.

I can advise African retailers
on which dress styles
have the most appeal,
and which brands are the
most in demand.

And it's not just store owners
from Africa that I have developed
experience in doing business with, but also
with store owners from the United
States, the Caribbean, Latin America,
and the Middle East.

I know that many professors
can become experts in their
fields without actually working
in them, but I do believe
that the professors that have
worked in their respective
fields can provide an
even better education to
their students.

The same concept applies
in the wholesale and retail
business, regardless of
whether you are dealing with
importers, eBay sellers,
or Amazon FBA sellers.

This doesn't meant that
you have to actually fully
immerse yourself full time in
any specific fashion business.

Just because you want
to wholesale Calvin Klein
dresses to Amazon sellers
doesn't mean that you
need to have to become
a full time Amazon seller.

But it does mean that you
should try to spend time
buying and selling products
in the segment that your
customers do business in.

If you cannot pursue either
of these two approaches
I would recommend that you
hire someone that can, or
has already.

There are many retired business
executives that have years of experience
in the fashion business.

You can hire one of these executives,
or you can hire someone that
is actively working for a
clothing company.

I would recommend finding
someone that has worked
in the heart of the New York Garment
District, or in another international
garment center, since they will
have been exposed to many
facets of the industry.

There are also networking
events where you can meet
designers and share ideas
with them.

Simply meeting designers
and listening to their ideas
and experiences can help
you make your way to becoming
an expert.

You can approach fashion trade
associations such as The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA),
or the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and
ask to be introduced to designers, garment manufacturers,
and distributors.

Another way, which is a lot more simple,
is to visit clothing showrooms in the New York Fashion District,
or in the fashion center of your choice,
and simply discuss the industry with the
people that you will meet.

You can go to showrooms for internationally
known brands such as Tahari, 
or to showrooms for boutique labels
such as Tally Taylor.

If you do travel to Brooklyn you are welcome
to visit my closeout warehouse.

I might be busy depending on the time
that you come, but I am always happy to
speak with people that interested
in the clothing business.