The first wholesale product

that I ever sold when I first started my

closeout business was socks.


To be more specific, the first

product was actually socks for

children.


I had contacted a sock mill

in Fort Payne, Alabama,

made a deal with them,

and suddenly I was the proud

owner of 3,000 dozen kids socks.


Before the majority of the sock

production was moved over to

Pakistan, Fort Payne, Alabama

was known as the sock

capital of the world.


The socks were really beautiful,

they were American made,

and if my memory is right they

were made out of 100% cotton.


Although I was pretty new to the

business, actually I was brand new

to the business, I had fortunately

gotten a really good wholesale price.


So while I potentially could 

make a decent profit on the socks

I had one major challenge.


That challenge was that I

had not fully thought through

how I was going to sell the 

merchandise that I had just bought.


This was before I even had a website

or an email list.


So my first step was to call a street 

market vendor that I had met and

offer him the socks.


My luck at the time was that

he had decided to take a 

break from his business.


So I know had over 

36,000 pairs of wholesale

kids socks, and not even

a single potential customer.


So what would you

have done?


I decided to load up

my Ford Windstar

minivan with 5 cases of

socks and headed out on

the road.


Each case contained 

20 dozen socks, and since

each package had 6 pairs

I had 40 packages in each

case.


Since each case had specific

size and color pattern 

combination, I had to make

sure to have a good selection

in my Ford Windstar

minivan before heading out.


My goal was to simply

sell 100 dozen socks a day

and start again the next day.


Fortunately New York

is saturated with retailers

so there were plenty of

potential wholesale accounts

I could call upon.


I soon discovered that

when you literally have no contacts

with retailers, even selling

100 dozen socks can be challenging.


But fortunately little by little

I started developing relationships

with clothing stores, discount stores,

and .99 stores.


Actually to fast forward for a second,

one of the first discount stores that

I sold to, it was on

the intersection of 18th Ave and McDonald Ave

in Brooklyn, New York, later on

became a customer of my closeout warehouse in

Brooklyn.


It was a nice surprise, and I

reminded the store owner

that he was one my first customers.


He was really honest, 

and good for his word.


One time I came with a

delivery of socks,

but he was at a funeral,

and he still had his sales girl

pay for the order.


I then had an e-commerce store

created for my business,

closeoutexplosion.com, and

started receiving wholesale orders

from out of state.


As a matter of fact, my

first online wholesale order was

for 20 dozen socks from a

boutique in North Carolina.


As the kids socks business progressed

I started expanding my product line

and included sports socks for men and

women, Fruit of the Loom t-shirts,

and eventually overstock

brand name clothing.


Today I specialize in

brand name dresses, suits,

and other women's clothing

by designers such as 

Tahari, Calvin Klein,

Nine West, London Times,

and R&M Richards.


If you are just starting out

opening up your own store,

or you're already a veteran of the

retail business, I would like to

share with you some tips.


#1. Be persistent. 

The more effort and time you put into

your business, the likely you are to

eventually become successful.

I know that nothing is certain,

but being persistent

can increase the odds in your

favor.


#2. Be flexible in your product selection.

I would have been able to grow my

business faster if I had taken

on different wholesale products

right from the beginning.


#3. Keep an organized list of

all your contacts. 

This way you can always reach out

to wholesale and retail

buyers when you have the type of

merchandise that they are looking for.


#4. Use every sales channel that is

available to you.

Set up your own website, put up

auctions on eBay, become an Amazon FBA seller,

rent a space at your local flea market, 

open a boutique, etc.


#5. Keep on growing your knowledge

base. 

Attend trade shows, subscribe to

retail magazines, participate in

wholesale forums, and network

with vendors in the closeout business.


#6. Always search for new closeout products.

You might be surprised

that your current supplier can give you access to

additonal closeout merchandise,

or at minimum might be able to refer you

another vendor that has a great selection

of inventory for your shop.


#7. Try to focus on long term relationships

with your customers and suppliers.

The lifetime value of a customer

is worth a lot more than the value of a one time

sale, and so is the long term value of a 

reliable and good supplier.


#8. Visit the New York Fashion District.

I've been involved in the closeout industry

for a decent amount of time

and I still find it beneficial to 

visit the NYC Fashion District.

I can discover new products,

find new customers for my

merchandise, and learn about

new fashion trends in the clothing

market.


For example, you want to

know if there is a surge in demand

for R&M Richards dresses or

Calvin Klein suits.


This way you can effectively

respond and start ordering

R&M Richards and Calvin Klein

clothes.


If you cannot visit New York's

wholesale garment market, you can find

websites that can give you access

to the vendors and designers

that operate in it.


As a side note, the center is also

known as the New York Garment Center.


There are also many other fashion

wholesale markets in major international

cities such as LA, Miami, Dubai, and Milan,

and Hong Kong.


#9. Make it a regular practice

to visit wholesale websites to see

what new products they introduce,

and to keep track of the going

wholesale prices being charged

for different fashion items.


#10. It's a good idea

to visit local clothing boutiques

and department stores to stay

up to date with the prices being

charged for designer dresses, suits,

skirts, blouses, etc.


You want to ensure that you

are selling your apparel at 

competitive prices by

knowing how much your

competitors are charging.


You can also do much of this

research online since major 

retailers like Macy's, JC Penney, 

and Sears, all have e-commerce

sites.