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
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
I decided to load up
my Ford Windstar
minivan with 5 cases of
socks and headed out on
Each case contained
20 dozen socks, and since
each package had 6 pairs
I had 40 packages in each
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
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,
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
#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
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
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
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