Why you need a strong brand presence before approaching retail buyers
We’ve all heard the saying "build it and they will come” and that’s especially true in retail fashion. Building a strong brand presence is the first step towards attracting your ideal retail buyer and in turn, this will put you on the right track to launching your wholesale business.
In the past building a strong brand presence involved investment in advertising and PR, but in this age of technology where anyone can launch a business within five minutes, it's social proof that will help you to stand out from the noisy masses of wannabe brands and give you a dominating competitive advantage. So what is social proof? It quite simply means identifying your unique selling point (USP) and telling people all about it. Your USP could be related to your brand heritage like Louis Vuitton founded in 1854 and leveraging this heritage through famously monogrammed leather goods; maybe it’s the materials you use, take American based fashion brand Reformation for example who produce their beautiful garments using sustainably sourced dead-stock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. You might also want to focus on the charitable aspects that you support, and a brand like Toms with a one-for-one model is a great example of this strategy. Whatever your story is, get it out on social media and let it start conversations. This is vitally important as retailers will look at your social media platforms to see if your customers are engaging with you and whether they are having a positive experience with your brand.
To build social proof I strongly recommend creating great content and investing in producing beautiful campaigns and supporting imagery from the beginning. Retailers, just like consumers, gravitate towards inspiring, high-quality images that boost the perception of your brand, proving you have what it takes. Retailers also know that it will be easy for them to promote your brand once they become a retail partner/stockist because you’ve already done the hard yards and invested in strong brand assets that they can then use to promote you online and in store.
And don’t forget to show some love to your online store as it's your main sales channel and the face of your brand. It needs to not only look great but also be highly functional, because if it's easy for the consumer to buy from you online then retailers will also assume that the wholesale order taking process will be seamless. In other words, make their lives easier and you’ll be kicking goals!
So to summarise, start building your brand presence through social proof and when you’ve proven yourself the retailers will come!