What are the best-kept secrets to finding new wholesale accounts?

01P0325Okay I hear you!  You want to know creative ways you can find new wholesale accounts while doing it all yourself!   This is still exciting for me because when I started my first handbag line 13 years ago…..there was no social media, no google and barely anyone had a website and stores were not on email yet.  We had to snail mail all our catalogs – no zip it and email back then…….and this was not that long ago.

In my company we are always looking for new stores.  It is something we (well my sales staff to be honest) do every day. Even if it’s only for an hour, we find at least 5 new stores a day to contact. They don’t all bite, but we make the effort……every day!  To keep all this organized, we use Palm desktop.  Just google it and you can find a free download.  It’s a great program and keeps all our stores organized by prospective customer, current customer, website, etc….

1.  So my favorite thing to do is to look at my competitor’s websites. You know by now that I don’t really see people as competitors, but rather as a minor challenge to overcome and surpass.  Everyone likes to brag and show off how many stores they are selling to so the pickings are there for the taking.  Just go visit a few and you will be jumpin’ for joy when you hit the jackpot.  Just download the list and start calling to get the buyers name and be sure it is the right store for your product. YES – this takes time, but Rome was not built in a day and neither can your business flourish overnight.  This is blood, sweat and sales baby!

2.  Another fun one is to google google google.  Give these a whirl and see what comes up.  Get the picture?  Try it gs244095with and w/o quotes around the phrase.  You get different results.

Boutiques Atlanta (or whatever city)
Dog Boutiques Boulder
Lingerie shops Baltimore
Citysearch  + city of your choice
City/shopping  ex:  Charleston/shopping
Chamber of commerce + city – some of them have a shopping tab

3.  Check out magazines on the rack or other online resources.    Magazines list retailers either on the page with the item or in the shopping guide in back…..really useful to check those out.
Here are two online resources we use:

4.  One more recently discovered tip is to use Tweepsearch.  Enter in specific search terms and see if anyone on twitter has boutiques that are right for you. You can also build your twitter followers this way and reach your target market faster.

Here are some examples of things we use to search for stores:

Clothing boutique
Baby boutique
Gift Boutique

Email me back with any suggestions you have or tips I can share with everyone!

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    Written by Sarah Shaw

    There are 5 comments

  • Sarah, Once again your blog is awesome. I have been doing this with twitter, but the search engine you recommend is 120% better than the one I was using. Thanks again for some valuable information for a start up company like Lizzie Lou Shoes.

  • Maythi says:

    Thank you for all the amazing tips & suggestions. Going to try Palm desk right away! I agree with Sheena, this is wonderful information for start up companies. We do a lot of pavement pounding for sure!

  • Sarah,

    Yep, I totally agree with you. Back when I was pitching wholesalers, Google was my best friend. Armed with websites and email addresses, I pitched to my heart’s content and landed most of my first stores that way.

    I’ll check out Palm desk – I used to just create my own wholesale pitch tracking sheet using Excel.

    Thanks for the tips! As always, you rock. ;D


  • Bill Osuch says:

    One idea we use is to subscribe to some trade magazines (yeah, those funny things using paper that require only light to run). Many of them do review of stores in different regions or emerging stores. For example, Women’s World Daily. Also, the US Department of Commerce is a great resource if you want to expand internationally.

  • This was awesome! Thank you so much. I have been struggling with this as well as getting the re-orders from existing retailers.
    I was also just thinking about the twitter thing and wondering how I could increase my tweet peeps.


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