How To Sell Apparel In A Weak Economy

Share Article uses their connections to fuel apparel sales in a weak economy

The past year hasn't been kind to the apparel industry. A dramatic downturn in the housing market, a tight credit environment and the sinking value of the U.S. dollar were just some of the factors that dropped apparel sales by 9.4% in 2008.

To get through the storm, stores are cutting costs, laying off employees and slashing budgets for expenses like tradeshows, once the bread and butter for new products.

According to Tradeshow Week Magazine, tradeshow attendance dropped across the board last year with some shows reporting a 57% percent decline in foot traffic. A big casualty of the trade show decline has been apparel manufactures who rely on apparel shows like the Magic Marketplace to get their products out into the stores.

But as one door closes, another one opens. Enter, an Anaheim, California company that connects apparel manufacturers with retailers.

"Stores are still shopping for products," says Kirk Ledesma, merchandising director at, "you've just got to know where to find them."

78% of all buyers polled already research products online before they buy it, according to Pew Research and Internet Sales.

"Using the Internet to find products just makes sense," says Ledesma. "It's open 24/7, it offers global reach and it's cost efficient."

Specialty retailers and chains like Nordstrom, Macy's, QVC and Target don't pay to use Buyers simply click on an item they're interested in to inquire. The products are categorized and subcategorized for easy navigation," says Ledesma, adding that there's virtually "no learning curve."

For apparel sellers, comes at the right time. "In an instant an apparel supplier can land several new accounts," says Ledesma. "The moment products are placed on our site they're exposed to thousands of key buyers and upper level executives … the people who make the buying decisions for their stores."

The merchandise mix ranges from Thank A Farmer t-shirts that wholesale for $7.50 to Alpaca Luxury knitted scarves that wholesale for $70.

"Our site reaches specialty stores as well as large retailers, so we have a very broad base of products on our site," adds Ledesma.

Apparel sellers pay a one-time set-up fee of $179 and a monthly fee of $29 to add all of their products to the site. All of the sellers' details are listed including their contact information so retailers can work with suppliers directly.

"Even in tough times, opportunity exists," says Ledesma. "We're glad to be a part of the solution."


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Morgan Ancheta
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