THE WHOLESALE MARKET FOR AUTHENTIC DESIGNER HANDBAGS IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER WHOLESALE MARKET—FORGET WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW.
I get a lot of calls and emails from people who naively think that the wholesale business for AUTHENTIC designer merchandise operates in much of the same way as the wholesale business for, say, electronics operates: brands, like Coach, have wholesalers and distributors that you can call up and order 100 Coach bags from any time you need some inventory. That’s NOT how this business works.
THERE ARE NO TRADITIONAL WHOLESALERS OR DISTRIBUTORS in this business. Designers don’t wholesale their merchandise to anyone but their authorized dealers—big name department stores and their respective boutiques ONLY. Their merchandise goes directly from their factories to their authorized dealers—there are no distributors or middlemen that touch this merchandise. And, in order to qualify to be an authorized dealer, you much be an established company with a lot of money (minimum orders start at $50,000), have been in business for 2 years, have a storefront that’s located in an upscale area, and meet a bunch of other requirements. Essentially, 99.99% of us aren’t going to qualify. This includes even big name online stores and nearly all brick-and-mortar stores. Besides, if you have the money to open up your own Coach boutique, you are not reading this article looking for a wholesaler.
So if this is the case, how do you get designer handbags wholesale? There are two primary ways. The first is to buy from authorized dealers that have liquidated past-season, closeout, excess inventory and returns to companies called Jobbers. Jobbers buy this merchandise, sort through it (because of a lot of it is junk), and wholesale the quality merchandise to resellers—usually well-below wholesale pricing. This is merchandise you’d typically find in a designer outlet store (e.g., a Prada outlet store) and is usually last season’s merchandise. Don’t kid yourself, though. This kind of merchandise sells very well. Sites like BlueFly.com, many eBay powersellers, and online store owners sell this kind of merchandise all day long. This is the majority of the merchandise available in the wholesale market when it comes to AUTHENTIC designer handbags. If you think you’ve found your dream wholesaler of authentic designer handbags and they defy this logic, I can bet you that you are dealing with someone from China that’s passing off 7 Star Replicas (almost indistinguishable from the real thing) as authentic. And although you may not be able to tell the difference, this merchandise is ILLEGAL. Stay away from it.
The second way to get authentic designer handbags at wholesale is to have a connection. If you have a connection to someone who is an authorized dealer, or know someone somewhere else in the supply chain, you can get authentic designer merchandise that is current season: the stuff that’s being sold in the boutiques today. This is a very small percentage of the wholesale market for authentic designer handbags, but it does exist. I have both these type of suppliers and the jobbers mentioned above in my directory.
Another thing to mention: CATALOGS DO NOT EXIST IN THIS BUSINESS. Do not ask me or any supplier for one. Because the inventory of authentic designer merchandise is so limited and, therefore, turns over quickly, catalogs don’t make sense in this business. Most suppliers have their current inventory on their websites, in excel spreadsheets, or will give it to you verbally over the phone.
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