Wholesale Fashion 101: Everything You Need to Know

13 min. read
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Everybody likes looking their best. With that said, it’s important to know that everyone has a different style when it comes to clothing. That’s where you come in.

If you're looking for an easy way to source wholesale fashion supplies to resell for a profit, this post will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. We’ll cover:

Let’s dive right in! Keep your pen and paper handy, you’ll want to take a few notes.

Why sell fashion items online?

One of the main reasons to sell fashion items online is because there’s a constant demand for clothing. There are multiple success stories from people who were able to quit their day job to work from home selling used (or new) clothing items. Some have even started their own dropship clothing store!

Take Evelyne Teman, for example. She was able to make a 500K business through an app called Poshmark.

How did she do it? She worked hard to build a network of followers, uploaded high-quality images to showcase her items, and attended events held by the app, which ultimately drew potential customers to her page!

Image Via: poshmark.com

Evelyne says, "Literally, my old clothes got me into the $500,000 business that I’m in and I didn’t invest any money of my own to start!"

Then there’s Sophia Amoruso, who created a multi-million dollar business called Nasty Gal on eBay, without having any prior experience selling clothes online!

Sophia went from having a string of dead-end jobs to becoming the CEO of an incredibly popular online store. She’s now creating books to help like-minded people create their own online businesses.

Image Via: TeenVogue.com

Sophia says, “A lot of people want to work at a venture-backed company. That’s fine, but I want people excited about this opportunity, who can unleash big-time experience to augment the business, and who don’t try to cookie-cutter anything.”

If they can do it, what’s stopping you? The answer: Nothing.

You don’t need experience, a huge flow of cash, or a master’s in business to sell fashion supplies online. All you need is a desire to succeed, and a little training - which we’ll provide.

Now that you’re hooked on the idea of creating an online business, let’s take a look at the pros and cons that correlate with selling fashion items online.

  • The demand for clothing items will never go out of style.
  • Many people prefer buying clothes online to avoid the chaos at stores.
  • There are tons of like-minded people out there that will help you succeed.
  • You don’t need a degree or tons of experience to succeed.
  • You have the ability to make money from the comfort of your home while doing something you’re passionate about.
  • Certain companies carry cheap materials.
  • Customers are unable to try on the clothes before purchasing, which means unavoidable returns.
  • If you start dropshipping items, the clothes may not be “true to size”, which could result in poor reviews and returns.
  • You have to sell clothes that you may not like (everyone has a different style!)
  • You may not see traffic or sales right away.

We think the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide, though. It also helps knowing that Evelyne and Sophia were able to create huge businesses without having prior knowledge.

After reading this guide, you’ll be one step ahead of them. You’ll know what works and what doesn’t as well as the different types of marketing strategies and platforms you can use to start!

Convinced? Great! So, what clothing articles are you interested in selling…?

What types of fashion items should I sell?

Before finding a wholesale supplier in the fashion niche, you need to figure out what items you want to sell.

Why it’s important to stick to a certain niche

Did you notice what the Evelyne and Sophia shared in common? They both had a specific niche and stuck with it.

For Evelyne, it started as articles of clothing that she no longer wore. She then started dropshipping similar clothing items on her Poshmark store. For Sophia, it was rare vintage clothing for young women.

Having a specific niche will attract more customers than a general store. Paradoxically, selling to a small niche brings more sales because it allows you to gain more loyalty, attract a higher-converting audience, rank higher in search engines, and more!

What are you interested in selling?

Now that you know you need to have a niche before starting, think about what you’re comfortable selling. If you’re a shy person, you probably don’t want your store to focus on bold items that you’d be uncomfortable looking at (or marketing to the general public).

A few categories to look at are:

  • Baby, toddler, and children’s clothes
  • Dressy clothing items
  • Vintage clothing items
  • Everyday clothing items
  • Professional clothing items
  • Lingerie

Note: Keep in mind that you want your niche to be flexible to incorporate seasonal items, such as winter clothing.

How broad do you want your niche?

Nearly every clothing store offers more than the average run-off-the-mill clothes. Do you plan on offering accessory items, too?

Accessory items can range anywhere from:

  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Belt
  • Jewelry

Let’s say you’re going to start an online store for fishermen. You’ll have the jeans, boots, shirts, and vests they need while on fishing trips. But, are you going to sell the hats they wear, too?

Or, let’s say you’re selling vintage clothing. You wouldn’t try to sell regular old socks! You’d look for vintage-inspired socks or leave them out of your store. However, you may find a few vintage hats, scarves, gloves, and jewelry to put into your store.

💡 Pro Tip: Try to bundle a few clothing items to see how well it sells. Offer a discounted price if someone buys a matching outfit!

Image Via: poshmark.com

You’ll make a little more money and they’ll have an outfit that matches.

Where can I get cheap fashion supplies?

Now that you have a general idea of what your niche is, it’s time to find a wholesale supplier. Don’t worry, though! We’ll guide you through the whole thing.

First thing’s first, you’ll need to find someone that can supply as many articles of clothing as you need. You don’t want to find a supplier that can’t keep up with demand, or your store will suffer from backorders and lost sales.

General fashion wholesale suppliers:

Image Via: www.clupfashion.com

This supplier offers a wide range of clothing for both men, women, and children. They’ve been around for a little over 10 years and offer quality clothing at a discounted price. They also have a strong partnership with over 30 Turkish manufactures and promise to guarantee the authenticity of their clothing items and accessories.

This supplier offers day to day clothing, as well as sporting goods. They offer a variety of wholesale clothing, closeouts, surplus goods, liquidations, overstock items and customer return merchandise from major department stores at 50% - 90% below wholesale price.

This supplier offers chic clothing for both slender women, as well as plus size. They offer discounted prices for bulk deals and their warehouse is ever changing. They’re known for their wide variety of clothing items and are highly suggested by many.

Wholesale adult-themed supplier:

Image Via: diabella.eu

This supplier offers a wide range of lingerie. From elegant styles to wedding lingerie, this supplier has it all. They offer free shipping, 30 days to return items, and claim to be 100% original with their various lingerie styles.

Related: Check out our article on lingerie dropshipping here. 

Wholesale jewelry supplier:

Image Via: www.mmasilver.com

This supplier offers jewelry, and will engrave certain pieces for a fee. From pins, chains, watches, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, they’ve got it all! They offer more than 8,000 pieces of jewelry from more than 60 artisans and manufacturers from 13 different countries. Plus, they’ve been around since 1974 and they’re still doing well. That’s something to be proud of!

General fashion supplies

As you can see, there are plenty of niches for you to choose from. There are, however, other routes you can take.

For example, you could sell Halloween-themed outfits such as:

  • Costumes
  • Wigs
  • Press-on tattoos
  • Shoes
  • Accessories

Image Via: halloweencostumes.com

Nearly everyone participates in dressing up for Halloween. While this niche may not be as popular in the Winter or Spring, you could offer discounts on decorations and costumes for the following year, or offer other holiday supplies as well.

Or, you could focus on wedding attire such as:

  • Wedding gowns
  • Tuxedos
  • Bridesmaid dresses
  • Flower girl dressing
  • Ring bearer clothing
  • Accessories

Image Via: davidsbridal.com

It may take a bit for your store to kick off if you go with wedding attire, though. Many brides feel more comfortable trying their dress on in a store. However, there are people who have bought their dress online and loved it!

You can also enter the boho fashion niche which includes articles of clothing such as:

Image Via: polyvore.com

The boho fashion niche is extremely popular right now. Many people purchase these outfits to wear to work, festivals, or on a day-to-day basis.

While it’s important to stay within your niche, you can broaden your spectrum to add accessories of your choosing. If you sell wedding dresses, but want to throw in some diamond-encrusted bracelets, go right ahead!

As long as you keep the wedding dresses and Halloween costumes away from each other, your store will flow together perfectly.

Fashion supplies for men

Don’t think that just because you’re in the fashion niche you can only sell to women.

Men shop online for clothes, too. There are plenty of niches to get into that cater specifically to men such as:

  • Suits
  • Business casual
  • Everyday men’s clothing
  • Rugged men’s clothing
  • Men’s outdoor clothing
  • Swimsuits for men
  • Men’s accessories

Be sure to keep this in mind, and don’t let anyone tell you that a men’s clothing store won’t work as well as a women’s store. Take a look at the image below to see just how many men prefer to shop online:

Image Via: slideshare.net

We bet you didn’t see that stat coming! If 68% of men shop online and only 32% of women do, why aren’t there more fashion stores for men…?

Because the fashion industry tends to sexualize women as the main target. This, however, is not always the case. Think about it before you choose one or the other. There’s always the option to have a co-mixed online fashion store.

Fashion supplies for women

You may already know this, but many women can be picky when it comes to buying clothes in general. This gets a bit harder for women who enjoy shopping online. With the different niches to choose from, it can be hard to figure out what will work (and what won’t).

A few strong women’s fashion niches that’ll do well are:

  • Business casual
  • Dressy women’s clothing
  • Day-to-day women’s clothing
  • Boho women’s clothing
  • Chic women’s clothing
  • Plus size women’s clothing

We’re not trying to single out plus size women here, in fact, we’re trying to help them! Did you know that plus sized women often feel singled out when shopping online?

Image Via: dailymail.co.uk

81% of plus sized women say they’d spend more on clothing if there were more options for them and 88% of women say there aren’t enough trendy options available!

Think about how much of a difference you could make in the online fashion niche if you catered to plus sized women (and men). There’s a lot of potential when it comes to plus sized niches, especially when 88% of women say there aren’t a lot of options available for them.

Where can I sell fashion supplies?

Now that you’ve read success stories, found the niche you’re interested in, and have a wholesale supplier in mind, it’s time to open an online store.

But with all the available options, where should you focus your energy?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Selling on eBay

eBay is a huge online marketplace with tons of sellers and buyers. That said, though, it may be hard for you to get your foot in the door right away. You’ll have to work a bit harder to get your items shown on the first page, but it’s definitely doable.

Think back to Sophia (the CEO of Nasty Gal). She started a multi-million dollar business on eBay with no prior experience. Because you’ve read this guide, you know more than she did when she first started out. There’s no reason you can’t build an empire on eBay!

Pros of selling on eBay:
  • You don’t have to find buyers and bring them to the site; they’re already there in droves.
  • Getting started is quick and easy.
Cons of selling on eBay:
  • There are sellers fees.
  • You won’t be able to develop your own brand.
  • Because other sellers items listed next to yours, it can be hard to stand out.

eBay isn’t your only option, though! You could follow in Evelyne’s path by creating an account on Poshmark, finding a wholesale supplier to dropship items, and have a mobile fashion store.

There are plenty of other online marketplaces to sell your fashion products on, too. Such as:

Do some research on these platforms before you pick one, though. There’s one more option available to you, if you’re interested…

Start your own Shopify store!

Pros to starting your own online Shopify store:
  • You get to create your own brand
  • You can choose which payment platforms you want
  • Your competition isn’t sitting right next to your items (and you won’t have to be competitive with your prices)
Cons to starting your own online Shopify store:
  • There’s a learning curve
  • You may need to hire someone to create your website
  • You won’t get automatic traffic to your listings like you would on a marketplace

Regardless of what you choose, you’ll be in charge of marketing your items to the general public.

While it would be great for your store to take off as soon as you create it, the chances of that happening are very slim. Broadcast to the right people, though, and you’ll take off quicker than the average person.

Speaking of marketing...  

Marketing ideas for fashion supplies

As a seller, you’ll want to get as many eyeballs on your products as possible. How do you do that? By marketing!

Where can you market clothing items, though? We’re glad you asked!

Marketing on Facebook

You can use Facebook marketing to raise brand awareness and drive online sales.

Thanks to Facebook live, online stores are able to model their clothes and host giveaways easily.

Saved By The Dress, for example, is an online boutique who focus their attention on chic women’s fashion. They’re a small online business from Florida and are doing extremely well for themselves thanks to their marketing tactics.

While Facebook is a great place to market your items, if you’re going to dropship your products you won’t be able to take live videos. However, you can post pictures and do giveaways by telling your customers to “like, comment, and share” the image.

Marketing on Pinterest and Instagram

These social networks are highly visual in nature, and people often use them for inspiration when it comes to planning their outfits (and finding their next online purchase).

Get some great pictures of your products, preferably on hangers, mannequins, or people. You can also use stock images from the wholesale supplier, if they’re high quality.

Next, post them with a description that hashtags important words relating to the product. Search using your niche term (“boho festival dress,” for example) and see what others have posted to get ideas. And don’t forget to link back to your product listing.

💡 Pro Tip: You don’t need Pinterest followers to make this work. Try out Side Hustle Nation’s Pinterest board guide to get thousands of visitors with zero followers!

Advertising your products

Advertising is one fast-track way to help buyers find you, especially if you’re looking to promote your own online store. A couple of good options include…

  • Google Adwords: Use the keyword research tools to plan your keywords and build your campaign. Useful for all types of fashion supplies.
  • Facebook Advertising: The second-largest PPC (Pay Per Click) option there is. Facebook has nearly every demographic possible.
  • eCommerce SEO: Google is the top traffic driver in the world right now. Take advantage of that by optimizing your listings, product pages, and website.
  • Local Advertising: Selling locally is another option. You can try ads in the paper or on the radio, or you could put a sign out front and spread some fliers in the community. You could also try local SEO.
💡 Pro Tip: Start small and figure out what works before spending the big bucks on advertising.

To sum it all up…

There are a huge range of fashion supplies you can sell online, so it's a good idea to focus on a specific niche right from the start. Figure out exactly what types of clothing articles you want to sell, and who your target market will be.

It's a good idea to sell fashion supplies for events that happen year-round, but if you want to specialize in fashion supplies for specific holidays, have a plan for the off-season time.

Need wholesale sources of fashion supplies that you can sell for a profit? The SaleHoo directory has a whole range of trustworthy options for you to look through.

You can sell your fashion supplies on eBay or Amazon, or you can open an online store to build your brand. Market your fashion supplies on Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook, or via paid advertising.

If you’re looking for any kind of wholesale fashion supplies that you haven’t seen in this post, ask us to find suppliers for you in the “Supplier Wanted” section of the SaleHoo forum.


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Rhea Bontol

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  • 25th of August
    Hi, please could anyone help me find a reliable Wholesalers for the German and UK market?. And also, are there some members here from Germany or UK whom i can contact and exchange some ideas concerning Suppliers etc ? Thankx
  • juicy couture sale 15th of July
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  • The Jewelry Magazine 8th of January
    Great I like your website, Thanks for sharing, Really its a very informative blog for fashions. It's helpful for wholesale business online.
  • info81936 23rd of November
    Great Articles, I wish it address the dropshippers difficulties in Fashion, like price mark-up issues , supplier issues (most of wholesaler don't like to work with dropshippers) and Shipping and handling.
  • Kelly Warner 23rd of January
    Thanks you very much for sharing such an important information, I was looking for such article and I have ended up here. I'm looking forward to reading such amazing articles in the future as well.
  • Verna Zook 19th of March
    Really amazing article. I was searching for such an article and I have ended up here! Thank you for share and now I'm looking forward to reading such amazing articles in the future as well.
    • Rhea Bontol SaleHoo Admin 22nd of March
      Hey Verna! Glad you find this article amazing :) If you've had experience with selling fashion items, do share your experience here. We'd love to hear them!