The United Kingdom is home to some of the biggest fast-fashion brands we know and love today. Missguided, Boohoo, Missy Empire, Oh Polly, PrettyLittleThing and Isawitfirst – they all have one thing in common.
They were founded in the heart of Manchester, home to the UK’s biggest wholesale fashion district. These fashion brands have gone onto becoming key industry players, simply by dropping new items weekly and keeping millennials up-to-date with the hottest fashion trends.
Their campaigns usually consist of models dancing around in the LA desert in figure-hugging co-ords, or keeping it cute and chic poolside in a bikini. What sets them apart from your average brick and mortar store are their unbeatable prices.
Party dresses starting from £5, jeans for £15, tops at £7 and killer heels for £20. You can pretty much purchase your whole outfit for less than £40. Can we say BARGAIN!
But the real question everybody wants to know is where are these fashion brands sourcing from? How can I can start a fashion brand selling the hottest items for cheap and still make a profit?
Throwing up an online store and selling clothing for cheap may sound appealing at first, but in hindsight will require large MOQ’s if you want to break-even.
Also remember these fashion brands usually consist of 40% wholesale and 60% private label, meaning some items are designed from scratch by their in-house design team. In other words, you’re not always going to find vendors stocking similar style items as your favorite fashion brand. This is simply because they are not online.
Yes, that’s correct – a number of manufacturers and vendors have minimal to no online presence or website. Some companies even pay vendors to stay offline. This is completely normal in the world of fashion buying and sourcing and shouldn’t deter you from trying to work with them…
Had we not taken the initiative to go Manchester and source these vendors we would have zero knowledge that they even existed. One thing we have learned about starting a fashion brand is ‘quality’ matters. Customers are more likely to purchase from you consistently if they have ‘trust’ in your brand. We cannot stress the importance of visiting vendors in person to feel the material of your product and see the processes they follow to make them.
Everyone loves a good bargain but your customers are still expecting good quality! We’re not saying the above fast-fashion brands don’t stock good quality apparel, but their well thought-out marketing campaigns do sell us a dream. A dream that often becomes a hit and miss when receiving your parcel in the post and realizing it actually looks nothing like what is on the website.
The majority of vendors are cash and carry, with a minimum spend of £50. Some vendors require advance notice to visit their showroom whilst others are open to the general public.
So where in particular are people sourcing within Manchester?
The infamous Cheetham Hill is home to some of the leading fast-fashion wholesalers in the UK. The long strip consists of multiple side roads filled with manufacturers and vendors.
Broughton Street and Derby street are more prominent for fast fashion apparel. These wholesalers are perfect for those just starting out since they typically have low MOQ’s. In fact, some vendors allow buyers to purchase as little as 1pcs whilst others give you the option of mix and matching items. Of course, there are some vendors that may not have the best quality and some that are a straight no no!
Below are a couple of vendors that many fashion brands source from, with new items dropping daily:
We highly recommend anyone based within the UK to take a trip to Manchester at least once! Trains booked in advance can cost as little as £25, or simply opt for the national express, with fares from £7 each way!
Too often people forget the UK is home to a number of fashion brands founded within Manchester, therefore you may not have to always look abroad in other countries such as Asia or the USA to source clothing for your online store or boutique.
Want to attend our next sourcing trip to Manchester and gain access to pre-screened and verified vendors? Get in contact with us today to see how we can help!
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