Wholesale clothing distributors purchase cloth, apparel, trimmings, home furnishing and accessories from manufacturers in large lots and resell them in smaller lots to retailers. Wholesale distributors usually work from warehouses or offices with no display of their merchandise. They interact with their customers through salespeople, over the phone and using the Internet.
Wholesale clothing distributors sell either imported goods or locally manufactured goods or both. The clothes may include ready-made Apparel or cloth material. The product range not only includes garments for men, women, boys, girls and infants, but also includes accessories such as scarves, hats and gloves as well as some home furnishings. The industry is tightly integrated and many distributors often manufacture the goods themselves or get it contract manufactured from low cost locations such as China. This is because of the seasonal nature of the industry. There are also wholesalers who act purely as a distributor from manufacturers to retailers. Their customers include retailers and online merchants
There are basically three categories of customers in the clothing industry. They are upper, middle and budget sectors with the budget sectors accounting for the largest chunk. Generally wholesale clothing distributors do not specialize in a particular product or products for a specific category of customers since specialization has not been a major trend in this industry. However, some wholesale distributors focus on sub segments such as women’s clothing, children’s clothing or accessories.
The traditional distinctions between clothing manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Some large retailers are bypassing the wholesale distributors and are dealing with manufacturers directly. This is often accomplished by setting up a subsidiary company that handles the purchasing and wholesaling activities for the retailer. On the other hand, some large whole sale distributors are venturing into retail by setting up their own retail outlets. The industry is dynamic and distribution systems are seeing improvements. Internet-based wholesale clothing distribution is also growing rapidly.