What is a designer apparel Jobber?
For those of you who are becoming seasoned purchasers of wholesale lots, you may have discovered it’s not so easy to access closeout inventory of designer apparel brands from a distributor.
Most products in the marketplace have distributors and wholesale vendors that are accessible with a bit of research, but the clothing industry is a little different when it comes to designer brands.
That’s because the companies that make these brands need to protect their image and brand value by keeping as much of their inventory protected as possible. To do this, they do not sell to distributors but, rather, directly from their sales office or through their sales reps. If they do have a distributor, it would only be in foreign countries, but even then they are more likely to place a sales office there rather than distribute.
When these designer companies have excess or damaged stock they need to unload, they will often deal with a “jobber” with whom they have a trusted relationship. These jobbers help companies liquidate excess inventory by being cash-ready and almost always willing to say “yes” when the manufacturer wants to unload product.
The designer apparel jobber then flips the product to retail and off-price stores. Sometimes jobbers end up with an undesirable lot, in which case they can flip it all to someone else who wants to deal with the load. Otherwise, when jobbers receive their purchases, they throw out the bad product and bundle up the good before passing it down the chain. If you find access to a trusted jobber, then that’s about as close as you will be able to get to a lowest-cost scenario.
This can be a good thing, because not only are the jobbers doing the work of sorting through the product, but you’ll still be getting a price cut that will allow you to make a decent profit.
Now at this point you’re probably thinking that it might be in your best interest to take on the role of jobber so you can cut out that middleman, but it doesn’t work that way because jobbers are most often not allowed to sell brand names online.
Designer label companies are not interested in sellers who want to take their high-value product and sell it at below retail prices. When their products become available online at reduced cost, it gives large retailers unreasonable competition and a reason to discontinue working with that company. Not only that, but if a brand name is regularly available for lower prices, that brand loses its appeal as a designer piece worthy of suggested retail price.
Now, some department stores might have an overstock of the brands they purchased from the manufacturer that they want to get rid of. You can sometimes find them selling their overstock to the first buyer, but some larger manufacturers will prevent this and instead take back the overstock and sell it through their outlet and off-price stores, or even donate it. This gives them more control over their brand, their product, and their image.
Our 2020 Liquidators Guide chronicles 12 years of wholesale product sourcing experience and includes my personal black book of direct source contacts! As an industry expert, I'll share the success I've enjoyed along with the mistakes I've made buying and reselling liquidation merchandise.
If you are thinking about buying pallets of liquidation merchandise from a liquidator, broker, or direct from department stores, you need to check out The Liquidators Guide