We receive questions every week from people who are interested in purchasing liquidation merchandise with the intent to start some kind of retail business. This week we have selected an email from Todd who has been selling at his local flea market for three years, and would like to expand his inventory to include name brand shelf pull clothing.
Here is a portion of Todd’s email:
I have searched high and low looking at clothing suppliers who have a large inventory of non-branded clothing, but I would really like to buy higher-end shelf pull name brand apparel. If my understanding is correct, I can buy mixed lots of shelf pulls from various liquidators. I am how much is too much to pay per piece, and do you have any suggestions as to who I should buy from?
My Response: Hey Todd, thanks for the question! Shelf pull apparel lots are plentiful as most liquidators will buy a multiple pallets and then break each pallet down into small lots of 100-250 pieces. This allows a buyer [you] to start small and test the waters.
Shelf Pull Clothing Considerations
What quality of shelf pulls are you looking for? If you are looking for real high-end brands like Ralph Lauren, BCBG, Jessica McClintock, Westonwear, RubyRox, S.L. Fashions, Jones New York, Steve Madden, JKARA New York, Positive Attitude, Anne Klein, Liz Claiborne, Tahari, Le Suit, Maggy London, Express, etc. expect to pay roughly $6-9 per piece in small quantities. If you purchase the clothing direct from the department store, loads will average a lower price per piece. HOWEVER, your initial spend will be approximately $6,000-$12,000 for a 3-5 pallet load. I am wondering if lower end brands would work better at the flea market. You can purchase mid-grade department store branded apparel in the $2-$3 rage and direct loads of mid-grade apparel will lower your cost per piece to approximately $1-$1.50 per unit.
What can your market bear? Make sure you carefully examine the other sellers at the flea market who are selling apparel. Can you compete with them? Can you offer something they are not, for example: are most of the sellers selling a mixed variety of women’s apparel only? Maybe you should try to resell clothing that is not readily available at your market? You could specialize in men’s or maybe plus size apparel?