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How to Actually Sell Custom T-Shirts, Part 4: Boutiques and Retail Partners

In the last post, we went over selling your custom apparel through local events and trade shows. Since you’ve already learned about how easy it is to sell custom apparel (post one) and how you can gather sales online (post two), let’s cover one final avenue for in-person sales: the boutique, or retail partner.Selling custom apparel through a store front or boutique

Selling your wares through an established retail outlet provides you with a valuable, recognizable platform. Since the brick-and-mortar store is already alive (and hopefully, you’ll pick one that’s doing well!), you can piggyback on their success and notoriety.

Furthermore, there’s the same benefit there is to selling your custom apparel at an event or tradeshow.  People get to see and feel your work in person.  When you are selling in a retail setting, the value from an in-person audience is immeasurable.  Despite the popularity of online stores, no online space can come close to actually feeling the fabric, checking out the colors, and trying the shirt on in person.

If you’d like to get started with a boutique, take a survey of the popular stores in your area. Take note of their location- do they get a lot of traffic? Even more importantly, does their style jive with yours? Once you have a short list, prepare to “sell” yourself to the store owners! You’ll want to go prepared with a proposal, and have an idea of how much you are prepared to pay the store to front your apparel. Yes- expect to negotiate a bit and to pay commission! It’s a small fee, considering they pay all of the overhead costs (think rent, electric, and so on) for housing your t-shirt brand.  The industry standard for retail markup is 200%, which means if the store is selling their t-shirts for $15, they’ll want to buy them from you around $7.50.

As always, if you have any questions or ideas we are happy to hear them! We hope these few posts about promoting your apparel have been helpful.