Ultimate Guide to Buying Wholesale Purses and Handbags
A woman's purse is a mysterious thing. And let's be honest, we prefer it that way. Purses, handbags, satchels, crossbodys, and more- there's a bag for every occasion and style. They hide our lipstick, piles of receipts, and the occasional secret. Purses aren't just an accessory; they're a statement. Even the simplest purse can communicate something. Proud workaholic? The black leather tote says it all. Headed for a date night? You might see a tiny, sparkly, perfectly proportioned clutch. Purses are a language of their own, and our goal is to help you speak that language with your customers.
For clothing stores, purses are an artform. Knowing your customer is essential, and selling the idea of a bag is even more critical. What to buy and how to display them are crucial points to understand when trying to sell handfuls of handbags. If you're new to the business, welcome to the club! We're your boutique bestie, and we're here to share the inside scoops on how to buy and sell high-quality, affordable, and trendy products.
At Supplied, we're here to provide you with guidance, low prices, transparent item descriptions, and incredible customer service.
Now, let's learn how to sell amazing bags.
Create a Business Plan
The idea of business plans might make you shudder from images of men wearing black suits and frowns. However, we think business plans can be more fun, and more you, than that. Crafting a business plan is essential before launching your own company. A great strategy will only help you and your business thrive. How can you create this strategy? We’ve got some tips.
Planning to Plan
You don't have to type your business plan out on word doc or email it out to everyone you know. The goal is for you to have an executable plan that will help you adjust best as changes come into play (and they probably will). You can create a business plan as a PowerPoint or anything else, as long as it works for you.
It's necessary to consider your business's organization and management structure. If you have employees, how many will there be, and how much will they be paid? Create a plan for paying your employees before you hire anyone.
Don't forget to do your market research. Ask questions about the demographics of your area and what styles they might be interested in buying. Live close to a college? Invest in some school-spirited colors. Live in a city with a famous theme park or attraction? Offer transparent, cool-looking, security-friendly bags that your customers can take into the arena. Knowing your target market will help determine what you buy and how you sell it.
Perhaps most importantly, your business plan should include a financial summary and an overview of the costs of doing business. Keep in mind that your prices should generate enough revenue to cover these costs.
Discovering Your Brand
Building a brand is a lot like telling a story. To quote Jeff Bezos, "Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room." You want to create a story in your branding that demonstrates value that only you and your business can offer your customer.
Here are some essential elements in crafting a solid brand identity:
- Your mission: why are you in the business?
- Your values: what beliefs does your company hold dear?
- Your brand personality: if your brand was a person, what kind of personality would they have?
- Your unique positioning: how is your store different from the one on the other side of town?
- Your brand voice: what would your brand sound like if it could talk?
All businesses (and influencers) have a specific brand identity. Chanel is preppy and sophisticated, while Dr. Martens is edgy and urban. Branding intertwines with your target demographic to help you identify your messaging hierarchy. Tik Tok is young, fun, vibrant, and video-centric. Instagram is a tad bit more mature, aimed at sharing content that inspires. What do you want people to see when they look at your company, your products, and your brand?
Another point to mention concerning branding is brand identity. Maintaining brand standards helps you have a coherent image for consumers. For example, you can design a brand color palette to guide your choice of inventory. If you are trying to run an edgy shop, you could carry darker and more muted tones.
Brand identity also includes whatever visual image you've crafted for your company. Fonts, colors, logos, etc., can be adhered to in your messaging to create a coherent, beautiful brand. While word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools for new businesses, it will look professional to have a cohesive brand and help build customer loyalty. Customers like to trust that your business will offer quality consistently, and a coherent brand is a subtle way to create that trust. These days, word of mouth looks different than it used to, as well. While it used to be family and neighbors spreading the word one phone call or conversation at a time, these days, it looks like utilizing things such as Instagram or Facebook. Building a community on social media will help you spread the word about your business and help open sales funnels for your products. Creating trust with your customer is essential. In your communication, be honest and authentic. Don't try to sell something you can't. Creating a space where you sell things you love to people who will benefit from it will always help draw your ideal customers. Once you've built up customer loyalty and a steady client base, purses will most likely start selling more and more. Be sure you're ready with stocked inventory and a plan to display them or share on social media.
Do I Need Any Specific Permits?
Permits on permits. Sometimes, starting a business means you get to be your own secretary for a while. There might be a lot of paperwork.
If you are planning on buying wholesale products from distributors to restock your business, you should have both of the following:
- Employer Identification Number
- Wholesale License
If this is a brand new business venture, you will need to register your business with the IRS before obtaining a wholesale license. Contact the IRS to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which will allow you to conduct business and hire employees legally. Applying for an EIN is free, and you usually receive it in four to five weeks after applying.
To obtain a wholesale license, contact your state's tax and revenue office to apply. Applications and fees will vary by your location. Once you are a licensed wholesale buyer, you don't have to pay sales tax on the products for your business. When it comes to creating a business itself, there is specific paperwork to fill out before officially getting started. Keep in mind that there is a waiting period to become an official LLC..
You will also need to get a sales tax license so that you can legally sell your items. A sales tax license will allow you to charge sales tax on your products. Once you've done all of these, you'll be well on your way to being a business owner.
Resale permits might also be required, so be sure to check into that for your specific business. These permits and licenses seem like a lot and can be intimidating to new business owners. It's easier than it sounds, though! Once you start these processes, they usually go smoothly. The documents offer vital benefits when it comes to getting your store off the ground. You can receive tax breaks for all business expenses, for instance, and accumulate a higher income over time selling purses than you thought was possible. It's a win-win situation.
What Are the Benefits of Buying Wholesale?
Are you ready to go to (the online) market? Get your shopping bags ready. Buying wholesale allows you to buy discounted products in bulk quantities. Your goal is to resell these wholesale items at a higher price to your consumers. In the merchandise supply chain, manufacturing from raw materials is at the top. At the bottom is your customer, buying the purse and loving it. Purchasing from a wholesale supplier is efficient and often cheaper for businesses. When you buy from wholesale suppliers, you don't have to mess with go-betweens. Cost-effective? Absolutely.
In addition to being cheaper, buying wholesale bags from suppliers can save you time in the long run. Owning your own business means figuring out how to best use your precious time. Buying in bulk means fewer orders later on when you inevitably sell out.
As a small business owner, you don't want to waste your time or your money. That's why we've compiled a guide for buying bags & purses wholesale for your store.
How Do I Find Suppliers?
Now that your business is well on its way to being the real deal, you can start compiling a list of vendors that you find trustworthy and reliable. You can begin with a quick internet search or reach out to other business owners you respect and ask about their preferences. There's plenty of space in the industry to help and cheer either on. You never know; maybe you'll do the same for a beginner someday.
You may have a specific style in mind that you're dreaming of selling, but your suppliers will have pages of wholesale fashion bags to comb through. There's no need to stress about a lack of variety with a wholesale supplier.
Now, it can be daunting to be a new business owner ordering vast quantities of bulk products from stores you don't know. But, while you likely won't see these bags in person, you can still certify the quality from your computer. How? Check out the following tips for ensuring your order is of good quality.
- Consider the material of the item. If the clothing is made from acetate, acrylic, or nylon, it might be a lesser quality material blend.
- Check product reviews from other customers: the more positive reviews, the merrier.
- Look at reviews for the wholesaler in general. A high-quality wholesaler generally will not sell low-quality goods, and they'll have primarily positive reviews.
Some wholesale websites feature reviews on each product, while others may not. If the wholesale webpage you are looking at does not give item reviews, you can check to see if a different website selling the same product does feature reviews. While you don't have to buy the product from another website, you can get a glimpse at their reviews section to ensure that you're making the best and most informed decision for your inventory. Try searching for the full product name or SKU on Google. If the product still doesn't come up on other websites, you can reverse Google image search. Sound fancy? It's not! All you need to do is copy and paste the image URL into Google, and Google will show you other websites with that same image. Tadaa!
To view general feedback on a wholesale website, you can use third-party reviewing sites to check out a distributor before committing to a sale. You can try searching for reviews on the wholesaler on the following websites:
- Better Business Bureau
- Google Customer Reviews
Unlike reviews directly on a wholesale website, these website reviews cannot be altered and provide an objective view. Customers reviewing one of these websites are more likely to be transparent in their feedback (for example, Supplied has a Trustscore of 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot).
If you see frequent complaints about the seller's quality, customer service, and reliability, it's a good idea to avoid using the company. Suppose you are stuck ordering from a supplier that’s unreliable and iffy with their customer service. Not only will it affect your inventory and possibly your finances, but it's also simply a headache you can avoid.
Buying bulk can help you avoid frequent buying with your distributors. However, their customer service could impact the way you do business. An unresponsive supplier can make you miss out financially if they do not ship your best-selling product efficiently. These days, trends are lightning-fast, and you'll want to keep an eye on your hottest items.
A supplier with good customer service will also help answer any pressing questions about a product, its quality, etc. At Supplied, our customer service team works from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST Monday through Friday. You can reach them through the instant messaging program on our website, Facebook, or by emailing [email protected]. Our team is dedicated to helping you make the best inventory decisions for your small business.
Another pro-tip on inventory is to ask for samples! Most wholesalers will have an order minimum since the majority of business owners purchase in bulk. See if you can request a sample of an item, so you don't have to spend big money on something that's off-brand or that you don't love. Samples will help you get an idea of what you're getting, how to display it, and other complementary products to sell.
Here at Supplied, we don't require a minimum amount of items so that you have the freedom to order how much you want when you want. We believe that you deserve to have the ability to start small and grow your business. Rather than forcing large orders, we want our business owners to build up inventory at their own pace.
Finding What to Sell
Stocking up on purses for your inventory is fun. Bags, purses, and handbags come in a variety of colors, materials, and styles. Purses are essential to many people, making them a significant revenue source, as well. Bags and purses are a market that will always be popular and in-demand because bags never go out of style.
Thankfully, purses and bags also go through evolutions of trends, so there will be plenty of opportunities to stock up on various types of bags. Not even a pandemic can hurt purse sales, which are projected to continue to grow in the next few years. There are tons of purse and bag types to consider when you're looking to stock up:
- Barrel Bags
- Dual-use Handbags
- Tote Bags
- Messenger Bags
- Frame Bag
There's a bag for every occasion and every customer. From trendy bags (wicker bucket bags, anyone?) to neutral, functional bags, you need to find the purses that best serve your target demographic.
If you do it correctly, you can make a significant profit while selling amazing bags and creating customer loyalty.
Choosing Styles to Purchase
As we've established, bags are fundamental; they serve various events and styles, and choosing what inventory to carry depends on your customer. Getting down to the nitty-gritty of your target market can be difficult due to the sheer mass of purse types available. From cheeky to tiny, there are so many bag styles!
Imagine your ideal customers. Are they moms? Young adults? Businesswomen? Are they using their bags for work? Do they need bags that can double as diaper bags? Or perhaps they need clutches to go with the formal wear you're selling?
Determining what purses you sell will depend on who you're selling to. Of course, your other inventory picks can help guide you to the styles to stock. It's always great to have a selection that fits so well with your clothes and accessories that customers pick up a bag to match. Another thing to keep in mind is the quantity you plan to order from your wholesaler. This amount can be based on your other inventory, projected sales, or even any budget you've set aside for purses and bags. There's no perfect answer, but there's one that's good for you and your business!
Different Styles of Purses
Picking your styles is the fun part. There are tons of options, and these are just a few you might consider:
- Clutches: Small bags with no handles or strap typically used for formal occasions to hold personal items.
- Draw-String Bags: Bags that close at the top with a string or cord. Typically for everyday use but considered trendy.
- Beach Bags: Usually, these are large, sturdier bags that are used to carry items for a casual day out, such as one at the beach. Easy to clean and an overall fun bag!
- Hobo Bags: Large shoulder bags used for casual wear with a strap long enough to keep both hands free. Hobos are great for school or work while still being trendy.
- Tote Bags: These are the usual everyday work bags that can fit everything but the kitchen sink. They don't close at the top, and the more inside pockets, the better.
- Messenger Bags: These are usually wider than the average purse with a long strap to be worn crossbody or over the shoulder while out and about.
- Round Handled: Bags that close at the top with large round handles. These are popular right now, especially if made from wicker or straw.
- Framed Bags: Rectangular-shaped bags with one or two short handles and wide opening. This is another good professional option.
- Shoulder Bag: - A bag with a long strap that'd be carried over the shoulder. These have lots of pockets inside to stay organized and often come in tons of colors and designs.
Variety is vital when it comes to handbags. While you want to stay within the needs and wants of your target market, it's always good to stock a few various styles. And don't forget to check the material! If you are honing in one type of bag, ensure that the quality matches with the customer's probable needs. Let's say you're selling primarily to moms, order bags that are durable, washable, and hard to stain. You can stock some additional bags beside the tough ones, though, for going out and date nights. Your customers will thank you for having a versatile and high-quality selection of purses.
What Quality Name Brand Should You Be Buying?
Since we're on the topic of quality, let's talk about bag brands. There's a lot of purses to choose from, and some of those are popular brands. While we suggest that you carefully consider the material and customer reviews to help you select inventory, some boutiques choose to sell name-brand bags. This decision will come down to your brand and your target customer. Are you marketing to a high-end demographic with money to spend on brand bags? Is your business brand to be a boutique that sells name-brand products? Then stock the shiny, labeled purses that you know will be a hit with your customers. If that's not your brand, then focus on quality/affordability vs. high-end. If you're trying to be an option for affordable, quality items, carrying the big names could scare off your target market. Your goal is to sell as many great products as you can to your chosen market. Don't worry about brand-name bags unless you've specifically chosen that as your brand. Stay consistent, and customers won't be confused about who you are and what you sell.
If you're using a wholesale supplier, keep in mind that you may not be able to get brand-name bags. You'll have to go through that brand's distributor versus a wholesaler. Going to a new distributor might complicate your ordering process, so if you carry name-brand bags, plan for extra time to order.
If you're ordering bags from a wholesale supplier, you'll have a more streamlined ordering process (if you use a great wholesaler), saving money and time. Within the competitive market of clothing and bags, your goal should be to find unique brands that mirror the current trends. Even if you can't get a bag for every one of your customer's needs, there's no need to stress! You can find a few bags that you think will work the best, that are readily marketable, and fit with the rest of your inventory. Start there, and as you grow your business, you'll learn what works, what doesn't work, and what your customer wants.
Where Can I Sell My Purses?
Whether you decide to sell your purses in a physical store location, online, or through social media, there are a few ways you could get started.
- Reach out to local retailers or boutiques to set up a consignment arrangement
- Set up at local craft fair or marketplace
- Sell online through online markets
- Utilize social media, like the Facebook marketplace or Instagram
- Start an Instagram displaying your selection of bags and their prices
If you choose not to have a direct website for your business or one of the above options, there are alternative options like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, or Etsy. There are tons of ways for you to get started with your business!
What To Consider Before Placing Your Order
As we've discussed, there are many factors to consider before you make your first order. Talk to your clients and other business owners to ensure your up on what direction the market trends are going. Developing a good relationship with your customer base will help build loyalty and increase sales. When you know what customers want, you'll know what to order. Always keep in mind that the items you sell will affect that brand image. Keep in mind that your inventory is at the heart of your business. It will be what you display and why people recommend your store. While customer service and branding are essential, your products are what you're selling.
If you're struggling with picking inventory, customer surveys are a great way to know what your clients are looking for when they go to your shop.
Considerations Before Purchasing Inventory
Here are a few steps to take before you purchase fresh inventory for your shop:
- Review current inventory both in the warehouse and in retail stores before placing future orders.
- Determine if sales of one item are better at one store than another. Do products need to be ordered or reevaluated?
- Are you overspending?
- What is your profit margin for each product?
- Can you save if you order in a larger quantity?
You might want to do some competitive analysis when it comes to purchasing inventory. What are your competitors selling, and at what price? Can you offer better prices or better quality? These questions can help you create a quality order that will sell in your store.
How Should You Be Handling Inventory?
Inventory can be a tricky topic that doesn't get much consideration. First and most importantly, determine your maximum amount of inventory space. Whether you are operating out of a small room or a giant warehouse, everyone can only hold so much inventory, so know your limit and always stick to it.
Once you have placed your order for bags and purses and they've finally arrived, you can start organizing your inventory. Keeping track of what you own and need to sell is vital. An organized and well-recorded inventory list allows for your business to flourish. You'll know what's selling the most and what things you may need to display or market differently due to low sales.
Label all of your items specifically to know what you have when you are making future wholesale orders. Mark the brand, the purse type, what color or pattern it is, the style, how much you paid for it wholesale, and the date you bought it. If you need to host a sale, you'll have a great idea of what needs to be sold to make room for new inventory. An organized inventory list will help your business be more efficient and profitable.
When you're just starting with an online business, it might be best to aim for a wide range of quality products that match your brand. Carrying a variety will bring in a range of shoppers while helping you learn what sells best and what your brand is. No matter the season, your customers will be searching for trendy, affordable clothes and purses. Offer them value, and they'll offer you loyalty.
Thankfully, we at Suppliedshop.com offer a wide variety of wholesale purses and bags that can satisfy your needs and help you get started. We're run by a team of experienced supply chain leaders based in sunny (and trendy) California. We have a great variety of quality items because we know what sells, and we want to help support your dream business. Let us know if you have questions about our items, and we'll be more than happy to help. Now, go sell some purses!