If you are starting a retail business, whether online or off, one of the first things you need to know is where to get the merchandise you will sell. And that means getting in contact with possible suppliers for your business.
If for example you want to start a craft and greeting card store, here are places where you can find the suppliers you need for your new business:
- Check out the products you want to sell and contact the manufacturers. Establish a wholesale account with them though be prepared to purchase in their required quantities
- Attend craft tradeshows. You will meet the manufacturers and suppliers in the industry and will allow you to start networking and establish relationships. Go to sites such as http://www.tsnn.com to find out trade shows in the industry that are upcoming
- Subscribe to trade publications. These magazines always have ads from manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. Often, they will have an annual buyers guide that lists all the manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. This guide contains very valuable information for anyone who wish to be involved in the industry.
- Join trade organizations. For the greeting card industry, for example, you can join the Greeting Card Association http://www.greetingcard.org/ – they will have suppliers list for the industry as well as other resources that you need
- Contact sales agents. They will help you in touch with manufacturers and wholesalers in the industry. You can check with retailers and ask them for recommendations of agents. Or check the industry association for information on sales agents working your area. Visit the Manufacturers Agents Sales Association http://www.manaonline.org/ for listings of sales agents in your industry
- Use the web. Thomas Register http://www.thomasnet.com/ which is the most comprehensive resource for finding information on suppliers of industrial products and services in North America. Or use your favorite search engine to find companies in your industry.