Going Hollywood with Your Wholesale Distribution Strategy

It’s already started: The summer movie buzz. From “Spider-Man” and “Godzilla” to “X-Men” and “Maleficent,” there are lots of big names and big budgets boosting the season’s big screen entrants. Whether you flood into theaters or choose to watch at home, Hollywood has the formula down for boosting its bottom line. So maybe it’s time to take a page from Tinsletown’s script when it comes to wholesale sales, and more specifically, using your company’s distribution to increase business.

Whether you’re just starting out or established, landing new accounts is always crucial, especially if you sell specialty stores. The landscape is constantly changing with old accounts closing up shop and new retailers popping up on the scene. But even as the individual stores change, your overall strategy should remain the same: balancing quality with quantity when it comes to where you sell. Here are some key things to consider if you need to shore up or establish a distribution plan:

1. Identify the Talent Scouts

If you’ve ever purchased something after spotting a star in or with a similar item, then you know the power of celebrity. Somehow if an A-lister has it, we feel as though it must be worth attaining for ourselves, so it’s no wonder that big brands pay big bucks for product placement in films. Of course, what they’re hoping is we’ll all rush out of the theater and into the nearest store.

There’s a comparable principle at play in retail. There’s a top tier of prominent stores in every region that other buyers know to watch. They’re retailers that have a knack for spotting the best new brands and know how to nurture young entrepreneurs. Other shop owners keep an eye on their megawatt assortments, aping their buying patterns and watching for the next big thing. So it’s advisable for you to identify these star locations and make them a focus of your sales efforts.

2. Use a Little Star Power

Every young actor’s dream is to work with Streep, DeNiro or Clooney because it’s an endorsement for his or her career. Just appearing on film with these Academy Award winners ensures up-and-comers will receive more offers for roles. Now think of that carefully curated shop you love. Chances are you don’t recognize every brand there but because the other labels are showstoppers, you’re more willing to give the unknowns a shot. That’s because like big movie stars, the luminary labels have lent the other brands some of their shine just by appearing next to them.

Keep this in mind when you check out the selection at your next would-be account. The blockbuster brands in the store could give your label a little extra star power. By hanging next to must-have collections, your line gains a cachet, giving consumers the impression yours is on the same level as those fan faves.

3. Know Your Audience

When you’re at the movies, do you ever find yourself enticed by the trailers for the coming attractions? If so, it’s because marketers know that if you’ve paid to see this movie, you’re more likely to want to see upcoming releases in the same genre. They’ve identified you as their target market.

Similarly, you need to pinpoint your fan base and focus your sales efforts in go-to regions. Whether you’re offering a traditional look, a preppy aesthetic or a laidback vibe, there’s a part of the country that’s poised to be more receptive than others. So naturally that area should be a focus for your sales, ensuring your line has a leading role in that retail environment.

4. Remember: The Show’s the Thing

Finally, keep the big picture in mind. Retail is theater. And every store is its own production designed to win a specific audience. Give that some thought when determining how saturated you want your brand to be in a particular area. Ask yourself, why would fans continue to flock to one location if the same show — in the form of brands and product — can be seen across the street and around the corner? Ultimately, if you roll out the red carpet for too many locations, you could miss out on a sequel to that opening order.

Whether you end up gorging on action movies or opting for buddy comedies this summer, keep an eye out for more ways big-screen practices can have a big impact on your business.

About Caletha Crawford

Caletha Crawford operates Caletha Crawford Childrenswear Consulting LLC. Since launching her business and serving as the former editor in chief of Earnshaw’s magazine, she has spent more than 10 years in the industry. Caletha has a unique perspective on the concepts, designs and companies that resonate with retailers and consumers. Her services include branding, marketing and social media. In an effort to usher in the next generation of design talent, she manages special projects for and teaches at Parsons The New School for Design. She also co-founded the Children’s Apparel Consulting Group, a full-service, one-stop network of industry veterans that assists children’s clothing brands with every aspect of their businesses.

Keep up with Caletha’s business, client updates, market insights and trade show observations in her CCCC KidsBiz Newsletter.

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