The Clothing Broker

I have a friend named Miracle, that’s her real name. I’d tell you how I admire her savvy and intelligence but she’s so humble and discomfited by praise that she won’t talk to me for the next six months. Regardless, Miracle has a blog called the In a recent post Naughty or Nice, she mentions a conversation we had as such:

I remember once I had a meeting with this consultant. She made this comment (and I’m paraphrasing here because I don’t remember exactly) that a crucial mistake people make is choosing to do business with people that they like, who are not always the best choice. And it really got me thinking today.

Let me just say that I have never known of a scammer who wasn’t nice. And neither has anybody that I know who has been scammed. They are always friendly, cordial, always available to take your call, never too busy. I think this is part of the lure, why people trust them so much. Because, obviously, when you deal with so many curt or rude suppliers, you figure you’re better off with those who are the nicest.

As I told Miracle, when have you ever heard of a rude con-man? Or a rude used car salesman for that matter? I’ve always had more confidence in someone who was abrupt with me. I’ve said this many, many, times but nobody listens. This is a wholesale, not retail business and the veneer of consumer shopping does not apply -not at our margins- and it’s not just vendors either. It’s very common that contractors, cutters and pattern makers are similarly “rude” mostly because people aren’t as prepared and their lack costs us time and money. The other thing is, these are very technical jobs and people in technical positions are known to have less than sterling social skills. I’m not suggesting that nice professionals are incompetent but the reverse is true more often than it is not.

Miracle is a buyer/retailer of ladies lingerie but she used to be a clothing broker. She bought off-price remaindered clothing so if anyone would know how top designer brands end up being remaindered, she would. In other words, the goods were marked down for a reason and if you know those reasons, you can prevent having to mark down your own goods in order to move them. Her blog covers a lot of retail ground. There’s a lot of solid information useful to manufacturers and even consumers. This is one of the better informational sites you’ll find on the internet.

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  1. Eric H says:

    I remember an essay by Ayn Rand in which she illustrates the meaning of the saying, “you can’t cheat an honest man.” An honest man always knows he has to pay for what he gets (one way or the other). Scammers always appeal to the temptation to get something for nothing. Ever seen one of those spam messages that start out, “Please allow me to introduce myself: I am a former ambassador from Dirkadirkastan …”? They always contain some appeal to your greed in order to take advantage of it. “Help us out by letting us use your bank account, and we’ll cut you in on the deal.”

    It’s also a recurring theme in Heinlein stories; TANSTAAFL.

  2. Hey!

    I like that point about not being thin skinned. I tend to be thin skinned. I don’t do business with wholesalers, but it’s still a good point.

    I understand that people in Europe think Americans are kind of suspect because we smile too much (to strangers, etc)


  3. MW says:

    “Scammers always appeal to the temptation to get something for nothing.”

    That’s so true. I hope you don’t mind if I blog it.

  4. kathleen says:

    Camille, it is not people-like-us that would have problems with wholesalers beyond a misstep or two. You are direct and can express your needs. Candor and disclosure is what’s appreciated. A lot of designers can’t be direct; often their behavior is governed by mythinformation (the fabric rep will steal their ideas etc) so they don’t provide enough of the right kind of information or detail. It is the counterproductive self-censoring of information by designers that gets them into trouble. Wholesalers just don’t have time to play around or coax detail -and why should they? This is business, not a therapy session.

    Some suppliers can be rude -and in my opinion- justifiably so because a designer’s failure to ignore the pull of paranoia is an implicit if not direct way of saying the supplier cannot be trusted. I don’t know about you but I couldn’t do business with someone who just assumed I’d steal their ideas unless they stood over me with a big stick. Why would I want to sell them a product that would then increase their leverage with me? Successful people increase leverage with suppliers through purchasing but designers try to do it through neurotic self-defeating behaviors and what supplier is willing to sign on for that? There is nothing more insulting so it’s no wonder that suppliers can be rude. I think anyone could be rude under those circumstances.

    I mean, you just wouldn’t believe what we’re subjected to. I had one guy who wanted me to help him (memorable because his last name is the same as mine) with his product but he was so vague that I couldn’t tell if his product was made of wood, plastic or metal; he was so ambiguous I never guessed it was a sewn product. He treated me exactly like a scummy design thief so ultimately the situation ended with him thinking I was rude. For my part, I can only hope I was! I know I wasn’t as rude as I wanted to be, that’s for sure.

  5. sipho mbatha says:

    Iam a fashion student at TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY in SOUTH AFRICA.Iam interested in being a FASHION BROKER but I do not have much information about it.i would be much happy if you can help me to achieve my dream.THANK YOU FOR READING MY EMAIL.hope to hear from you soon BYE.

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