For delivery dates, the order cut off date should be set by the DE correct, not by the buyers? And is there a typical amount of time a cut-off date for orders should be: 2 months, 3 months or 30 days? Is it basically the time that I would need to get everything into production and delivered?
Yes, no, yes, it depends and usually, yes. I’ll explain. Yes, you set the delivery date not the buyers. I talked to Miracle about this because I hadn’t really heard of buyers pushing for dates but she says it’s common that buyers may try to push you into delivering on their schedule (which is why she says she’d have a rep if she were going to sell wholesale so that she wouldn’t get pushed into a situation she didn’t want to deal with). She says that some buyers may do this because they may have miscalculated demand for their retail mix and now have some merchandising holes that they need to fill. The latter could be considered a variation of “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine” so be wary.
As far as a typical cut off date it is usually at least a month but again, it depends on how far in advance you’re showing product. For example, if you’re showing products for Aug/Sept delivery in February, you’ll obviously have a longer cut off date. Likewise, under some circumstances, your delivery date can be subject to change. For example, since you have planned wisely and set a cap on what you know you can produce and if you meet that sales goal in advance of order cut off date, by all means, close your production for that item. I’m sure a buyer is not going to like that but this is the way to build cachet. Be limited. Next go round, this same buyer will be more likely to place their orders sooner because there is no better way to illustrate to buyers that your stuff is in demand than being able to close production on hot sellers.
Typically, your cut off date is a minimum of 30 days hence but not always. If you’re doing a trunk show and cutting to order, then 30 days is customary. Actually, if you’re getting orders of sufficient size and can do them monthly, 30 days would be ideal. The amount of time is really dependent on your product and your model. For example, some companies have staple items they sell year round with only slight seasonal changes such as colors or what not. Those companies typically have monthly cut off dates because they’re running fairly lean.
This wasn’t a question you asked but Miracle says that she thinks that more of the fashion forward DE lines should look at developing some staples in their line that have the potential to be year round sellers rather than trying to constantly churn out new stuff each season. She says that retailers may balk at the constantly forward fashion lines because the price points are very high. Retailers know that premium prices are being driven by operating inefficiencies (be honest). Retailers don’t want to subsidize it because that can amount to “funding” for which in turn they feel entitled to some funding -aka buy back guarantee- themselves.