Are you considering starting your ecommerce entrepreneurial journey dropshipping with Shopify?
If so, you’re exactly who I created this post for, so settle in.
Be warned though, we’re going to cover everything from what exactly dropshipping is, all the way to my tried and tested top tips for working with fashion dropshippers – so you actually make some money.
What is dropshipping:
Dropshipping is a business model where the seller does not hold or ship the inventory they sell.
While the marketing is done by the business owner, and they process the sale via they’re website.
The product is then sent to the customer from a separate distribution centre. This diagram below should make it clearer.
That being said, there are some pros and cons to dropshipping as ecommerce business model, so let’s examine them further.
Main Pros of Working with Fashion Dropshippers
- Start up costs are massively reduced. This means it’s a good option if you want to test ideas until you find a profitable niche that you’re passionate about.
- Expanding your line is easy. This means as you find out what your customers want you can add those lines easily without worrying about cash flow.
- It’s easy to pivot. Many people who dropship with Shopify will tell you that they try several different niches before they find a winner. This is much easier if you’re dropshipping.
Let me explain though.
Despite all of the clear benefits, that doesn’t mean dropshipping with Shopify isn’t without it’s challenges. So let’s look at those.
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Main Cons of Working with Fashion Dropshippers
- It’s not possible to brand your shopping experience. This is because you can’t send customised packaging , unless you want to pay an awful lot more.
- Slower shipping times. This isn’t always the case if you’re working with US based fashion dropshippers, but even so you won’t get priority shipping unless your selling lots of units.
- You have no control over quality. This means you can’t be sure exactly what your customers are receiving, so you can’t protect your brand.
- It’s hard to offer competitive pricing – especially if your in the low to mid range fashion market.
How to Find Fashion Dropshippers
So now you’re up on the pros and cons of working with fashion dropshippers, let’s look at how you can find them online. There are a couple of ways to do it, so we look at those now.
This is the most common sense approach, but unless you approach this very strategically it’s not always the best approach. It’s also hella time consuming.
Wholesalers can also be really tough to find online as they don’t do a great job of marketing themselves or SEO, so many of the best fashion dropshippers are buried down on page twelve.
This is why you need to use some advanced Google search modifiers that help you do a better job of finding exactly what you’re looking for. Check out these search modifiers above.
Fashion Dropshipper Directories
The great thing about this is, it gives you access to a large range of fashion wholesale dropshipper all categorized by product type and market.
You still have to do your due diligence, but I find that wholesale directories are a great place to find a wide variety of pre-vetted fashion wholesale suppliers.
You should also be aware that many of these directories do charge a joining fee.
This can be a one time fee, and other directories expect you to pay a low monthly fee for ongoing access.
Word of mouth
Getting a word of mouth referral is always my favourite way to discover anything, especially if it’s from someone whose opinion I trust and respect. The same applies when looking for a great fashion dropship vendor, so don’t be afraid to ask around.
Here’s how I do that.
Forums and Facebook groups
Forums and Facebook groups can be a great place to learn and find collaborators, they’re also a great place to get insider information.
Keep your ear to the ground and personally reach out to the stars of the group as they may be able to recommend a vendor for you.
I never would have found this killer dress vendor below if it wasn’t for a recommendation from a member of the Shopify forum.
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Types of fashion dropshipper to avoid
Okay, so let me give you the skinny on what to look out for so you don’t end up working with a nightmare vendor.
- Fashion dropshippers who are actually retailers. We call them merchant wholesalers
- Fashion dropshippers whose pictures are always better than the actual product – I see you Rosegal.
- Fashion dropshippers who can’t seem to get an order out in time – poor quality product and service shouldn’t be tolerated
The real cost of working with fashion Dropshippers
Individual order fees
Many wholesalers charge a per order flat fee to process each transaction. The fee can be between $2 to $10 depending on the package size and weight, and the location of the item being shipped.
It’s good to know this upfront, as this way you’re able to factor these fees in when working your numbers.
MOQ – Minimum Order Quantity
This is the lowest number of units you need to buy before the wholesaler will work with you.
This isn’t the case when dropshipping with shopify, but if you do decide to buy wholesale at a later time, this is still worth knowing.
Some dropshippers will actually still refuse to deal with you because you’re just starting out, one way around that is to offer to pre-pay a certain amount which they apply against all future orders.
Here’s something to bear in mind though: there are some fees attached to working with your dropshipping wholesaler that you need to be mindful of throughout the process.
How to Spot a Shady Fashion Dropshipper Quickly
These are two of the most tell-tale-signs.
- They’re selling to the general public
It’s normal for a wholesale company hide their wholesale prices from you until you open a wholesale account. And the companies who dropship, are normally also wholesalers.
Whether dropshipping or wholesaling, you’ll still need to supply them with your resellers licence.
- They hit you with ongoing and/or hidden fees
Other than our order transaction fees, a trustworthy fashion dropshipper won’t charge you a recurrent fee just to keep your account open.
So avoid any dropshipper who attempts to get you to pay them monthly just to stay on the books.
Can Dropshipping With Shopify Be Profitable?
The simple answer is yes.
That being said in order to increase your dropshipping success rate you need to take a strategic approach to your niche, your branding, and your ongoing marketing strategy.
I’ve found that many new dropshipping business owners tend to overlook the cost of marketing, or don’t consider that it’s an ongoing business cost – not a one time thing.
Sure. You you can start dropshipping with Shopify easy enough and for hardly any upfront costs. But you will still need to invest in yourself and your online boutique if you want to turn a profit.
It’s a this point that I share, I’m personally not a fan on dropshipping womens fashion.
And here’s why.
Unless you’re retailing in the high end space – which by default means you need to have the budget to promote in a high quality way – profit margins when it comes to fashion are low.
My Top Tips For Working With Fashion Dropshippers
- Create a great first impression by making sure your initial outreach is professional
- Keep email back and forth to a minimum, by knowing what you want before you reach out to your wholesale vendor. This let’s them know you respect their time.
- Follow up is everything. Many vendors will plan to get back to you but forget, that’s why it’s important to have a system in place to follow up
- Secure more than one supplier for your products, especially your bestsellers. If you rely strictly on one vendor you leave yourself vulnerable
- Remember currency conversions and any other fees. These costs are relatively small, but if you don’t keep track of them they soon mount up.
- Consider any shipping taxes or port fees if working with international dropshippers. Don’t get caught unaware with a bigger tax fee than the cost of the item.
- Be a pleasure to work with. Don’t be a pushover and ask for what you want, but fundamentally, be the sort of person who others want to work with
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How To increase Your Success Dropshipping With Shopify
- Keep your collection simple
Resist the urge to buy heavily structured or complex product. A lot more needs to go into the pattern cutting and assembly, and this is where the problems tend to come in.
Whether electronic or clothes, I recommend staying away from anything too complicated. Buy basics.
- Opt for the durable and light products
The reasons for this is simple. Light items are much cheaper to ship, and durable products tend to hold up much better during long shipping. Let’s also mention they’re much cheaper to replace, should their be a problem.
- Check if they have different logistic centers
The bigger wholesalers and fashion dropshippers tend to have more than one distribution centre. Asking which distribution centre your product will be sent from helps keep your shipping costs down.
- Keep an eye on what’s selling and what’s not
Think about your website like a brick and mortar store, because just like with a traditional retail outlet all the space is valuable. Stay on top of your bestsellers, and the things you can’t seem to give away.
Get rid of the slow movers asap, and test other items. That’s one of the luxuries of dropshipping with Shopify.
- Make sure your supply chain is diverse
You can feel elated when you find a wholesaler or dropshipper who agrees to work with you, even more so if they turn out to be the supplier of your hot seller.
The problem comes when the relationship turns sour overnight, and trust me, it can happen. The secret is to make sure you always have alternatives, should you find yourself in that situation.
Always have a plan B and C.
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So that’s it, but before I get out of here I want to let you know I have a list of verified distributors of women’s fashion, accessory, jewellery kids and infant products within a handy spreadsheet.
There are many wholesalers and many dropshippers in this vendor list, because after my own experiences I discovered dropshipping wasn’t the right business model for me.
Click to watch this video to see what’s in the wholesaler list.
This wholesale boutique supplier directory doesn’t only give you their website, but also their email and first name (where possible).
How to use the fashion wholesale boutique suppliers list?
- There are two pages within the spreadsheet. On page one you’ll find wholesale vendors of children’s and infant products, clothes, accessories, educational toys, and other great products. On page two, you’ll find women’s fashion, jewellery, accessories, and other products
- Click through to the link of the site and take a look at the products available, if you like what you see, make a list of the items you’ll want to sell. I suggest creating a board on Pinterest.
- Take one of the email templates supplied with your wholesaler listing, edit it to fit your brand and requirements.
- C+P the name and email address of the wholesale vendor that you want to contact, and email them with a follow up scheduled for three days if they don’t reply.
- That’s it. You’re now one step closer to having a quality wholesaler or drop-shipper to supply products for your online store.
Get The brazen Profit Lab Fashion Wholesale Supplier and Drop-shipper Black Book today
But without watching a hundred training videos, filling in forms and learning a whole new platform, then you’ll love the BPL fashion wholesale vendor listing.
- One spreadsheet containing verified quality US/UK based wholesale vendors and drop-ship suppliers
- Done-for-you email templates that make outreach much easier
- Competitor analysis and social media analysis spreadsheet – when you understand the competition it’s easier to find your edge.
- Focus digital day planner: which will help to keep you organised and on track as you build out your store
- Two email outreach templates – One for wholesalers and one for drop-shippers. You can edit these and use them for outreach with potential suppliers both domestically and abroad.
Here’s what you need to do if you want the Black Book:
- Click any of the purple buttons and then hit the I want this button
- Check your inbox to see your downloads and get access to your materials
Looking for fashion wholesale suppliers but still not quite sure which Ecommerce platform you want to build your business on?
I absolutely love and 100% recommend Shopify, especially since they have a FREE 14-day trial that you can take advantage of to help you build your store cost free.