10 Fashion Market Essentials for the Boutique Buyer

If you are a first time boutique buyer market can be extremely overwhelming! Coming from a gal who has experienced one of the largest markets in the world, Magic in Vegas, to a more lax market such as Atlanta’s Americas Mart, I can slip some great tips to know before you go!

Many ladies will tell you, scrubs and tees but honestly, you are attending a FASHION market and by the way…what industry have you chosen to invest your time and money in? RIGHT…FASHION! Not to say you must sport your hottest heels but there are ways to dress the part while staying comfortable because lets be honest, 10 hours on your feet doing some serious shopping can be a drag on the ole steppers. I recommend cute flats with cushioned in soles and a comfortable flowy outfit. If you MUST wear workout clothes for the ultimate comfort…I must admit, by day 3 you will find me in my tennies and some sort of knotted tee, remember to be tasteful. I love some sleek black Nikes with solid black leggings, an oversized knotted graphic tee or sweater, and my red lips!

Market is huge and even though you will have 3 days, often times I have worked all three days and found myself needing a few more. It is essential to spend your time wisely so that you get all of the work you came for accomplished and your time is spent wisely. I spend a couple of hours a few days before my trip working on a vendor list and then mapping out those vendors. Create your list with booth numbers and sort the vendors in order according to the booth numbers so that you aren’t running all over market searching for the next appointment.
You are not required to have appointments to see most vendors and as a new buyer, you probably will not have anyone to set up appointments with. For the larger, higher end brands, you will be required to have an appointment, so if you plan to buy name brand, be sure to reach out a few weeks in advance and get on their appointment books!

(a fun statement necklace quickly dresses up any outfit for a fashion statement)

You will be hard at work all day and will be in need of several things as the day progresses. Be sure to bring your phone charger as you will be needing the cellular for some great item pics to share on social or just to remind you of your buys. Bring business cards because if you don’t, you will be stuck writing your address and information with EVERY purchase! It is much easier to attach a business card to your order.  Don’t forget your Vendor List as this will be the entire day’s program and your Budget List is essential for knowing when to stop saying yes…or better yet, when to say yes! I always forget snacks and become a walking zombie by 3pm. Stash snacks to keep the energy flowing. 


I create a month by month budget for the season and stick with it. The easiest way I have found to create a budget is to project what your sales will be during the months you are planning to buy for and times that number by your gross margin percentage. (ex/ 40,000 * .06) and that will help to give you an idea of what you need to purchase in that month.

When you walk into a booth you will notice that the hangers have different colors tagged at the top. These colors serve as an indication of when the items will be available to ship. A rep will more than likely come to help you pull items, start a buying rack, and make suggestions. 

Unsure if an item is hot or not? Just ask the vendor rep on hand. They are great sources for what is selling. If I ever get stuck on a color or style, I just ask my rep to give me a little help and they always steer me in the right direction. They know what is selling, what is not, what fits funny, and what is hot. Put your trust in them! For the most part, they don’t lie to try to get your money. These are long term relationships that they are trying to build so it is not in their best interest to lie to make the sale.  

Market is the best time to create excitement and hype on your social platforms. Remember to take pictures of your buys and share with your customers as well as boomerang and video your adventure! My customers love to see me hard at work to bring the best fashions to their closets!

Come across a booth that you like but have not ordered from before? Just let the rep know that you would like to “thumb the line.” This indicates to them that you are just browsing to get an idea of their style and you are not ready to start a rack. If you pull items off the shelf or rack and hold on to them, this indicates that you are ready to start a rack.

(Great example of what NOT to wear to market. I just love these rose heels from Steve Madden but they were only for the photos and not for the market floor!)
Not to be confused with dress for comfort. My first two times at market I played it very safe with my buys but as the years have gone by, I have learned that the real reason for market is to get the GOOD STUFF! A lot of times items sell out at market and they tend to be the most unique and different pieces. Take a few steps outside of your comfort zone and take a risk on the more unique pieces, this makes your shop more interesting and will keep your customers excited month by month. I will usually pick 3-6 very different pieces to add some fun to my clients closets. They love it and so do I!

Have you been to market before and have some other tips to add? I would love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below!

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Hi! I'm Alexandra

I am an entrepreneur, author, and mom of 3 from Memphis, Tennessee. I fill my days pursuing the dream of being my own boss as a full time influencer and sensory marketing specialist while spending my evenings playing superheros, helping with homework, making dinner, and tucking in my littles.

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