If I wanted to set up an online shop/boutique where do you begin to look for suppliers? I have an idea of what I want to sell but not much clue about how to actually get the items to me first ifykwim. I am leaning towards cookware/kitchenware if that makes a difference.
I just e-mailed the companies I was interested in directly. The response was mixed at first - one didn't reply, one said 'no, you're too new' and one said 'we're not looking for any new retailers in Europe'.
So I was a bit despondent, but then decided to chase the non-responder, who enthusiastically agreed to supply to me, then I went back to the one that had said no and asked again (with the website updated to show the other brand who had agreed to supply) and they said yes (would say less than 2 months between first and second approach).
Then I had enough on my site to be taken seriously and I contacted a few other suppliers direct via e-mail and they were all happy to supply me.
If you know the sort of brands you're looking for, could you see if they are exhibiting at any trade shows? The really big shows such as Home and Gift in Harrogate in July, Autumn fair in Birmingham, Top Drawer London etc have websites with lists of exhibitors, and feature all sorts of wholesale companies. Trade fairs are a great place to talk to lots of suppliers in one go!
Gift Focus trade mag www.giftfocus.com/ is free to subscribe to and does feature some cookware etc businesses, though there may be other trade magazines that are more suited to cookware etc.
Thanks for all of your responses, they are really helpful.
I will definitely try the direct contact route emsyj because I do have a few brands that I am definitely interested in. I am not a stalker (honestly!) but have noticed your name on some of the legal threads. I am a solicitor looking for a way out too so it is nice to know that other people in my position are doing the same thing and making it work
I have had a look at the trade fairs and registered my interest in the Spring Fair in Birmingham and Top Drawer in London and am signing up for some wholesaler lists so that I can start getting some trade brochures.