Harvesting – with designer label “jham”.

BEYOND THE MARKET

It is easy to see why Perth couple Jodie and Andrew are a thriving success.  They are the perfect balance of talented designer and quintessential husband and wife collaboration.  The stylish simplicity and timeless elegance of their label transcends age and stereotypes and allows customers to develop their own sense of style by mixing and matching luxury tailored pieces.

What started out as a stall at the Fremantle markets now boasts over 120 stockists nationwide and business has never looked better.

Eager to understand their triumph from local market retailer to national wholesaler, Jodie was kind enough to share with me her valuable insight.

Did you start wholesaling or retailing first?

We started retailing first (in a market environment).  We knew little about the clothing industry and it was a good way to learn. It also fitted in well with our home life, with young children to care for. The direct customer feedback was invaluable in terms of producing a commercially viable product. Once we started wholesaling and built this side of the business, the market store was a convenient way to clear excess stock.  With the rise in popularity of internet sites, however, we have found that there are other ways, that are less labour intensive, to clear stock.  The markets enabled us to get a business off the ground but a few negatives started to creep in. I started to design with “market price points” in mind, which began to limit creativity. I also spent too much time working on the floor, which detracted from time spent designing new ranges and growing a business. Staying in a market environment for too long, in our industry, can also be risky from a branding perspective.

Why/how did you start  wholesaling?
We were approached by a couple of stores to see if we would be interested in selling our product to them.  We did, and it exceeded our expectations.  As luck has it, an agent brought several of our items from one of these stores, discovered it was a local label and approached us regarding representation by them.  Once we had one agent and our brand started to work for them, it was a lot easier to get other agents on board.
What are your best tips for someone thinking about wholesaling?

In the early days, Trade Shows helped us to build a customer base in areas where we didn’t have agents and we have found some of our best customers through them.  They can, however, be expensive and there is a higher risk of orders falling over as there is no pre-existing relationship so it’s important to keep a limit on the cost of these.
We now sell through a network of agents throughout the states.  For us, these professionals, with existing relationships in their states, get better results than we could.
For us the challenges of wholesale are to produce strong ranges that sell through,
ensure the agents have the selling materials they need and to look after our customers and service them professionally.
We were lucky to find a manufacturer who is reliable and has good quality control and this was essential.
Finally, it is always a challenge to keep consistent cash flow.   Foster relationships with customers who pay. Carrying too many of those who don’t, or are excruciatingly slow,  can send
a small business under.

Jodie Hebb

Thank you Jodie.

To find local stockists or buy online visit

www.jham.com.au

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