Before buying directly in bulk, it's smart to visit the wholesaler you want to order. Of course, that's time and money consuming (don't underestimate the cost of a trip to a wholesaler), but on the other hand, it could save you lots of money not ordering the wrong products.
Get in touch with the wholesaler and ask a quote for the products.
Try to get a free video call (doesn't cost you anything and maybe solves already most of your questions)
Make handpicking first (if the wholesaler offers this service, you will understand who you are working with and it will give you great insights). The pricing of handpicking is often too high to make a good profit on volume because you will not find the "gold" most of the time. We often experienced that the best pieces are not in the handpicking facility because wholesaler has old and good clients they are working with for a long time and like in every business, the best-paying clients get the best products. Especially in Vintage, you have to negotiate good deals to get some of the rare pieces inside.
Order small trials of the categories you want to sell (if they are right, order more, but be careful, often the quality of the first delivery is the best)
Don't accept less quality than agreed and always negotiate the price (again, the more volume you buy, the more valuable you will be for the wholesaler)
Plan yourself already some setbacks of products you will not like and probably will not sell, that's, unfortunately, part of the process. Anyways, if you work with a quality supplier, they will always find a solution for your needs (if it was their fault).
When buying wholesale, be also careful to read the different grades. Vintage clothing comes in 3 grades:
- Grade A: the "cream" should be perfect products with no problems (no stains, holes, etc.). There will be some broken items anyways, and that's normal. The ratio is important, so you have to understand if the order is overall profitable or not.
- Grade B: products with little damages (stains, holes, broken zipper, missing hoodie string, etc.) It would be best if you didn't buy Grade B accept you have a wholesaler where the Grade B is nearly a Grade A and the products are still overall sellable.
- Grade C: products that are not sellable because of significant damages
Generally, the grading is only about the quality of the products; some wholesaler also counts over-sized products as Grade B. To understand all about the grading speak with the wholesaler you want to work with and ask for examples to have everything clear.