So I know you have all been waiting at the edge of your chair for the conclusion of my last story.
Our first big manufacturer to sign up was Landau Medical Uniforms. I went through the normal channels and steps you have to take to speak with a sales rep including sending in all my application forms and credit forms etc. However, I didn’t have any strong credit references in the uniform industry, which is what they specifically asked for. I used my banker, lawyer, and a screen printing shop I had done some business with and that was all. On top of it I was forming as a drop ship outfit so they knew there would not be a large up-front order for me to get my inventory up (this would prove to be and still is an ongoing issue to sign up new suppliers, as no one really wants to sign up more drop shipment only retailers).
After a week or so I received a call from the head of sales at Landau, which I imagine is a little unusual. He started asking me questions about our business model etc. It then came out that he was a UVA graduate, At the time I was still a student at Darden (UVA’s MBA School) which is why he called me personally. We hit it off and talked about the school a bit. After the conversation he approved our account. He never said that was the reason he gave us a chance, but I am pretty sure it is strongly correlated.
Once we signed up Landau (who also owns the Urbane Scrubs brand) I moved on to Dickies Medical Scrubs. I was able to use my new-found Landau agreement to help convince the Dickies people they should let me sell their product. It was still a tough sell but since I had one of their major competitors on board it was much easier to convince them.
Finally, I re-approached Cherokee Scrubs (who had initially told me I had no chance at signing them up). They saw that I was selling the scrubs of their two biggest competitors and realized that they were probably losing business.
Signing up these suppliers was a ton of work and a huge sales job all on its own. Today, I am starting to get fed up with the operational lackings of one of our smaller manufacturers…which I will talk about in my next post!
Until then (it wont be as long a wait as the last time!)