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Getting footwear suppliers onside.

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by globalperspective, Oct 14, 2010.

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    As a newb from London I'm just going to launch in, ask a few questions and risk a flame.

    I've been trying to find footwear suppliers in Sydney, Australia, to provide a small range of footwear that I can stock in a new specialist running business. They seem very protectionist and reluctant to meet let along commit to provision of a small range of running footwear.

    Is this a typical response from the likes of ASICS and similar? There must be a way to gain their attention and get a foot in the door to pitch a business idea?

    Is there a means by which I can obtain a line of supply of running shoes via a third party without being skinned by the intermediary? I've not trawled the sight but is there a provider list which I can access?

    There will be many more questions but thanks in advance of any responses.
  2. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Protectionist is strong word but it would seem that there is some truth in that.

    Suppliers will base supplying you on a few things.

    Location, are you wanting to set up near an existing client of theirs, is it a high profile area ?

    Minimum purchase for some are as much as $15,000.00

    What do you offer their brand, this is a big one, meaning what will be the makeup of your store, the look the feel.

    l know most of my suppliers photographed my store to show "The boss" for approval before supplying.

    Try some of the lesser known brands, still good products.

    You will need to pick the product carefully but some Dunlop are made by the better known brands during lows in production, Orthaheel have a few.

    If a third party was to supply you and get found out they may very well loose their supply also.

    Good luck with it
  3. pgcarter

    pgcarter Well-Known Member

    I have been a retailer in Aus for 25yrs, we have all sorts of laws about restraint of trade, none of which are ever enforced. The big retailers lean on the suppliers to limit competition by not supplying new accounts. Things like large up front orders, an expectation that you will stock most of their huge range etc means that capital invested in footwear in stock can be $250k before you have much of a range at all. Plenty of these types of businesses fall over in Aus in the first 1 to 5 years of operation. We don't have a huge population and sales volumes are often not as big as people think. You'll need to be cashed up to fill a shop with stock, getting credit from the big companies used to be a nightmare.
    regards Phill
  4. Thank you for these very informative answers.

    I will follow-up with another question which might seem a little naive but I am a newb.

    Why do professionals not try to control the outcome of their client intervention?

    That is, between leaving the consulting office and returning to running clients are likely to present to the high street for running shoes. This selection and purchase is not controlled by the clinician. Why are clinicians not filling the retail space before the client gets to the high street? Is there a reason why professional services can't extend into retail?

    Is it simply historic that clinical and retail are separated? There seems to be a yawning gap. There must be a case to be made for clinicians filling this space.

  5. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Put your money up and go for it, others have done it, you just need to find a store to buy that has the brands you want or find a location near to no other retailer.

    Or you can advise your clients to buy the shoe and return to you before they run, but then again who is to say you know more about the multiple shoe brands and styles than a well trained retailer that spend all day doing that one task?
  6. pgcarter

    pgcarter Well-Known Member

    It was always my early intention to do exactly that, go back to retailing as a pod with a shop full of all sorts of sport shoes. Somewhere along the line I just got sick of retailing and did not want to go back. There are a few shops in Melb owned and run by a few pods, I'm sure they have every intention of one day owning the world.....talk to them about franchising.....I'm sure it has potential. One of them opened about 100m from my original ski and trekking shop, just can't remember what it's called, there's one in Prahran also, probably more by now too. I moved to the country instead, love it, traffic lights are optional.
    regards Phill Carter
  7. Jeremy Long

    Jeremy Long Active Member

    These are all valid points regarding adding footwear dispensary within a podiatry practice. We have certainly done this successfully in our setting, and it continues to be a growing segment of our business. It is not something that should be ventured half-heartedly. Many practices are not business planned on the significantly lower profit margins that is represented by footwear (not to mention the commitments of time and product returns), and are therefore in positions where referring patients to trusted off-site retailers makes better business and medical sense.

    Should you make this kind of commitment to care, follow the recommendations presented by David. Also select brands that provide you quality merchandise without having to needlessly shave margin to remain competitive with traditional retailers. Also seek brands whose management has a sincere interest in developing credible, technical trade channels.
  8. pgcarter

    pgcarter Well-Known Member

    One other significant factor is the support a good practice gets from footwear reatilers, if you DON'T sell footwear. I get loads of referrals from the shoe stores and I'm sure these would dry up if I began to compete with them.
    regards Phill Carter

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