Set a timer. Give yourself a period of time for sourcing to challenge yourself or to just stop by your favorite spot on your lunch break. How do you make the most of this time?
Source by category: Choose entire sections to source or to forgo in order to effectively manage attention on the areas you need to source the most for your store. Focus on what your store needs most - if you only have a short time, use it effectively where your business is lacking. -- Example: Today I concentrated on jeans and shoes because these items have been turning over the quickest for me lately, and I’m hoping to keep the trend going.
Focus on fabric feel: This applies to sourcing at the bins (if your gutsy and go sans-gloves), flipping through thrift clothing racks, or even deciding on shoes -- always feel the fabric when figuring out quality. -- Example: Flipping through the racks today my hand felt something especially high quality. The fabric felt silky smooth but thick and substantial, so I checked the inside tag for the label -- Dolce & Gabbana. Had I not had contact with the items’ fabrics I was flipping past, I’d have missed that golden find.
Stay picky: Know what you aren’t planning on sourcing this trip brand or style-wise and what you are -- ie. If a brand isn’t selling well for you currently, know ahead of time to forgo picking up more similar or like inventory. This will save you time debating in store. -- Example: I passed on a Lilly Pulitzer tunic dress because I’ve noticed sales do better for that brand in the warm weather months, and it’s currently quite frigid most places around here.
Knowledge is power: Know your labels (ahead of time) + know the most common styles’ general resell prices to speed up the “flipping through the rack” process and cut time searching comps while out -- Note: if you *really* don’t know a piece’s resell price and it seems worth checking -- do take a second to check comparable sold listings. Just try not to do this for everything when on a time crunch. -- Example: I look up labels at home all the time, on google, instagram, and pinterest. I discover new excellent brands all the time - like Corso Como for shoes. The sold prices are great and it’s one I recognized from an instagram haul of another reseller, which I researched on a day when I had the time. Today wasn’t for looking up brands, it was for finding labels and quality items I knew worked.
Quick checks on high turnover areas: Check out new arrivals racks, recent markdowns, behind the counter specialty items, and the area right outside the dressing room where everyone leaves their items that don’t fit them on the way out of the store in order to catch newly merchandised or placed inventory quickly -- try going at the start or end of the trip to keep an effective routine. -- Example: End of the rack areas tend to be where some people put items back or where workers will place inventory. I’ve noticed that employees at one of my favorite hot spots for sourcing tend to put new inventory on ends of racks when it’s busy. This morning, I spied the Johnny Was label while passing the aisles on my way to the checkout counter at the end of my trip - huge score and it took no extra time to source.
Take the time to talk: No matter how little time you have when sourcing, I always think it pays dividends to take a moment and say hello to familiar faces working at your favorite places. Just a simple and genuine compliment can open unseen doors. In addition to being generally cool friends, these are the people that can tell you about the best times for their inventory turnover and insider tips at their location. -- Example: I always compliment one employee for her exquisite nails and makeup -- I mean, she looks perfectly put together whether it be first thing in the morning or at the end of a long shift. When I was first sourcing, she helped guide me to what day the half-off tag color of the week would change so I could find the best deals. Lately, she amazingly rings up my colored jeans as pants to get me a better price overall.