A few weeks ago I posted a picture on Instagram (@fourelevenblog) of me dressing a mannequin. The location of the photo was labeled as the “Cooper Design Space” (a wholesale fashion mart in downtown LA), and a lot of people started asking me about how and why I was there.
For those of you who don’t already know, I’ve been working in a showroom there since October. It’s pretty hard to believe I haven’t written a post about it yet! So here it is, a day in the life of a showroom intern:
What exactly is a wholesale showroom?
A wholesale showroom is where buyers for different retailers can come to pick out the different items that they want to sell in their stores. In other words, you shop retail in Nordstrom’s stores, but Nordstrom shops wholesale in our showroom. All designers and brands have showrooms to display their lines. Wholesale prices are usually half of what you’d pay for something in a store, but showrooms are not open to the public. You need a retailer’s license to shop in these showrooms, and usually you can’t buy single pieces (you would need to order 6 of each piece.)
What are my jobs?
A lot of merchandising. I hang up samples and organize the many racks of clothes in our showroom. I unpack, steam, price, hang, and take pictures of new samples. I also do a lot of paperwork and filing. (Classic intern stuff…)
Do I get free clothes?
No. I wish I was that cool! But I am able to take advantage of special sample sales and deals within the different showrooms in the building. I’ve met a lot of interesting people in the hallways and elevators who have offered me some great deals on clothes! Also, I can put in a “personal” order on anything in the showroom without having to adhere to the “6 piece minimum” rule, so that’s pretty cool. But I think the coolest part of my job is seeing everything before it is available in retail stores. I get to work with lines that wont be released until July 2014! It’s super exciting and like being “in” on a secret
Wanna come check out the wholesale scene?
Many of the showrooms downtown host “sample sales” on the last Friday of every month, which are open to the public. You can get great bargains with no sales tax. Some tips: you will need to pay cash, you won’t get shopping bags–so bring one, and there are no dressing rooms. For more info, check out the sample sale page on the CMC’s website.