As an entrepreneur, you will most likely do business with a variety of vendors. Whether it’s retailers that you sell to, factories, suppliers or brand partners, it’s important to do reference checks.
Knowing more about a company you plan to work with is good for several reasons. You’ll want to know if their business practices, aesthetic, working style and beliefs are on brand with yours. The fashion industry thrives on relationships and you’ll want to make sure you develop a strong one from the start. And, most importantly, they will be touching your business and will hopefully be impacting it in a positive way.
There are also a lot of new companies emerging. Whether that’s tech startups, vendors and people that start companies due to the low cost of entry into the marketplace, you’ll want to know that you are working with people that understand your business and that can help you accomplish your goals.
There are a couple of ways to check references. You can simply ask them to supply you with a list of names that they have worked with that will vouch for their credibility. You can look at places like Yelp, the Maker’s Row database for factory reviews or simply ask your network and others in the industry to see if they have heard or have worked with the company you plan to do business with. If they are new, ask someone you respect if they sound legitimate and don’t forget to go with your gut!
Now should you check everyone’s references? Well, if you plan to do business with them then the safe answer is yes. This includes trade shows, consultants, sales reps, public relations companies, printing services, brokers, factors and the list goes on! Whether it’s a big or small task or company, getting a positive reference check, a strong referral or a recommendation is so vital because the implications of not doing it could cause you a lot of stress, money and time.
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