Diverse wholesale partnerships are the best insurance policy

November 24, 2020

The experience of 2020 has taught us the real possibility of extreme economic and social shock. No one anticipated the health crisis or its comprehensive disruption of the apparel industry. 

The past year forced highly promising independent labels, weakened from over-reliance on luxury department stores like Barney’s and Opening Ceremony, to close shop. It drove many brands to permanently shutter physical stores, adopt online-only models, and/or enter bankruptcy. And experts predict a rush of apparel M&A will set the stage for 2021. What sets apart the brands who made it through in one piece from those that didn’t? In a word: their partnerships.

The digital-first transformation is an ongoing one, and almost everyone has had to adapt fast on the back-end to survive the change in circumstances. Brands that have leveraged technology to diversify their partnerships, however, have fared better than most. This is because if one piece of the business model shuts down, they still have an outlet or two to sell product and keep the ship afloat.

JOOR brands with a global presence--or those who leveraged the JOOR platform to become global fast--have enjoyed this advantage. To date, the US has had a much harder time managing and recovering from the virus than have Japan, other parts of Asia, Oceania and Europe. North American brands with the partnerships to sell to these areas have benefitted, and will continue to do so. Exciting opportunities to trade digitally in India are developing as well. 

And savvy brands who want to increase their stability diversify not only in terms of geography, but also in terms of retailer type. Over the course of the crisis for example, e-commerce partners and/or omnichannel retailers have had opportunities to do business when others have not. And for many, that business has meant more than just ‘getting by:’ although on average individual customers have spent less on apparel over the course of 2020, the greater number of customers shopping online has created new opportunities. And as aftershocks continue to roll in from COVID-19 and precipitate other unexpected events, JOOR brands have been able to work with the in-platform community to diversify their partnerships--exploring agreements with pure-play e-tailers, as well as the online divisions of department store partners.  

That’s not all. In this tighter market, curation is very much a thing. To justify spend during this challenging time, discerning consumers demand unique, well-curated assortments--stand out products that will help them stand out from the crowd. Individualization and clearly defined edits have long defined successful boutiques, specialty stores, subscription players, and pop-up-shops--whether online or multi-channel, independent or part of a department store experience. So these connections have additionally proven of great value.   

And digital transformation unlocks possibility. The more connected the brand, the faster it can pivot to take advantage of opportunities as they emerge. Smooth, smart automation paves the way for newer channel possibilities like drop-shipping at scale, livestream ‘see now, buy now’ activations, and/or partnering with international long-tail marketplaces such as Farfetch. 

Over the course of 2020, JOOR has offered the less technically advanced a chance to bring their business online easily and diversify fast, while at the same time providing more digitally-savvy clients opportunities to expand and strengthen their global partnerships through. By integrating virtual showrooms into the PASSPORT online trade show experience and including rich collaboration tools, JOOR has unlocked unlimited possibilities to research and discover new partnerships. In this fully connected international ecosystem, brands and buyers can connect, collaborate and transact from anywhere in the world--organically building the largest curated global fashion marketplace.


To find out more about diversifying and growing your business with JOOR, 

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