How A One-Person Sustainable Activewear Brand Manages Its Retail Partnerships Efficiently
“I’ve had people reach out about their marketplaces wanting me to join. Unless they’re on Convictional, it’s just a lot of operational effort to try to update every single platform.”
Reprise is a line of plant-based activewear designed to bring you a better, more natural workout. Reprise’s products are polyester-free and made for comfort with plant-based and sustainable materials across its supply chain. The pieces are made out of Tencel, a eucalyptus based fiber, and are designed and manufactured in New York City.
Give Consumers a Plastic-Free Activewear Solution
Mary Bemis founded Reprise in 2017 when she realized that the fast fashion habits that she and so many others engage in were harmful to the environment. She saw an opportunity to create a sustainable activewear brand that brought trends she saw in the clean food and clean beauty movements to fashion.
In 2018, Mary completed the initial round of designs for Reprise and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 and fund its first round of production. She did this while working her full-time data and analytics job in New York.
After Reprise went live, Mary wanted to scale the business by showing up wherever her customers shopped, not just on her own website. To broaden her reach, she needed to develop retail partnerships.
The only problem? Wholesaling to retailers proved trickier to figure out than she expected.
Going from DTC to Retail While Avoiding Wholesale Challenges
For Mary, wholesaling to retailers had higher barriers to entry than going direct to consumers did.
“...It felt like I needed to go to trade shows, collect orders, sort of that old school model,” says Mary.
Wholesale pricing and inventory management proved challenging for her to work through when she got into initial discussions with retailers. “...The costing and margins are different than direct to consumer,” she says.
This challenge clashed with the fact that prospective customers tended to buy Reprise products after they had an opportunity to interact with its Tencel material.
Mary knew she had to partner with retailers quickly, or else she’d miss out on sales.
“...It felt like I needed to go to trade shows, collect orders, sort of that old school model”
Power Retail Partnerships With Dropship Automation
As Mary was figuring out her retail strategy, she was approached by The Verticale, a Convictional customer. The Verticale asked her whether she would be interested in listing Reprise’s products on their conscious and ethical retail marketplace and dropshipping them to The Verticale’s customers.
Mary was able to start selling Reprise’s products on The Verticale in a couple of days.
Convictional’s Stripe integration also enables her to get payouts from The Verticale the same day for orders that come through their dropship marketplace. The integration automates both invoicing and payouts, removing the need for Mary to do either manually on a monthly basis.
For new brands looking to dropship with retailers, Mary’s advice is that platforms like Convictional make trade easy, but they don’t replace the retailer-brand relationship.
“It’s still a channel that requires building a relationship with them and work,” says Mary.
One Place to Manage Multiple Retail Partnerships
In addition to The Verticale, Reprise is now available on Cadre Style, another Convictional retailer.
With Convictional, Mary is able to manage her retail partnerships without having to navigate multiple different tools. “It’s just one thing I have to manage,” she says. She’s able to manage her partnerships by herself, which reduces her costs.
As more retailers approach Reprise to list the brand in their stores, Mary filters them by whether they’re on a platform like Convictional or not. Otherwise, “it's a lot of operational efforts to try to update every single platform,” she says.