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Resources for Fashion Entrepreneurs: Company Research & Lead Generation

Trade Shows 

Trade shows, sometimes called exhibitions or expos, are the place where fashion brands and companies can showcase their lines to prospective buyers so that the buyers can view multiple collections in one place. In addition to finding prospective buyers, trade shows allow you to research you competitors by looking at the lines of other similar brands, and they also allow you to network with and learn from other fashion industry professionals. In addition to the shows below, look at this link to see additional fashion trade shows.

Company Databases 

The library subscribes to company directory databases that allow you to research a particular company or construct lists of companies using geography, NAICS codes, sales volume, and other factors. These company profiles or lists of company profiles can be downloaded or exported as CSV or excel files. This is worthwhile if you wanted to put lists of retailers into a CRM for sales lead generation or if you wanted to find details on a competitors estimated expenditures or credit information. 

Salesman's Guides


The library subscribes to the print editions of Retail Sales CONNECT's "Salesman's Guides." These directories have the names and contact information for thousands of buyers at different retail outlets. These books are reference and can only be used at the Central Library, but you will be able to scan or copy the pages .

SWOT Reports and Articles

When you are coming up with your brand strategy, you want to research what other companies and brands in your industry are doing. This will allow you to borrow from what they do well and avoid what they do wrong. You also may want to conduct this kind of research on companies in adjacent industries, such as retailers and jewelry or accessories brands. This information will allow to better understand what would make your brand attractive to potential buyers and think of strategies for collaborating with jewelry and accessories designers. Two great ways to do this are to read SWOT reports, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is illustrated by the image below, and read articles on companies in these industries in trade publications.

SWOT Analysis

Company Filings

Large public companies have to file reports with the SEC, or Securities and Exchange Commission, in the United States or with the appropriate governing body in the country in which the company is publicly traded. These filings contain detailed financial information which can be used to create ratios for your brand to set as benchmarks. These reports also generally have information on the company's growth strategies, which segments are performing well, and which sales channels are performing well. This information can be valuable for evaluating your company's financials,including cash flow, product offerings, and distribution channels.