As a home decor retailer, your relationship with your wholesale cushion supplier is one of the most important relationships for your business. You want to know that your suppliers are providing quality products for your customers that represent your business well, and that their business practices reflect your core values.
Decorative cushions will always be a staple in the homes of customers living in North America and beyond. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most important questions to ask a wholesale cushion supplier before deciding to partner with them.
1. What Are Your Core Values?
It is important to know that your core values as a business are in line with those of your most important business partners. Values around corporate social responsibility, employee satisfaction, labour relations and environmental sustainability are key parts of a company’s values.
It is also essential to know that your suppliers comply with all local and international regulations for their industry. When their values as a business are in line with the values of yours, it creates a strong bond and a solid relationship.
2. Are Your Products Ethically Sourced?
Finding the right wholesale supplier can be tricky. You want to make sure they can provide throw cushions in North America at a good price, and ensure the company has the capacity to manufacture the quantities you need in a timely manner. Some wholesalers may offer lower prices, but this sometimes hides business practices that are not in line with your core values or means that their promises are too good to be true.
As a retailer you are responsible for the goods you carry in your store. You want to make sure that your suppliers share these same values and aren’t cutting corners to give you lower prices. For cushion suppliers, this means providing a clear chain of where their Down is sourced, how it is obtained and that the animals and workers are treated in an ethical manner.
At Westex, we work directly with Hutterite farmers who supply the Goose Down for our Hutterite Down pillows and duvets. This relationship is built on trust and ensures the quality of the Down for our products. We are also a proud member of the Down Association of Canada and all our Down products are Downmark certified.
3. Do You Outsource Production?
Once you’ve found a North American supplier of throw pillows in Toronto that you trust, you want to make sure that the products they supply are manufactured in their facility and not outsourced to another manufacturer who may not share the same quality standards.
For some products, different components are made in separate facilities with different manufacturers. As a retailer, it is vital to know where your products come from and to know you can trust every link in the chain. In the last few years, many retailers have come under scrutiny, stocking products that do not live up to safety standards or include unethical components. Be sure you know where your products are made and know you have a supplier you can trust.
4. Do You Have the Capacity To Supply the Number of Throw Cushions I Need?
Not all wholesale suppliers will have the capacity to supply large-scale orders on a regular basis. Not all suppliers will be able to accommodate small quantity orders regularly. Be sure you ask about their manufacturing turnaround time and minimum orders, as well as what their regular capacity is. You should also inquire about their warehouse and storage capacity to see if they can handle the product orders you require.
At Westex, we are a family-owned and operated business with a 110,000 sq. ft. facility. Our warehouse contains over 1,000,000 units of product at any given time to give our customers a faster turnaround for orders. Our product selection is constantly evolving to stay on top of all the latest trends and technologies in home fashion and bedding.
5. Is The Price Right?
It is an essential part of business, but you must make sure that the price quoted by your supplier is in line with other markets and competitors. If their price is much lower than other suppliers, it may indicate that their quality or service level isn’t as high - so be sure to ask how they establish their prices.
6. How Will You Communicate?
Communication between retailers and suppliers is essential for a successful partnership. Knowing there is a clear line of communication and a structure to ensure messages connect with regular check-ins will help things run smoothly and can help you avoid challenging, unexpected situations. Decide who will be the key person to communicate with your supplier and establish a straightforward method for handling issues and getting regular updates.
7. Do You Have Clear Service Level Agreements?
Service Level Agreements or (SLAs) are contracts that you create with your suppliers that clearly set out what service they will provide. Included would be clear responsibilities, standards that suppliers must meet, delivery times, payment terms and how disputes will be handled. These agreements protect both the supplier and the retailer in case obligations are not met. If your supplier does not provide a clear SLA, they may not be the ones to trust with your business.
At Westex, we are a family business with over 40 years of experience in the bedding and home décor industry. We pride ourselves in providing our customers exclusive looks and designs, which gives the advantage of standing out in the marketplace. If you are interested in becoming a partner with Westex, get in touch with our team today.