If you are like me, and you don’t clothes shop for pleasure but out of obligation, shopping at a wholesaler (grossiste, in French) is an awesomely frugal experience. Expect to pour over racks of clothing to find the gem in your size, but remember you didn’t go for the atmosphere. In my search for a winter coat this season, I visited all the major prêt-à-porter brands, sales, online alerts…and came up empty handed for my budget.
When I strolled by a coat shop which I understood to be a wholesaler, I always thought one day I’d have to check in and see if they’d be willing to make just one sale. Turns out they did! They had a huge selection of coats, wool, cashmere, blends, all lined and excellent quality. Coats that this designer/producer normally sells off to Galleries Lafayette where they are marked up to 300-400 Euros were selling for 150 directly from this shop (corner of rue de Normandie and rue Charlot 75003).
It’s not the first wholesaler success story. My friend found her bridesmaid’s dress in a rue Saint Denis shop for a steal of a price (one fifth the retail price). In fact, rue Saint Denis is lined with wholesalers, as is the surrounding area reputed for textiles “Le Sentier“.
I might be coming from a place of ignorance in my excitement of this wholesale success, but it never hurts to ask if they’re willing to make a sale to an individual!