Agents and Distributors: What’s the Difference?
7 September 2015
Author: Anton Dell
It is important to differentiate between agents and distributors. Agents, or ‘reps’ as they are called in USA, are individuals or companies that represent brands and work on commission. They typically ask for 10, 12 or even 15% commission.
You, the brand, will send them a sample collection, and they will then take an order from you. You deliver the order to the relevant store(s) and collect payment. You then pass on the agreed percentage to the agent.
There are two types of distributor. The first and most common type of distributor is sent a collection which they then pitch to stores. The distributor will send you a seasonal or weekly order. You deliver the orders to them before they distribute your collection to stores. The distributor collects payment and passes on your share to you. Most distributors want a 25-30% discount on your wholesale price, or a good margin.
The second type of distributor will place a large bulk order in advance from which they will sell to stores. Payment will be passed on to you directly. A similar discount as mentioned above will be expected.
The latter is less common these days, although some distributors of this kind remain in operation for big store groups in Asia and the Middle East.
If you are in need of further clarification, we will be able to provide this to you over the phone.