Now, if you’re thinking to start a small business by being a re-seller or a retailer of clothing, shoes and accessories, you are definitely in the right city. The reason why Bangkok is known as a shopping haven is simply this: It’s the city where shop owners shop.
Owners of small clothing businesses from other countries particularly in Southeast Asia come to Bangkok to buy in wholesale and have slowly then established their own networks of sourcing goods. It took me awhile to find and source goods for my small online-based business and even until now, I’m still on the lookout for more goods and better designs. It can be a challenge especially since you want to establish long-term business relationships with these suppliers. How to approach suppliers and establish business relationships will be further discussed in a future blog post but for now, we’ll focus more on where to source items to start a small retail business. Here are my top 4 wholesale shopping destinations for Bangkok clothing, shoes and accessories.
1. Pratunam (from Platinum Mall to Indra Square and the whole market in between)
WHY? This is undoubtedly the top wholesale fashion destination in Bangkok. This is the place where wholesalers, retailers, small business owners and shoppers collide. Small business owners normally buy in bulk quantities then sell it in their own smaller stores. Locals and tourists alike scour the crowded alleys of this popular Bangkok shopping mall for trendy clothing, shoes and accessories made by budding young Thai designers and items from China, Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.
HOW TO GET HERE. Take the BTS sky train to either Chidlom or Rachathewi stations. If you get off at BTS Chidlom station, walk further north on Rachadamri Road until you have reached the Pratunam junction. If you get off at BTS Rachathewi station, walk further east on Phetchaburi Road until you have reached the Pratunam junction. The Pratunam shopping district spans from Platinum Mall on the Pratunam junction to Indra Square and the whole big market in between.
TIP: If you come sometime around 3PM, you will find the best bargains. Many stores in the Pratunam market close at 3PM so many shop owners are willing to give shoppers good bargains around this time. When the Pratunam market stalls close, head to nearby Platinum Market, Indra Square, City Complex Pratunam and other air-conditioned malls to continue shopping until the evening.
2. Chatuchak Market
WHY? Chatuchak Market or JJ Market is one of the world’s largest weekend markets. With over 15,000 stores and 200,000 visitors each day it opens, JJ Market offers a range of products from clothing, footwear, men’s and ladies accessories, home furnishings, art decor, handmade crafts, Buddhist artifacts, dinner ware, and pets. If you are a tourist or a small business owner from another country, there are on-site companies that can ship bulk purchases abroad.
HOW TO GET HERE. Take the BTS sky train to Mo Chit station. Chatuchak Market is a good 5 minute walk from the train station. Alternatively, you can also take the MRT underground train to Chatuchak station.
TIP: If you find something you like, either buy it or take the shop’s business card to note the stall number and soi number (alley number). JJ Market is huge so chances are, you may not find the same stall again.
3. Union Mall, Ladprao
WHY? Union Mall is hugely popular for younger Thai shoppers looking for a good bargain on clothing, shoes and accessories. This mall first opened in the mid to late 2000’s and is since then known for 2 things: clothes, accessories and computer peripherals. On the first 4 floors you will see hundreds of shops selling clothing, accessories, shoes, make up and bags and is a good place to source your items. Everyday in the early afternoon, this mall is packed with Thai teens and university students all looking for a bargain.
HOW TO GET HERE. Take the MRT underground train to Pahonyothin station and Union Mall is connected to the subway exits.
TIP: Come before 5PM before the surge of Thai teens and university students crowd the mall.
4. Bobae Market, Krung Kasem Road
WHY? Traditionally, Bobae Market served as the venue for wholesale clothing and accessories until it was overrun by the hugely popular Pratunam market. Having said these, the goods here are at bargain prices and usually in bulk quantities so it’s a favorite haunt among shoppers and traders.
HOW TO GET HERE. Being the oldest existing garment center has it charms but coming here can be a bit of a challenge. It’s not walking distance to any BTS sky train or MRT underground trains so it means the easiest way to come here is by taxi (or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can go by boat on Khlong Saen Sab (Saen Sab Canal).
TIP: If you come in the early morning at around 5AM, you can get the best bargains with the street stalls because those that open early don’t have to pay for rent so their cost is cheaper.
There are other well-known places to source goods in Bangkok to start your clothing business. Do you wish to share your own experiences in finding good suppliers? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
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