The Folklore’s Speaker Series is a monthly webinar where we provide our community of brands with expert advice, knowledge and industry insight to grow and succeed in every aspect of their business. October’s instalment was led by Amira Rasool, the founder and CEO of The Folklore Group, where she shared her knowledge on how the tools and support available on The Folklore Connect can empower fashion brands to grow their wholesale business.
A former writer and editor who has written for publications such as, Vogue, Teen Vogue, V Magazine, and WWD, Rasool was inspired to create The Folklore after traveling to South Africa and coming across many African brands she couldn’t buy at home, and became determined to solve the problem of the inability to shop those African designer brands online or outside of Africa.
As an online retail concept, The Folklore offered high-end and emerging designer brands from Africa and the diaspora, and enhanced the visibility and financial success of Africa’s garment industry by exposing a global customer base to exclusive designers and styles.
Today, The Folklore Group is a commerce company that empowers diverse consumer product businesses in global markets such as Africa, South America, and Asia. The Folklore Group’s anchor product, The Folklore Connect, is a wholesale platform that provides software for brands to increase their wholesale business and retailers with a marketplace to discover and shop these brands.
Below, Rasool shares the tools and service that brands who sign up to the platform can benefit from to expand their wholesale operations and retail partnerships.
The Folklore Connect gives brands the opportunity to be easily discovered by the top retailers on the planet through its digital showroom. Your Connect showroom is a virtual storefront that retailers can access at any time, explore your collections, as well as make purchase orders, all on the same platform. To help present your brand confidently and stylishly, the Connect virtual showroom is equipped with tools to display your products in the best possible light, with hi-res imagery uploads, prompts for important details such as product descriptions and country of origin, and the ability to arrange virtual market appointments.
Product and order management
Connect offers a seamless way to manage your product listing and purchase orders you receive. Use the CSV product upload feature to import multiple products at the same time or add videos to your listings to show motion and more detailed angles of your products. Any product that you tag will be automatically included in smart collections that allow browsers to search by custom categories, or to generate a downloadable line sheet to share offline. You are also able to easily track your inventory levels to set minimum product orders or to prevent your stock from overselling.
Our order management system lets you receive wholesale orders from retail customers directly in your dashboard. You can see all your orders in one place — to review, approve or decline, and manage and track the fulfillment until delivery — as well as details of the retailer and specific buyer, the order value and payments, which can be made online or offline directly into your bank account.
The Connect Marketplace is where retailers and buyers can see all the brands available on the platform, including yours. They able to search and filter brands by location, product offering, and categories such as woman-owned, Black-owned, and sustainable practices. The marketplace makes it easy for retailers to discover your products according to their business needs, and that their customers will love.
Each retailer selected to join The Folklore Connect is thoroughly vetted on various factors including, but not limited to, being in business for at least two years, a verifiable history of selling quality and superior products and brands, and an active commitment to supporting diverse designers. Approved retailers are then given a virtual passport to explore collections on the platform, place wholesale orders by simply adding products to cart and checking out.
Connect brands can invite their existing retail partners to also join the platform and have their application fast tracked using a special retailer invite link. “Inviting your existing retailers is important because it’s free to both you and the retailer,” Rasool says. “We take no commission when you invite your existing retailers, it saves you time from having to go back and forth with your retailers when it comes to negotiating terms or providing information about a product, all of it is there for them.”
Having all of your orders from existing and new retailers in one place means you can better manage your operations. There’s the potential to increase your order size because all retailers will be able to see more of your products, and get all the information they need at the same time. Another advantage is the improvement of customer satisfaction — if your retail partner also joins Connect, our team will be able to help both you and the retailer.
Connect provides an inbound messaging center where you can communicate directly with retailers on the platform. There’s also a virtual meeting room where you can invite guests and host video or audio meetings without leaving the platform to use Zoom, WhatsApp or email. You can also use the scheduling service to receive, review and respond to digital (or in-person) appointment scheduling requests from retailers.
The Folklore Connect supports its brands by marketing their products and bringing them to the attention of retailers. From email marketing and social media activations to editorial content, we spotlight our brands across all channels. Our aim is not just to show that you have great products, but products with a great story that resonates with retailers and their customers. Connect customers that are on the Plus or Premium plans get priority for discovery opportunities, such as the recent Coterie trade show in New York.
Connect has a live support chat that enables you to speak directly to a member of the The Folklore team, eliminating the need for emails or phone calls. Instead, you get a direct and immediate response to any issues on the platform or query you have. The site’s Help center also has a lot of information for both brands and retailers, such as the onboarding process, FAQs, how to approve orders, pricing and commission structures, and so much more.
The Folklore Connect offers multiple pricing options to fit the needs of a variety of different businesses. We have free commission-only plans, flat rate annual fee plans, and hybrid plans that combine both fee and commission. You can review our pricing here.