Last week, DITC headed out to the FX building to get an inside perspective on Wardell Agencies, an established and well-respected wholesale clothing agency that has been in business for over 40 years. For the scoop on this successful agency we booked an interview with the gorgeous Rachel Wardell.
We arrive at the agency and Rachel is busy at work answering the phone as it rings off the hook. As she’s swamped with calls, the DITC team takes the time to eye each clothing rack and take mental notes of what we want to buy, needless to say our mental notepads were filled within seconds.
We were lucky to steal some time out of Rachel’s busy day to sit down and find out more about her and her family’s agency.
Q & A with Rachel:
In one sentence, what is Wardell Agencies?
“Wardell Agencies is a western Canadian fashion agency and we sell to retail stores from Thunder Bay all the way out west.”
What brands do you carry?
“We represent a lot of different brands. French Connection UK is a big one. We also carry Dish, Kersh and its older sister line, Press, and Knitted Dove, which is created by a former designer for Anthropolgie. We have so many, those are just a few.”
What was it like growing up with a family in the fashion industry?
“Fashion has always been in my life. It’s what I knew and I always loved to dress up. I would always wear the fanciest party dresses out. I remember being young and always bringing everyone samples. I was known for it. People wanted me in their class because they knew they knew I was the source for great clothes.”
What do your days at the showroom typically involve?
“The days are always different but always crazy. So for today we started with scheduling meetings and then had an appointment with a client where we showed her some of the new collections for summer 2012. Then I’m usually on the phone or replying to the millions of emails and sometimes more appointments in the afternoon.”
“I love our clients. I love going away to visit clients and interacting with them in their own environment. The buying shows are great and always full of opportunities. I like to check out a lot of the smaller retailers and when I find one that will fit well with our company I talk to whoever’s in charge and negotiate with them. I enjoy that and it’s great because that company is really thankful that we’ve decided to buy from them. It’s a win-win.”
What advice can you give to females wanting to get in to the fashion industry?
“Just get out there, don’t be nervous or shy. It’s a tough industry so you have to be persistent and aggressive otherwise someone else will take your spot. Jump in with two feet and, once you’re in, you have to be ready to work your a** off. The fashion industry is a lot less glamorous than it’s made out to be.”
Written by: Melissa Lawson