I used to hit the Fabric District in LA quite a bit. But last year I left that task to my husband who helps with the business. I took him there one day and introduced him to my vendors and told him where to find what I need and then I started staying home to focus on other parts of the business and sent him up on his own. At first he was petrified and frustrated. The vendors tried to charge him higher prices because they didn’t remember him. I would tell him who would try to do that and how to talk them down but he struggled at first. Now he’s an old pro. That’s him above in the black coat. Now he knows more vendors than I do and he has talked down prices even more for me since our volume has gone up.
I think many vendors see this as the land of opportunity but I see it through more jaded eyes. I see it as a land of wheelers and dealers and mediocre fabric that you have to weed through to find the gems. These $1 a yard fabric vendors seem exciting but feel the woven cotton prints (better yet buy a yard and wash it) and you will see not all great deals are worth it. However if you find the right $1 vendors you are golden. Some buy close out fabric that is actually really nice. You are limited to what they have on hand so it really only works for a small online shop not for mass production.
I will leave you with one tip today. Once you find what you want be sure to walk the whole street to see who else has it. Ask how much a yard and then once you get a price ask how much wholesale price is and how many yards you need to buy for that price. Often the first price they give will be $10 and then wholesale price is $6 with a low yardage minimum like 10 yards. Use these prices to go back and negotiate. “Up the street he said $10/yd can you beat that?” They will negotiate.