The theme for this “Behind the Shirt” article is something that someone like me comes across and talks about more than most, but it is definitely something that hold true to the concept of the articles. It is something interesting to note about how things work in the business side of the MMA Apparel Industry. You will be surprised to know that a lot of industries are like this as well.
We’ve all heard the people who want to work in this industry thinking that as soon as they get a job in this booming industry the will be “Gettin’ Paid”! From experienced people to the Fan-Boys who think they could just step into any position because they watch the fights people are eager to work in the MMA business. All the power to them, and as the industry grows there is more and more jobs to be had.
As for my part of the industry and many others, I will give you a little insight into how working for clothing companies works.
There seems to be a misconception about how you make your money in the clothing business. I could count on my fingers the amount of companies that pay salary to their sales reps… I could count on my THUMB the amount of brands in the MMA Apparel industry that pay salary.
No typo there, I said “thumb”… That’s actually only a speculation as well. I know the Canadian distributors pay a salary of sorts, I’ve never actually questioned anyone at that company if they get a salary… I suppose I could, but let’s assume I don’t have time for that.
Unless you are working for a multi-million dollar company like Nike, Adidas, UA, etc. you are working strictly on commission. Very often people apply for these sales jobs thinking that they are going to be set and that the sales will just come flying in and their going to be making money “hand-over-fist”. Being in sales, especially for a company that you believe in can be a very rewarding job, but it takes a lot of hard work to get to where you need in the apparel industry.
I don’t want anyone to think that there is no money in sales, but there is no “easy money” in sales. I always tell our reps that you can make as much money as you want, but it all depends on you. If you like to sleep in, and take time off or wait for people to call you – you will get paid as such. If you hustle all day, every day you will reap the rewards. Those same people are also the ones who get promoted to the positions that DO give you salary and commission like Brand Managers or Sales Managers. It takes many years of hustling to get paid for what you do, not just what you sell.
I sometimes have to laugh when people apply for either my positions or others that I talk to and demand a salary… I laugh because I don’t even get a salary, so how could I pay you a salary?
There’s your proof. My company represents some of the top brands in the industry and none of my brands give us a salary. We are paid for how hard we hustle. Not only that, it is the same in many industries even outside of apparel. If you look at a list of top selling companies of any clothing sector, you can pretty much assume that outside the top three sellers (sometimes less, or none at all) you are being paid commission. The way most people make their money is with multiple brands. If you aren’t being paid a salary, you are free to represent other brands as long as the companies agree that there is no conflicting products.
Sales Reps can have a lot of fun in their work, and it is a relatively unsupervised job with flexibility in hours and work. The ones who succeed are those who work hard, make money for the companies and prove that they are worth a commitment like a permanent position. If you don’t believe me, go to www.malakye.com and check out some sales positions available in your area and tell me how many pay a salary… Malakye is the largest database of Action Sports jobs, applicants, agencies, etc. The have positions from some of the biggest brands in Action Sports (even Derailed Industries is on there!) and it is even where we get some of our brand opportunities from.
So, there’s two lessons to learn from this…
First: If you want to break into this business, be prepared to work hard and “Get Paid” accordingly.
Second: Be nice to your Sales Reps because they aren’t being paid for their time and effort. Only results.