It can be downright scary to talk to a store about your product! You have spent all this time and energy creating something and getting it right.
You’re thinking to yourself, “What if I’m not really ready yet to wholesale?”, “What if the store doesn’t like my color options?”, “Am I displaying my inventory in a professional way?” Here are a few things I have learned along the way about wholesaling.
1. Know your client and where your client likes to shop
What kind of spending money does she have? Does she prefer purchasing from a brick and mortar store? Does she do most of her purchasing on-line?
2. Generally, the best time of the year to approach a boutique store is January-early March
Many stores do most of their buying for the year during this timeframe.
However, stores always need fill ins especially during the holiday season. Every store buyer is different!
3. Store owners and store buyers are ALWAYS looking for new product to promote
Ask the store if you can have a pop-up store inside their boutique.
New product is what keeps their stores fresh and their customers coming back. See if you can visit a store locally where you think your product would be a good fit and walk into that store! Get a feel for who shops there.
Talk to customers – as well as the employees – and start a conversation with them. Tell them you’re a local jewelry designer and see what they say. Ask if the buyer or store owner is available and set up a time to return with your product.
Meeting the buyer in person is the best way to introduce yourself because you’re forming a connection and the beginning of a possible relationship.
If the store is in another city, find out all you can about the store through their website. Follow them on social media and make comments on their Facebook and Instagram accounts about things they are posting. See if they’ll respond back to you.
Get to know the personality of the store. Begin building a relationship with them. When you feel you know the personality of the store well enough, call them and ask them who the buyer is. Also, ask the best way to get in contact with the buyer.
Some buyers prefer a text message and some prefer an email or a phone call. See if you can get the buyer on the phone and ask them if you can email them some information. If you can’t get the buyer on the phone, then ask for the buyer’s email address.
4. Best way to share your product is with a line sheet
This can be super simple. You want a clear picture of your products with wholesale pricing and your contact information and website on some sort of word processing application.
Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word or Pages on Apple are a few of my favorites. (A line sheet is a listing of your product, including any options that are added onto the product like sizes and colors, and the wholesale price. This all can be done on an excel spreadsheet.)
5. Treat the meeting as a way to learn more about your product from a buyer’s eyes
Once you have established a meeting date, bring your product and line sheets with you.
6. No consignment
Yes, you heard me correctly. If you want a store to take you seriously, then make sure they buy the product from you. It’s the easiest way to do it.
When a store wants to do consignment, then it’s up to you to keep up with the merchandise and you have to worry about other things like your unpaid product being stolen or the store not able to pay its bills and it suddenly shuts its doors with your stuff in it. You are an artist and you have worked HARD to get to this point, you should be paid for your work!
Have fun with this process! Understanding the store’s customer, what the store sells and being very organized in your presentation are going to help you tremendously.
Even if the potential buyer doesn't’ want to buy from you that day, you have established a relationship.
Establishing a relationship is the key to selling. You are going to hear a lot of no’s. That’s okay! This is how you learn more about your product and what type of store will purchase it.
Since I was in my teens, I've always had a passion for putting things together. A piece of fabric here, a finding there, and a new look is created. I began designing jewelry eight years ago as a way to utilize the creative images floating in my head. In 2006, a friend asked me to create a necklace for her and she loved it so much that she encouraged me to create jewelry as a way to occupy my time with two young children and a husband who traveled constantly. Growing up in a household where my mom had several needlepoint and quilting projects going on at once made me learn how important creativity is for the soul.
I'm a native Texan and reside in Dallas with my husband, two active children, and our family dog and cat.