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Buyers Round Table

Lesson 1 of 1

Buyers Round Table

Briana Bers, Jessica Herman, Jenn Meyer, Christian McClellan

Buyers Round Table

Briana Bers, Jessica Herman, Jenn Meyer, Christian McClellan

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Lesson Info

1. Buyers Round Table
Find out how other makers got their handmade goods into stores and how you can do the same.


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1 Buyers Round Table Duration:58:26

Lesson Info

Buyers Round Table

Hello, everybody thank you so much for being here. Welcome teo, the buyers roundtable in event that creative live is throwing with the s f c sellers team were super excited to be here tonight we have for real life store owners and buyers who you're going to be hearing from where you can learn how to get your products into stores, so we're going to get started at home audience feel free to ask questions at the on the course page we have someone here, we're going to come to questions towards the end of the segment of the class, so we will get to as many questions as we can, and we're going to get started. So thank you guys so much for being here if we could just go around and if you could tell us your name, your store name and where people can find you online and of course, just a little bit about your shop, meaning his brianna burgers. I own urban bazaar in the inner sunset and we have been there since two thousand ten were a fair trade and locally handmade store, and every year we have...

a craft show in her backyard I admire I'm co owner of local take in the castro we've been around it'll be two years next month on we focus on all locally made merchant I saw local artists and designers and where can people find both of you online? Www dot urban baze rsf dot com local take sf dot com I'm christian mcclellan my wife stacy and I on gather in his valley we carry all locally and handmade clothing gifts from good story um we opened a year ago in may and you can find us gather sf dot com gather assef on instagram your social media's I'm definitely herman I own parking pond we've been up in four years almost now in north beach we also sell all locally made and designed gift items primarily our jewelry and home goods and we're at parking pond dot com and parking ponds on everything else as well ok, so let's start with the basics so if people want tio so we have an audience here full of makers andan audience at home watching who are interested in how they get their goods into stores. So what what's the basics how to sellers approach buyers and get their goods into stores? Who wants to tell you that one? Well, I think the first step is just an introduction, right? Like um we look I'll take we prefer penniman email introduction but really it's just starting a conversation whether it's through facebook or instagram or I don't if you could start a conversation to instagram now you can I don't know okay your picture but that's really how it is you start a conversation I think it's critical that have an idea of what the fit is this story, how your style fits in the style of this store, you know, because there's a store out there for every artist there's artists out there for restore, but if it's not the right fit, you know, just sending a line, she it shows that you haven't looked into what the story is about, um, also on the point of e mailing it's really hard when the store owner is also working in the store, so sending an email and saying, is there a time I can come by or man said bring over a line sheet is opposed to showing up announced this is really a great idea, and I highly encourage that because I zehr busy were very young, and you're just not going to get the response that you want from me. If you just come into the store, it'll be better for you, teo, email me ahead of time set up a time to see me show, you know, send me your line, she's semi product photos are also really helpful, and if I don't think you're the right fit, then I'll let you know and we won't waste anybody's time and I'll probably send you to somebody else who I think may be a better fit for you. So that's a really good point so let's back up a little bit how do sellers know if the story is the right fit? Like what research should they dio isn't the story thing to do because every story is different? I mean, we have fair trade and we have locally made and it's not specific to san francisco area it's just generally handmade and we carry everything from baby items of jewelry to plants and sometimes it's not the fit for everybody but coming in seeing the price point, seeing everything else that we have making sure that you don't have the exact same things that we already carry is really big and there's a lot to do with the neighborhoods to you being in the castro I cannot sell a woman's dress to see in my life way used to carry a line of dresses that just didn't you while beautifully made on dh and now you guys carry him, I think to you, betty, and they sell off their ex in his valleys, which it has a lot to do with the neighborhood. So do you guys all as buyers and store owners and I'm sure this is similar city city to city town to town do you all talk to each other and I'm imagining you all know each other and if there's a product that doesn't work in your story, do you then pass it on to someone else like how does that work amongst you have been sent people visit to these guys because I know their stories really well, so some people might not know this and it's an important the difference between consignment and wholesale. What is the difference and what are the what's? What do you guys prefer? What are the benefits for the store owners and the sellers? Well, uh, wholesale, the store owner is buying the goods from the artist consignment. The artist is giving the goods the store on her toe hold until there's sold and then paid after they're sold it's a matter of who bears the risk of the customers not liking the item um and their differences in the related relationship frequently are consignment or this will work with us more closely to switch out things that aren't working and learn more about what the customers want wholesalers bigger and then certain industries like paper press products, they find a frequently yeah, yeah, I'm a primarily wholesale store, so I have very few consignment, it works better for me personally it's less work on my end actually I don't have to follow up with you I don't have to send your checks at a certain time after things have sold I don't have to keep track of it for you so works better for me personally just to buy it outright um but it's different? I mean each you all are we all have different models of how we work that and so you're going to have some differences between the stores as well as to what they prefer. I'd prefer consignment because I feel it gives you a better chance to try out all of the items that were available. It doesn't lock you in to buy and specific things and everything that I may find amazing not everybody else wants to buy you and like john said it, you know different neighborhoods will settle different things, and even though it does great on the other side of town, it might not move at all in my area, and we've had artists who we started on consignment because they were doing so well. It made sense to us for us to start way especially, you know, that you can sell it, and even if you are in a wholesale arrangement considering switching out things that aren't working for purchase credits story way so we had some shirts from a manufacturer that we buy from the wholesale that weren't working. Uh, we returned all the shirts we had and got a credit towards our next order for the cost we had paid for the shirt, so it's similar to consignment is but sort of almost they'll return type of yeah it lessens the risk a little bit with consent the reason why I really like consignment to add on to what brianna said is it gives me the chance to you react the market very quickly there's some things that I think you're amazing I bring them in and they're just dead dead in the castro for whatever reason or local take they just don't match with our demographic and so I want to give them their stuff back so they can go sell it somewhere else find a great place for offered them tio do it and then I can bring more stuff in that can give more designers more opportunity knowing that there's that there's not this you dressed to do it but then the purchase credits those all those who convinced me to do wholesale for sure help absolutely and how actually let's talk about line sheets so if one of you could explain what a lunch it is and if it's necessary if you prefer it e prefer it um the line she will list all of your items that you have for sale usually with some sort of description especially if there's options available for them for instance, for jewelry that's available in different types of metal then I would want to know that on the line sheet pictures on the line sheet are extremely helpful and that hold for me wholesale price and then suggested retail price which should be fifty percent pretty much so incredibly helpful you can also just email those out really quickly to me and get them so I can get a response from you right away I can order things faster it's going to be better if you update him regularly even better. Um so the land she has put images of all the work and listen e o ideally ideally it would have images okay e mails on that cool so I'm sure everyone is super interested in how you've got a source your products. So where do you look for a new product and how do you find it? And are there times where you're also reaching out to sellers that you see in other places instead of waiting for people to come to you? Yes, there's a certain thing in particular I will go, I'll ask around are all going at sea or I mean, I was in the scene before I started the brick and mortar and so I feel like I know of good basis of amazing people so it's always a great place to start is that you? Yeah, so you look for products on it's like, well, you search how does every day what we got and find it it shows like the ones that s it that's it will put on um what we find searching and then people who who come to us especially event specific like around downed stay around other holidays you need cards, you need certain gifts that you might not need, so that would be a great time to sell the us because we know that on january fifteenth we should've ordered valentine's day and I'm already they don't come into a store on december tenth and say that you have e I don't because I don't personally like I cut it out I think october and like I don't have any november first problem is there's a set like a hard and fast rule or like how to buyers find that out like wind to approach stores at what times for for holiday for various holiday and they like at least three months before before the holidays so before february fourteenth of three months prior if you really want me to buy it e I mean if you just want to show it to me and I'll consider it for another time you can come but I probably won't buy it later that being said teoh, if it's january fifteenth and you have a card line, by all means show it to me and if you only did valentine's day cards than maybe think to expand your business but we carry cards all year long so we get all of our valentine's day cards from our existing card designers so we're waiting actually react a little bit quicker to that then like december fifteenth or something like that but yeah, I want to see your line no matter what time of the year it is so don't worry too much I just may not order it right that second especially for our this where there's an ongoing relationship you print the christmas to tell and we already have your details that's an easier you know, that's an easy one yeah, because you you should have an idea what your store owners want and what they're what they're looking at you know, ask him in an email asking when you come in to drop off your product so they're doing what they were going on cool. I think I want to open actually, I was gonna wait a little bit longer but there you guys were touching on so many things I iook only imagine you guys have questions. So does anyone have any questions yet? Yes. I had a question about line chiefs have seen people talk about look books which I think are more I guess fashion related but what's the difference between a line sheet in a look book and then the second part of that question would be how would you come together? A line she is that something that's done in next cell or something doing a photo shop or how would you put together, uh, line sheet that you could easily update the numbers and customize it? Ok, a look book is a little different than a line sheet, so look, book actually is a little bit more I would say stylized you're actually showing the product of so for jewelry, I don't sell clothing you guys, so you'd be able to talk about a little more but for jewelry it's showing them with the models wearing it it's kind of shoving it in different types of scenes like it's it's really more fashion oriented in that way and more stylized, whereas a line sheet is just the fax that's really all this so it's, really a look book often will be on the person's web site because they can you want your customers to see how you're gonna wear these things for a line sheet you're not going to find really on a website? Well, look book often doesn't have prices, so yeah, it does not usually have practice. Sometimes you just have like the line she tucked into the lookbook when you've got a physical, the line sheet is very factual looked usually pretty simple look what comes, it seems like a lot long afters and you get photos on white backgrounds that you can send that show what the product is, yeah, and then get tomorrow and then the line sheets khun b yes xl that whatever you want to use word doesn't matter something organized yeah, we're going to be helpful but it doesn't matter how you do it is there a like it might be like a maximum amount you'll buy of a quantity and it depends on what that item is but like, say cards with the maximum because usually people buy things in bulk for wholesale and then what's like a minimum for different types of things some incense for cars is around six yeah six twelve different minimum for cars of for me always sex per style I think that's a good number two because I feel like with the one of a kind surface there's just one of that for some reason people don't wanted it's either too many choices or there's something I don't know there's weird retail yes about one of the time six is like enough to keep it in stock and to be able to leave the order and gauge it well, I mean that aspires overall minimum in terms of pricing don't shoot yourself in the foot there get one hundred dollars I've seen people say two hundred fifty or three hundred dollars minimums it starts to be a question of like, well, is there enough of this that we like or even though we like some stuff are we gonna have to pass because their minimums too hot that will honestly be a big deal breaker for me is this something is over two fifties kind of pushing it I mean anything like five hundred dollars I really hard no matter how much I like it I can't do it is too much of a risk from your first order no mammal memory orders something like that so that would be kind of a sigh I think that's good to point out about the light because I wasn't thinking about that it's actually just the quantity two hundred dollars price point that it could be anything so you might say I want four of this card and eight of that one or something like that or words that should be in lake on the line sheet should be listed like this comes in a set of it on your line cheated should list all your minimums and she also has all your terms so I would like to know your lead time and I would like to know whatever your minimums are for your initial orders and reorders I think ultimately the quantity is up to you. So yeah, I just I know from our point of view when I do consignment self of people I say between foreign six because they feel like that's a good number depending on the item you want to see how well it will move in hell and do you have a reason for the minimum? I just where sales is it easy to print them six at a time? Is it is it? Wait, we're talking about minimums for cards, but like jewelry and art is a different thing with minimums so nearly adjustment as an example like what? Yeah, people put on the line chief for minimums outside of cards that's usually a dollar I'm a minimum per order, something like that have a question, a little bit different tack about display um for goods that are non standard, so not your standard a two greeting card, maybe posters or like a more sculptural home object? Do you want the seller toe have a display option set up for you already before they come to you with the item? No e think an option is a good idea, but because sometimes depending on what it is, I won't know how to display her the best way to display it but an option. Yeah, I love discussing with the designer how they display that shows or how they've done it at other stores. I love hearing those ideas because it gets the juices flowing, but because all our stores are so different and we have different limitations about where things can go, I think that if you did a one size fits all kind of display, it would I don't think it would probably work that well, but I love talking to design your spot how they display it yeah, I would just say though if you're doing art like posters, it's a very helpful to do a standard size so don't print that's just like half an inch smaller than a standard frame size because then it really is going to be hard to sell it may cost us but it's just not going to sell I did do something that displays your product well and doesn't commit the person to anyone time of this, but we have one, uh, perfume that we really like, but they are coming the packages for putting him on the rods and we don't have this this said that they would look better if they were in something that could just be setting on the shelf for now, that's a good point so packaging is important to think about what you're thinking about your product in stores, so for example, jewelry doesn't need to have like a hang tag doesn't need to have my brand on it or do you just so I just give you a pair of earrings and then you have the hang tags or how does all of that where it's a great question I find it very difficult to display hearings on hang tags I will do it and I have one no tio bachelor designers that display their hearings on hang tags, and I found a way to display him like that because I want I want show the whole package, but I love I love displaying hearings without tax, so to answer your question, if that's something that you d'oh with your jewelry is you show him on the hang tags. By all means bring him in. But then the knowing the store owner will maybe take them off it's nowhere. They'll tell you that they need to be on hang tags, but I don't like him personally being told me that I'll give him back. Tio trash just me. My business partner knows I don't throw anything away control backing, we use and then if it gets at some point, it gets to be too much of their branding and it just doesn't work. Clothing like the big hey, you do not use so where's your money because we'll take them off. Put them on the hangar, my maker brand on it. I like we have a part in our what we ask of artist is a few do have that that you don't sell your items yourself at what your wholesale cost will be. Because if it's a lower price and if somebody goes online and they see your price and they see that you're selling it for half of what we're selling it, they're going to go with you, which is great but it defeats the purpose of you working with us and so if you're going to do it, just make sure that you have, like a difference between the wholesale o versus the retail and say that's a great rule of thumb in general actually it's weakened just people talk like that's a great topic is we insist on that whatever you selling at sea or shows can be a little bit different because often people do show specials you know, five dollars offer if you were twenty or whatever it is, but if you've got an online presence it has to be the same prices were son in this store because it's when customers can go on their phone right in my stores, a lot of theo but it's just really important to have that consistency across and you wanted across the stores too you know what my star to be waking somebody else the star and we should all have the same price, but to answer your question you shouldn't you should do something that really complements your jewelry whether that means putting something on the front and I'm definitely with your logo I'm familiar with your your jewelry but so it's a compliment that piece, then you should you should do it, but I've never turned away someone because they didn't have or they did have their their brand name on the jewelry tag. Yeah, I think it's, good to have running. You should get yourself out there what we're all trying to do. Do you find that a lot of sellers do you sell cheaper on there? Like, if they're new or sellers? Do they not know that if they're going to wholesale, they say selling their products? I think if they're new fillers, they don't know how to price it. Yeah, I don't know how many things that are under price and let's see makers realizing what they need to charge and realizing that their time has a value that's more than zero and you know, if you make a few fewer things and you spend more time in your garden and you made the same amount of money on the fear of things that's better not worse than yeah, yeah, but were there any online questions? There are a bunch. The first one is if you guys have examples of cold approaches by sellers that have delighted you coal, so e I think everyone here can attest to the fact that when when a potential seller walks into the store and they have a product, they want to talk to you about it and you say all submissions go on email and all this stuff and they take out their phone and let me just show you some pictures we're focusing our time on the sellers that we already have so it's actually somewhat disrespectful and it can leave a sour taste in our mouths but I do have one designed this city right over there angel from toto's who was so sweet and she just she took out a little sample of her product and just said it on the counter so I'm just gonna leave that for you you do whatever you look with I mean she looked around a little bit and then she laughs and by the end of the day my business partner and I and our employees we were hooked we're just like it go ahead and botanically infused coconut oil it's a multi use product for face, body and hair yes, but I'm not suggesting that one was that was pretty amazing I wouldn't you don't take up too much their time if you can leave samples and let them fall in love with it that's a great way to get into a strong product speak for yeah when is a good time for is there ever a good time for a seller to drop off a sample or how do you prefer that happen anytime during business hours? There is not a great time it's now are just you know I'm a seller and I want to drop you off to sample, not get out your iphone and let me show you all the pictures that have my right do you want to see it? We just wanted to see it after the store closes, you don't leave it with anybody to like you don't always have to see the owner because I feel it's something that people try to do is they try to talk to the main person and it will eventually get to that person if they're not there like I'm not there every day I can't be there every day, but if you leave something for me it will get to me and it will be there when I do get it unless it's awesome wait, we'll hear about it. So what kind of along that line? And we've sort of touched around about this a lot around this a lot, but what can sellers do to make your job easier? Research? Yeah, they having an idea of whether or not this is a store where there's a fit and being able to explain first yourself and then to the store owner why there's that fit what you know that you're in these other stores that also care this other thing that that they carry uh that would be one way to see that there's a fit um that's a big one for me I think that's a great one because it shows that you have at least gone and seen but you personally think it could be a right fit or that the product woodward her yeah that I feel like the whole blanket like I can tell when it's a blanket email that says hey well blah check out my line I think it would be great and then they look at it it's either nothing that have carried or nothing that would work or out of my price range and unlike any prices in the store and I immediately just yeah, I totally agree with that, but I would also say that once you're in the store product photos we'll make my life incredibly easier I really really love if somebody else can take the photos because I just don't have time and I would love to publicize your product and the way for me to publicize your product is with photos so photos really helped me and then also just following up after you're in sending the information on whatever you have coming up you can also just even let me know if you have shows coming up and I'll probably helps support you with that too and publicize that but just keeping that communication going close communication I think with active sellers it's obviously different potential sellers versus active sellers but that constant communication those were my best sellers because they're always top of my mind when someone walks in and says I need a birthday gift for my mom oh so and so is just in here let me just it's you're just top of my mind so and the pictures I agree with jessica if I'm going to promote you I'm going to get pictures taken of your stuff and I'm going to get him on instagram and you and on the website and everything but the first people who will get on there are there once you send me pictures it's just the way the world works with their sit in my inbox than they're going right up there yeah well any other questions from or do you have another we've got a few so making hurley wants to know how should sellers follow up with you should they wait for you just comes to communication email is always the best it's amazing you can respond any time of day and it doesn't matter yeah and if you if you don't get an email back don't be discouraged immediately and then if you are declined wait until there's a reason like a new line or some new development before your email back again what about if you're carrying a line how often should the seller check in with you to see if you need to replenish your stock or will you do that it was going with jensen but for my consignment or is the ones who are in most frequently that the ones you get the biggest checks each month that's absolutely yeah it at least once a month to just update you on things that are new to see what sold I mean for a consignment we go month to month and so at the end of the month you could have sold many things and if you I don't know where you don't want your report for me than checking in is the best way for wholesale I don't need you to check in actually for orders I will contact you I'm constantly running reports and seeing what I need to order and I and pretty much placing orders almost every day so I will contact you for wholesale orders that's what that's a question to you is how often do you buy you buy daily is there one dedicated date a week you buy? Are you guys just sort of always looking for new product always always always that that regiment and any other questions you have so you said um you can say my stuff would fit in your store because you carry this um other product that similar and my product is another store that also carries that product is there a time when you wouldn't want to buy someone stuff because it's in another store yeah, I mean, that z example and it's it could be in that store for a different reason. There's something like that, but that's one there's just a aesthetic judgment. As far as you know, my things have western things, their western things in this story or whatever that e think territory is a good they if you are selling the same items and two or three other stores in my neighborhood, I don't want to carry it because of people see it too much. Thirteen the nights find the value and it essentially, and they're not gonna want to buy it for me and maybe from the other people that are carrying it. Um, but yeah, yeah, don't don't over battering after yourself some submission forms that have seen, um if you have to submit your line, cheat online, they'll have what other stores are you in? Like, how many should I put in? Not that I'm in very many, but I'm just wondering if there's a number that is too many? No, when I asked what other stores aaron is, actually, so I make sure that you're not in a store that's close to me, I will on ly sell things and that are not represented anywhere else in my neighborhood, so I will only sell things in north beach that are nowhere they have to be in other places in the city or other wherever but not in north beach so it's usually more about that does it ever sway your decision? If someone is in a ton of stories across, like, does that sway you? Either way, if you get a whole different stuff in them, that would be great, like, I know we work with artists in their neighborhood, my primary table where she's in other stories, but we carry different items of hers and some that helps, I think, because then it doesn't get her, which I mean, ultimately we want you to be everywhere, but not for black radio like radio and if ever doctors we've had artists rejected us and say, you know, we've been approached by store acts and they're kind of post you guys, how do you feel? And you know, that makes us more interested in working something out where they carry something that's, a different part of the line or something like that. I have approached artists, and they've said that I'm already in such and such which I appreciate that's great, it also creates tension, kind of between other stories discovered in any reds, never something pops up in the window and you're walking to work tio e have you then sold products that you yeah, oh and do you ever and I guess you know that's an interesting because do you talk to the store owners and say, hey, I had this first or do you just pulled problem it's between our story you talked to the stream and it depends on the store I say because I have relationships with a lot of the owners in my neighborhood and I can go in there and they could be like, oh, I didn't realize that's already in your store we'll get the other one that we were thinking about instead of that particular one that you have if it's just a style type of thing normally, yes, I would ask the artist to take care of it before I would do anything it's easier coming from the artist you really want to limit a vocal artist small batch artists you don't want to limit their ability to sell their work, so I'm yet when I say I've talked to a neighboring store owners, I'm not I don't like going there cracking my figure tell them to get that out of the window or anything like that. I want to support the artists and I want them to sell wherever they can so sometimes it's just a matter of that you're not which products get sold in in which store so just don't be sneaky about people who are saying about it get cross off everyone hi her question I I wanted to know if a store owner approaches the seller and what would be the right way to go forward the conversation for example a store owner email me on at sea saying that I'm interested in your products and I would like to keep them in my store but the whole thing didn't go through I you know, I had I had never sold anything the wholesale are concerned and so what should I should I be you know, how should I approach? I mean, what questions should I ask the seller and sorry those door owner and you know you can just say that you can say you ever done it I mean that's happened with multiple of my vendors is I was their first store it was totally fun I mean actually I kind of like it but it's kind of um yeah it's totally ok to say that you can say you're not sure how to proceed and you don't know and I'll tell you what I need from you I mean, they reached tio they're interested in your stuff. Um the other thing I think of is the sf etc resource you know, ask people what they've seen in terms of terms are consignment agreements and if you've looked at one that works you know what to look for in another one so that so that the only thing that I would try to know I had a time is your pricing you leo you know what your time is worth thinking I should know what your product is worth and you should know your materials and all of that and don't come to us and ask us to price it for you please that's so logy recommend then when people are selling on etc that they have that if that's an angle to get into stories that they're selling they have a wholesale price in mind before they even published on etc well I think that goes back to the hole knowing I mean if you make things every now and then in between gardening and whatever and you just want to sell it or you want to get out of there and you want to sell it for five dollars but it took you five days to make and it cost you twenty dollars at least for materials don't sell it for five dollars because the title is not totally undervalues it and yourself and it's not worth it and so knowing at least what you put into it and what your time this morning sort of workshops and I know he's got a great resource is on pricing and on dh there's a really simple equation which is something something times two times you time materials numbers times tio is your wholesale and then times she was is your retail that just do a quick google search and you can find out what that really simple equation is and that's a starting point and then you figure out how to kind of massage it from there, but we have starters, we don't know how to help you with pricing I mean, we know what other things they're selling for for sure, but we don't know how hana takes you to make it are we can tell you what it will self for maybe, but then whether that's a fit for your price and even though I will tell you I think it's too low or too high, but you have to come in with a number to start with it's also harder if you start low and then you realize that it's taking you a lot longer or there's more and you want to increase your prices dramatically, that will inevitably stop sales, and then it won't mean it may not work for us. That might work for somewhere else because different neighborhoods and stuff but customers definitely noticed prices go up. They don't necessarily know this when things go down unless it's on sale or something, but to answer your question, we've all been beginners at some point, and so just just ask the question I mean, we're all really awesome, so just ask the question we're all happy tio past you are consignment contract or just let you know what I need is a lying cheater on ask your fellow s f it seems they've a lot of them have marketed in here yeah, that one has to do before giving consignment uh, ways you do when you're doing against having you want a consignment agreement and you want to document what it is you're giving to the store and easy to understand where which means typed um but there I mean, they're taking on your goods and they're either or your money or your goods back again and so that's being more careful I mean, I was saying to you during a wholesale once you have jack, you okay? Yeah s so I don't know if you're going here, but I mean as a seller you should know like legality like you should have a seller's permanent you should know if you make under x number of dollars, whether you claim it or whatever I mean that's all essentially on I'm you to dio so you should take care of that if you're going to do consigned with companies which are out of the city like somebody from some aerials once your goods is that it asheville is that you go anywhere you want to go, just not in my neighborhood as long as you're out of my neighborhood, you could go anywhere you on I worked with people from all over the u s so when I say that we're local were seventy five, eighty percent local area, our local area artists and then we have, like east coast midwest all kinds of stuff and it doesn't I get people from the other side of san francisco mail and me stuff so just to get the mail I don't know what you sell, what I make but if you can make it happen, it's fine, well, this is a good follow up because I was wondering what's your preferred approach from a wholesaler would you like the email to set up an appointment? Would you like something in the mail? Would you like an email? You're gonna be around with samples personally, but, um just say that tangible item scene and being able to hold it and which is I think a big part of what makes brick and mortar is really helpful to people is that they can interact with it and then you know if you're going to bring something brian person, maybe media schedule, but I think that yeah, I kind of back up on that the email this set up an appointment is probably the best first move because there are, sadly, many products that just don't fit in my store, no matter how much I want the free samples way so that way I think first step is actually go to the store check out there online president see if it's a good bed if it is go home or just step outside and get on your phone and sending email and say this is what I sell here some pictures can I show it to you in person on then if it were me I would reply back and just say I love your stuff because I dio but it's just not a good fit for my store they'll be more words in their tio or yeah like when can you come in and we'll sort of unemployment and that and at that point you come and you bring some samples and those that are really ballsy will bring in the lake a bunch of inventory to leave with me if it actually works out but I think that's kind of the bust rita I would actually just reminded me of something not on this topic but once you are an existing vendor for somebody in for me because we saw all local stuff usually people come and drop off their goods oh if you have a new product and you're coming to drop off your goods bring your new product with you so I can see it okay you bring in here because I just did that have enough that you can actually probably leave for me so I can buy it on the spot because I probably will but if you don't bring it, I'm never going to see it, and if you bring it and you don't have it available yet, then I may not get around to buying it. Justcause I forget it's a great point and I had a vendor drop off today and he's like, you need to go on my website looking my three new designs and like I looked, I loved you, but a bus idea right now, I'm not gonna remember, do you think that's a great point, because I want to see it for sure, so I'm not sure that I was, uh then I understood do as well as you having a brick and mortar. Do you also have an online presence? So what you sell in your stores, you sell online as well, so the exposure is not just looking. We're all, um I don't sell everything online because about thirty percent of my merchandise is one of a kind, and so I don't actually offer that online, but everything else and to back up what was said about photos with most part so online, those are this we carry who also have photos that will work in our website and clean if you want to get sold on the web site, take it would like saying better about that, but at times website stuff, but ideally, yes. And then yes, the photos are great because having which is why I don't have a big weapon, because I'm a time to take the photos that was the product and all of that stuff. So what makes it a photo of a product clearly shows the edges of the products you, especially with framed this might just be one of my things, but with frame to prince just showing that the image of that's in the print does not tell this story, it doesn't tell me anything it could be on a t shirt, it could be in the card, it could be on a a print and the same thing goes with the website you need to show all the edges show the frame with everything I think it's like that was selling info dimension. I don't know if that's as yeah on the website I mean, for certainly for a printer or like for a necklace, I put how long it is, but you know it's a different for every product. So it's what you've got to be able to tell the whole story very quickly in a photo and so so for jewelry you preferred on people no, no ok down straight on white background captures the product models and everything else, I think secondary with the exception, maybe of clothing you might have someone standing in front of a white wall with the clothing on a supposed to laying were there any more online there are a few in terms of having an online presence like a web site outside of their assets as he shopped or there as you shop how important is that to get the stores the next one when it comes to prince you mentioned framed or not is it how important is it for the inventory to be framed like do you prefer not at all are not friend but standard sized most people learn about your own frame I prefer one frame I find that when there's something framed and displayed on the wall that it actually pulls people to the better prince and they'll they'll go through them and buy them I do saw lots of fame framed prints but I sell aton more unframed so but having that one frames print to kind of showcase it is really important I agree but for questions like that every store is going to be different it depends on space and it all depends on how much space you have and how much storage space you have and price point if your frame is is going to add more than under percent of the price of the print then and it's probably not gonna work so don't waste your money what do you guys display and you're so do you and know some stores like rare device has art shows do you guys like to dio to do shows or special events with your artists? And what does that look like and how does it help you sell the product thank way also have seventy five, eighty percent local artists and we try and do trump shows and other events with artists and um they're the only thing and start is to bring the bigger following of their own make the more successful show, you know, because the people who we talked to come in and solve our story during normal business hours but if you can go to one of your stores and say I'd like to do a trunk show and my mailing list is that people then they're gonna be really interested in bringing in trucks and is that more appealing to you then if they have a bigger following? Yeah it's fun brings more people in the shop and it's a chance to sell different designs that you know, maybe we can bring in three designs but you've got twelve and you can show our customers off them. Well, it helps that we're debuting something I think is always a good time to do that I mean immediately we don't have a lot of talk shows we've tried and I don't know if it was the lack of email list or what way do the craft show every december but and I think that if you have something new to kind of show off and present to people that helped tow for us, we do a first friday every month where I actually usually debut with different artist so that's actually a really good way as men visual artist to try to get in the store is to come in as the first friday artist um so if you come in as the first friday artist, it is confinement because it's an event it's not a ongoing relationship necessarily, but I would say the majority of those do you end up ongoing vendor relationships? That's that's good thing it's just need to think about other ways you can work with star owners and get yourself scene we do workshops also and that sometimes a wave to get our artists out to people like a lot of artists will teach a craft or something that's always nice because then when people are there they asked what they do and they seem like I make this and sell this when people get to be excited about learning from them and it's a connection to the hardest the connection to the goods that's what I have to offer that amazon target can't really offer and so anyway, where you can build that whether it's you know but a good way of telling your back story that you can share with your stores some just some just play things are really additive on dh tell the story of the work in the way they displayed that kind of and so how do you guys? How much do you do where you? Because I think that is such an important piece of shopping at brick and mortar and local how much do you do to, like, share the artist story and does that does that help sell products like how do you integrate one hundred percent? We put our tags on each item and then we have a little look we ask working with the people for a little bio, a couple sentences or paragraphs or whatever we'll either display it if we have room for it will make a little tag that goes on our tags and then that tells the story about the person and what they do or how they came to be one of my artists is six she's fifteen she crashes and she learned a question, which is nine and she's been doing it ever since and she's saving up for money to go to russia and that story right there cells so much of her side kind of way, you take it off and she makes amazing things, and so that helped definitely, and it gives people more of ah, oh, yeah, I'm actually buying this individual and yeah, yeah political story that's a great sight so how should sellers then present their stories? You so like having it available on their web site or when they give the lookbook or like lunch eat like what's a good way for the seller to communicate evan both in the long form and a short front for him well written details about your business asking people it's a great idea I would hear opening went website to website to website and telling the differences between seven people have a two sentence that's your description where you're not exactly sure what the name of the person who runs the businesses and other people who have you're really nice, they written not in our state or something that makes the person fits on a note card and someone would finish reading it rather than stop reading it and move on to the next thing in the story that's about right e if vendor was to come in, approach you with their product say it's jewelry something that's very frequently overstocked er or easily there's a lot of jewelry maxed out, right? If your store has enough of that product at that moment on dh, you were to tell somebody you know, I like your things, but I don't have room for them right now how soon could somebody reapply or contact you again without being a pest? Or if you really like their product, will you make room for it? Yes, yeah, that's that's the easy answer right there is I don't know if I've ever said to someone I really like it, but I don't have room for it right now if I really like it and finding room for it doesn't, that doesn't mean to say that if if you don't yeah, it might not be the right fit for my store run these different stores, but if I think it's the right fit for my story, I'm gonna find a spot for it. I think this presumes that it's a consignment relationship that you're contemplating because I would think of an artist said, you know, I think my stuff is going to do well in your store and I'd love to consignment consign it for a month or something that I'm gonna think it second time about that ours I would pull from little still perspective, and I'll say, I would say that to you, I would probably say I am overstocked can't take any more right now, um, and it would probably be up to you to contact me again. Uh, so I would say probably two months to three months say enough time before the next the holiday or something that would fit well with that mother's day christmas we have time for about two more questions high about the pricing, so if every place is fifty fifty split, everything is perfect. However, I have experience with a couple places where they want to add a little bit more percentage so which means that, you know, like if the wholesale hundred dollars item usually two hundred dollars lisa, right, but that those places it it would be like to twenty five or something like that. So in that situation, what should I do? Should I undercut my portion to make the redeploy eyes the team across the board or what's, right? Because that place specifically, they take fifty five percent in my portion was forty five I know for us personally, we don't generally go buy a fifty fifty ratio, we ask what you want to receive her item, and then we base our prices based on that. But by the same token, that means that if we ever put it on sale or we clearance it out or whatever that comes out of our part where you will always make what it is that you want to receive and what you feel is fair to you, um, they're telling you that you should take less, I don't e I don't think that five percent shouldn't make or break you, um, so that should be built into your oh over on for like for our store we have in our contract that we reserve the right offer ten percent off for any reason and that's split between the designer in this store I'm not so we can offer a discount for buying, you know, a couple it's to make the sale it's for damaged or defective or effort any reason we very rarely used it um but that needs to be built into your price. You need to have five percent shouldn't maker break your profit margin if that makes sense so the difference for you to take home either forty five percent or fifty percent should should they should both be ok for your profit margin let me sense I you towards the first answer that she should set what she needs to get in if they want to do forty five fifty five, forty five percent has to be what would be fifty percent of another story and that's, what are you saying that they're raising the price so so they need you know, I heard that, you know, so if I fifty fifty you know detail will be two hundred dollars but their place to fifteen two twenty five so that there we go the way they want so means I know that's a very unusual situation, so expensive to places I don't know he used you also yeah, because then they'll be undercut by your store and buy the other stories that are selling it for two hundred and they can risk that but you should take one hundred from the stores that sell it for two hundred and you should take one hundred from the stars themselves so they try to be more expensive but the ok yeah that's I think that's on the store customers are very savvy they'll remember if they feel like they got ripped off somewhere I've had customers come into my store and say he was paid ten dollars more for this down on blends a street or whatever it was they remember but that's not that's not your concern your one hundred bucks that's all the water thinking ok, I think I can charge my wholesale price yeah, thank you very much number one more question I live in san jose and I was wondering how important important it is for you to have san francisco artists for just versus greater bay area. So I have a very specific role for my store, which is one hundred miles radius from san francisco, so everything has to be completely designed and completely made within that hundred miles, so it wouldn't matter for me, but I think we all have to sort of different ways that we think about how we're going to purchase or who we're going to purchase from okay finds bay area it's all local relative factory oh this's I mean, our fair trade stuff comes from all over and our rule of thumb is basically that it's handmade and if it's not like retail books, obviously they don't hand make the books, but they're printed in the u s or if they are manufactured in the u s is is done in small batches or if it's done overseas like they've gone and they have tour the facilities and they know that these people it's all under the whole fair trade system where the artist is getting what it is that they set the price that we have multiple people from canada and they want to know whether you buy from outside of the united states and then the tack on question to that whether they're in the states or not is who absorbed the shipping costs. Um why? Who observes the shipping custom for wholesale? Well, I only do local everything ideas within one hundred miles thick so wholesale the fire observes the shipping costs and consignment the consign er observes the shipping costs we have a thing that if we send it back to you, we pay for it, but if you request your items before we wantto quit working with you essentially, then you pay the shipping cost to send it back or big, but if you live in candidate yeah, I don't carry products outside the bay area, so the whole canadian thing wouldn't apply to me necessarily. But we don't pay for shipping. We want to see you. We want you to come in, and if it's necessary, then we'll send it back. But in a relationship that's, about all the time, we have thank you guys so much. That was really, really great.

Class Description

Getting your goods into stores can be a great way to make on-going, low-touch sales. But how do you make that happen? In Buyers Round Table, you’ll hear from retail buyers as they answer questions from the makers in the SF Etsy Sellers Group.

During this special event you’ll learn what veteran buyers are looking for and how to pitch your product so they can’t wait to buy. 

You’ll get tips on: 
  • Approaching buyers 
  • Presenting your work 
  • Appealing to store owners 
  • Packaging for retail sales 
You’ll hear first-hand how other makers got their handmade goods into stores and how you can mimic their success. 

If you are ready to expand into making brick and mortar sales or just need to boost your pitching game, this is the perfect starting point for you. 


Wafa Hourani