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Create an Effective Wholesale Catalog

Lesson 5 of 9

Real World Catalog Critique with Cara Underwood

Katie Hunt

Create an Effective Wholesale Catalog

Katie Hunt

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Lesson Info

5. Real World Catalog Critique with Cara Underwood

Lesson Info

Real World Catalog Critique with Cara Underwood

So we've been talking about the tactical things that you want to include in your catalog and so I wanted us to run through a real life example on dso this is carrie underwood and one of our audience members as well as one of my boot camp alone and she has a catalogue here, so we're going to run through it and kind of do a critique of, you know, some things I think she's really doing well and she's going to ask him questions about some things you might want to improve on dh yeah, we'll go from there, so um tell me at first this is your two thousand fifteen catalogues so it's the one for last year are you planning to redo a new one for twice seen? Yes oh my company's underwood letter president starting carline and number of gift products I am actually designed my first catalog in two thousand fourteen with the help of an assistant who worked for me he was a great graphic designer, okay, um I don't have great skills when it comes tio in design I use illustrated and photoshopped primarily ...

in my work and she was really adept at that and so she laid that out initially and that was just an online catalog for the year on dh then I had another great assistant who was also really, really wonderful with um, in design and she and I worked together to produce this one great that was printed in may and so yes, I'm now ready. We're going t worked on the two thousand sixteen I learned a lot there's some things they definitely want to change. Yeah, something that I felt like. All right, I didn't get a job on that. He did. I was looking through this before, obviously before we we got ready for this course and you're doing a lot of really great things. I wanted to commend you on your product photography in particular, you've got this page in particular at the very front of your catalog is just it's gorgeous. It really shows your product on a lot of different ways. You also sell postage rate. Is that correct? I do. And so having not here on the pages is a really nice touch because it's it's a prop, but yet, like we talked about earlier of not wanting to over style or use props that aren't your own, you know, this is a really cool he ease of thing? Um, yeah, so I liked this page and I like the other. One thing I might say, though, is it does take up quite a bit of real estate sad, and I was gonna ask just kind of that balance between conveying your brand but not taking up too much real estate that just adds extra costs, right? I think it depends on you know, I know you're releasing some new products suit if you needed this page or you needed one of the pages rather teo teo, you know, to the product listings I would absolutely tell you to cut this down to just one page instead of the full spread. However, I think the full spread is gorgeous and I think that it really does make a visual impact is the first page of your catalog, which is impressive, and it shows a variety of your different cards and they're large enough to that you can read them really well, so I do like it if you have the space. I think keeping something like this is a powerful statement, but if you're running short on space tio really display your products and I would I would maybe move it to one page, ok? Yeah, no worries I didn't wantto mention too I think you're about pages really great as well. This is another area where if you're running short on space maybe move it to just one page, but I think you know this photo of you is warm it's welcoming you have your press there so it really articulates who you are and what your business is about and I really like it a lot. And to this photo how it's included in more of a geometric that sony it's just like it's different. You don't really see that in the catalog. So, like that I am. This is eight and a half by eleven when I package my orders. It's too large to fit into my standard, okay box that I use a fedex flat rate box that looks really well. Um, and so I have been thinking about decreasing the size of the catalog. So that's one thing. And maybe as we go through it, to think of sort of howto how to really shrink everything down, I do look at it and feel that the type everything is generally a little bit big. And I think I can just shrink thinking down the font sizes and things like that, but, yeah, I am looking for ways to economize. The next dies down. We'll really be that eight and a half by five and a half size in terms of the standard printed options. So, like when you go to aa catalog printer and you ask them, you know, or you look at their site and see the standard sizes there that would really be the next one down, and I think that would probably be a little bit too small for what you've got going on here, but see what other sizes are available that are standard, because once you jump to that like custom, you know, you're pretty ones jumped that custom sizing that's where the price really jumps for peace. So but I agree with you having this be able to make in this a size that fits easily into your shipping boxes is really critical because you do want to be sending these out with your wholesale orders. Yeah, and I have kind of question well, you know, if they're just placing an order, maybe it's not so critical to included full catalogue, it depends if it's somebody yes and no if it's somebody that hasn't place an order in a while and they may not have your news catalog absolutely included because we want them to have your most current. I also like to do it he be let's say the order from me a couple of months ago on dh you have, you know, they've just place this order, I still like to send them one because it jogs their memory, maybe it's going to sit out on their desk for another month or so and you know that if you have the inventory of catalogs, I'd say go ahead and do it if you're running short on catalogs or you know if you want to save them first and of coming in that, then don't send it and maybe will you do something like what we talked about earlier with the postcards or, you know, something that's it's still an insert that represents your brand and talks about where to find your information, but it is it's, not the full catalog, so great idea I have, um, you can see I mixed product shots with vector images on this page it's pretty clear because my cards and this collection don't have tech next, there are some pages when the text gets really small and the vector images, so I often I mean, I'm kind of considering whether or not I should repeat the text on the card in the description of each image, but I don't want to get too wordy I think you could do this two different ways. I think you could either make the thumbnails for this particular line larger. So even if this is different than every other thumbnail on your you could do maybe all four of these just in a quite you know, a four pack right here larger so they can read it directly on the card and then you're not changing what's listed below or you could do is mentioned and include the text right here given how much texas on these cards though I'd probably go with the first option just making the thumbnails of these this particular collection slightly larger um and keep in mind like running these on just on a digital printer you know something so you can take a look at him before you go to actual print get your proof is going to be in there yeah yeah, absolutely again I really need to compliment you on the use of styled images I think you do a really great job of articulating the different collections you're offering and and making it clear what you're selling versus what are just problems you and I am sure offer this to the students but I have the list of options for photography I opted for the barter so I got you actually not yeah, I found I do custom letter press work as well. So I have a fair amount of context in the wedding business and um was able tio uh set up a relationship with a wedding photographer and jen emmerling she's you know, I really checked out her style before we chose the system with yeah, I think that that's definitely important but we were able to trade our services and it worked out really well and she just has a great creative I and I loved the lighting she use in her images and so it worked out well good did she sally's for you as well or did you sell a bomb? It was a collaboration I sort of put out some art direction my assistant helped with sourcing things and doing a lot of styling and then jen is also really, really talented. Okay? It was sort of a team effort great theater thing I wanted to mention to you is you did a really great job of including your email and contact information here in the footers I think this is done in an interesting way that's booth you know, aesthetically pleasing but it's also practical it focused on the function of making it very easy for the retailers to contact you if they have questions and you have it on every page here so that's great! I didn't notice one thing you talked about was including material listening out the materials and the way something is made which yeah, I only have it in one spot so that made me think perhaps they should find a way to repeat the information or talk about it in different ways. I don't know what what do you think about I would I would do one of two things in this case too I would either at it like create some sort of header at the top of each each page that kind of talks about this or which I had actually I think might work better, given the style of this catalog is make this more prominent. So this is kind of small and takes up a small amount of real estate on this page, so maybe have a larger portion dedicated tio, how the products are made and you know, some of those general product descriptions, but you do have things other than cards. You have those in this catalogue, dude. Let's look through just so they could show people that, and then I want to talk on touch on this like mind sheet, too here's your gift up nice. So actually, this was a question this goes back to what betsy was asking about, you know, whether or not to include prince in frames. And I think carrie did a really great job with this of offering, you know, here's the two prints she has where it's just the the artwork themselves and the product detail she's got the skew in the name of it. And then here you know the images, it shows it in use. So it shows that practical side of that. I think it is really the start with that and to the gift wrap showing it again in use of, like here's what it looks like, and here is the different, you know, types of ribbon you didn't include yeah, one thing I wish e know do you have that on here? It's always a question thea other thing though I would given now that wrapping paper and this is obviously very specific to your industry my industry but given that wrapping paper is now coming in roles or sheets I would probably add something of like, you know, just third she people now yeah, I like how it ships how it's packaged yeah, exactly and maybe that's a case where we talked about earlier about how unique packaging that may be a case where you want to have a photo of you know, if it's role there however do you do in roles or that you know it's it's cheat sheets ok, so you know, then you could if it were maybe there's a photo of a display yeah, sheets laid out let me get a good idea so and then you started doing textiles recently to or those in here that's your choice you know they're coming just a tune. So yeah, that was data provided new fun way tio translate those together the catalog? Yeah, I think so too because you can really do some fun lifestyle shots, yes, but I do think you're some meals they're good size especially for the ones that don't have text on them. I think the ones with text especially though that one that was pretty intricate just go larger on that crime. Yeah, whatever questions you have for me we're gonna look at well, here's this is kind of a very unique product that I offered so it it um was something I felt it was important to show how it's packaged and displayed okay s o these air vintage postage sets that the stamps are actually original stamps issued and forties fifties sixties on dh we package them in this neat little way and on the back we include a lot of of information on how to use vintage postage because some people don't know that you can still put it on your envelope and put it into the mail. Um but I have yet to really get feedback on the packaging whether or not it's working and it's probably something I just need a pick up the phone and call the stores and ask but I just wanted to see from from my perspective your perspective, you know, does it sort of translate what the heck is going on? Because I think it's not something people are always system ah quick question about the postage is it all the same postage or is each to wanna mix that like there's images here to show what it looks like? But if they order this well is that what they receive so that's a good question um it's going to be inspired by the set so well this it for example includes pink plum and red was the color stand a color hello yeah, so there is a little description here but it might be better to call that out more I would I would maybe even you could put you could do it a couple ways you could say color palette um or color story down here and then maybe make this a little larger and a little clearer about you know what that is? I didn't mean to take away from your question about the packaging I think this is really great I think I think it's fun how you have the airplane I think the airplanes really fun and just how says into posted I think you just need to really dio maybe a little bit of a stronger job of explaining what it is and how it sold and how the retailer khun cell in their shop is how are they for the stores that you're working with currently how are they displaying it? There's a mix I did have one store actually request this exact deciding which I was able to source we provide these hang tags but we don't stick them on so that stars can choose whether or not they lay them out or they hang them but for the most part the stores who have been purchasing them our stores that get asked for postage all the time or they themselves were trying to sort it's vintage posted eso I've had stores want to test it out but the ones that are successful with them I think those stores who are already accustomed to selling posted right so they know how to get out already yeah, but I think it is something that takes a little bit more guidance yeah for retailers so they really understand what it is exactly and I think that goes back to my previous question of like are these story ways or is this the exact stamps that they're getting is I mean it's vintage you yeah it is limits right? Exactly. So no, I think that's really fun I do like tio how this isn't so much for a wholesale perspective but for the retail side of things I like how you include instructions of you know these can be used please do he's you know, like kind of adding to the purpose of it yeah on the back you're packaging so that's really great we also inform people that they can like the stamp he's a ghost people always laugh when they see that could stamps now all ourself and he's way just like I remind people you like remember you know you like to stand secretly wow and I thought about that but yeah, that is something you need to explain nowadays want you um what else can I help you with? So then we have a product price sheet. Um I didn't consider that I could leave the pricing off but now having heard your explanation I think it would make a lot of sense for some products so I guess the question would be if eyeless pricing for some product do I need a list pricing for all products should it sort of be either or in my cards? My card pricing said it's not going to change but as I put something new product they might you know, be something I want to keep a little more flexible, right? I might is just my opinion but I would say either or either or it would be best just because I think it might cost confusion if certain things are priced in there in certain things or not but I did want tio this is a great this is what a line she kind of looks like people just have a line cheat for those of you in the audience that we're asking questions about this you know it has the price, the skew the item name and then you know here she's got the type of product it is or the siri's it's a siri's okay, is that your like collection, so to speak s so all of my cards are designed in right small collection okay, so you know something like this is is the bare bones lie and cheat the people we'll talk about but those terms are very much he's interchangeably line she can catalog so but I like how you included this here because they think it does make for a quick reference guide for fires if they just want to flip through and quickly see with skis are pricing or maybe they're going to grab a highlighter and they're going to you know, start marking it up in marking it up here writing six next to it or whatever their border quantity is for that so I I'd probably do either or I wouldn't include you know a handful of things and then do the other on concert she simply because I think you could design it to be easier to read and more concise if it's all in one page on def you do it on two separate pages that's two places for them toe look it can kind of go raising so that would be my suggestion there but you did a nice job with you know your contact information and the photos look great your products details or good I would probably add a little more of a descriptor in some ways and if you are going to smaller size I would which I think you can do given them on a product although I know you're really seeing new stuff now um but see would focus on looking at what those different non custom sizes are that you can do them. Um, and then one thing that occurred to me, I mean, I have here it's a two thousand fifteen catalog, but now I've sort of realized the appropriate release time for a brand new catalog is mourning tune with the stationary show right for you, and she s yeah, so I'm going to be releasing it, um, closer to may, which is when the stationary show is, um and therefore the the life of this catalog is really made twenty sixteen tio april twenty seventeen great, how do people generally titrate, analyzes important, even put a date on it? Or I think it is in I think it is important to data or is somehow distinguish one from the other. I don't like it when people use volumes or more abstract ways of labeling their catalog, because how do you know a retailer is not really going to know if its version one version to they're not going to know what the latest is? So in my opinion, a day is like the most direct, easiest way to determine if something is current and so just dating this twenty fifteen dash, twenty sixteen it is a really great option for you on that. Pretty logical thing a three card a lot today e oh yeah no so I for you I would just do you know, because of the release cycles for your industry and the timing on that I would do you just a year overlap there but there are people to do you know by season so it might be spring that you know, once people start like the larger lines will have, you know, a spring in two thousand sixteen catalog and then you know winter you know, so they'll release it that way but really the types of businesses we all are and the amount of volume and things were doing it's totally fine to release a catalog once a year once every eighteen months. And so we will talk about ways tio kind of lengthen the life of it so that you can get away with on ly printing in that increment instead of having to print several times a year that's good. Any other questions? Um my back is just you know, an image. Have you seen any ways people use the back? Um any kind of real estate recommendations there? I like this actually because I think teo, given what we talked about about the interior spread using that one page maybe you could use up for the cover and the back this looks really nice too, but I mean really the back is used for just reiterating contact information or a website or something which you have here so I think including your products on here is a great way to do it it's visually appealing, you know, and all the details are inside, so no, I think this looks great and I think you're doing a great job and a cz you add those new products I do think you know, just a couple of things we talked about for tweaking and making space and depending on what your needs are there with the new products, you can make some adjustments, but yeah, it looks great congrats. How did you feel after eating this? Oh, I thought it was so beautiful, but once I got it printed and was going through the proof, I was just excited to start shopping on my own I think they really made me feel like I just bumped myself up to the next level and I was there's sort of no turning back, but it was and exciting, yeah, it definitely adds an air of professionalism down it makes you feel a little more like, ok, I'm established got it only when I showed my family they're sort of like, oh, wait, oh, you have a real company legitimacy a legitimate ties is yourself dinner good did you have a question, carrie you know, I decided to print them digitally, which allows for small runs on, and I took one hundred to the stationery show with me and I ran out. But I was fine with that because I quickly had some updates. You know, there's so much. I learned just from the first run, so I printed another run of, I think, three to four hundred, um in july. And I mailed a bunch of those out and then help held on to some, um, to keep me, you know, going through the end of the year. But I'll this next time around him in a print, a really large run because the price, the price is just much better that way. Yeah, that's. Two quick questions do you need to specify wholesale catalog just in case some person saw? So I thought that, oh, it's, ten dollars I yeah, I usually put on there somewhere, even if it's on the interior it's not. It doesn't have to be on the cover that says wholesale catalog, but usually in the back where you have your pricing information. Um, it'll say wholesale pricing. Um, so she has price, so you might want to put ws or just have it's a wholesale pricing on dh. The other option is if you have it in the product descriptions like, you know, if you have that information bar across the top or something, you could put a wholesale price is whatever, but usually a lump it in there. You don't necessarily have to put it on the cover. It says wholesale catalog. You can if you want, tio, but like when you if you were to upload this to issue which she should, you would then put it in the title of it. Just you could say your company name, wholesale catalog with the year yeah, and and then that actually brings you know, we get so many catalogs in the mail. Retail paddle log right on day. Obviously, those goes more residents than businesses, but is their way to mail this as, like, the mail it where you know, you just mail it. Or do you have to always put in envelopes to design an envelope? There are print houses that will print your catalog for you, and you convey by that extra add on service. That they'll send it to you or send it out for you. In that case, you usually provide them with a mailing list and excel or something most the brains I work with don't utilize that type of thing because really again, the focus here is building relationships with these retailers. You know, when I get those plastic wrapped things with the, you know, barcode address, it doesn't intrigue me as much as you know, if I were to receive this in the mail, I would also recommend that she sent a handwritten note with it, and given that she's in the paper business, I would do it on one of her cards on dh that would also then service a sample, so you know, that would make a greater impact to me if I were a retailer eso sort of in the paper industry, thinking of a printed envelope that looks good and but that's also where, like, I always shows that smaller size catalog that ivan have by and half because it did fit into a regular size envelope. Andi could still put a little known side was regular postage, so I always like that size, even though it meant more pages from my catalogue. But it seemed easier for me and it was a little more queen match my brand and I found the, you know, cried craft envelopes that I used it really matched everything in these cute little seals, and so, you know, like, you really kind of make it your own, so that would be my recommendation. But it's also different for every industry means somebody that selling heavier items or more expensive items, they're not sending samples, they're not, you know, it will really be this catalog, so you don't think about like karen was talking about, you know, this catalog doesn't fit into her shipping box when she sends her wholesale orders, so that loan would make me want to kind of either change my shipping methods or make me change the size of my catalog, depending on what made the most financial sense, but you know, think about it if you're not, even so, you want to think about how it fits into a normal envelope, sometimes people dio fold these ain't half eleven's in half and put them into an envelope that way, it depends on how things like this this one you couldn't do because it's really a nice quality hefty really first impressions? Yeah, the hope, the whole package, yeah, exactly it's all about first impressions for sure kill you had it coming yeah, I have kind of more of a general question also related to expenses. So, like you mentioned, you can't fit the catalog when you're shipping your orders. But I was actually curious if you are shipping your catalogue every time you send an order, including a re order because it goes back to, you know, it's expensive to print the catalog. So what is katie like? What is your feeling about how many catalogs there should be shipping, right? Do you ship it every time? There's an order, even a small reorder or, well, I I also have a postcard I designed that, um, has an image. You know, it has a similar vibe to the catalog, and it just has I basic information and then tells people where to find the catalog. So that fits great and to my shipping boxes. And I've been using that. I mean, I do have the same question is, you know, is it is there enough value add to always include a catalog and, you know, yeah, it kind of goes backto volume if you have them, use them. If not, you know, used an insert. Like we talked about the postcard or something, I like sending them with all my orders, even if the store had ordered a couple of months prior, just because again, I felt like it was more visibility. It was getting in front of them. Maybe it's sit on their desk for a month until they clean off there email or something? I don't know, but eso, you know, I always kind of determined my quantity for catalogs based upon all those things I'd be including them with my order using them. It shows using them for marketing and stuff like that to you. Tiffany, did you have a question? And then oh, sorry. Do you want to goto online buddies? Are we going to cover like inserts? We'll talk about that when we talk about leverage extending the life. All right, then I have no question way. Have one question from online. First of all, carol there's. Been so much positive feedback about your catalog. People love it. They say it's amazing. Gorgeous. It is pretty, really is. So congratulations. One person simply created it had a question for you, and she was curious what feedback you got from retailers when they saw the catalog in person well, I think one thing you probably can't c is the weight of it and so a lot of people picked it up oh, you know this one feels good on andi I used you know, a nice paper stock so the the images I think just sit really well on the paper I feel like you know what a very nice catalog for my first my first effort but it wasn't cheap I you know, I was going like this is a very hefty catalog like the paperweight she chose is really it's beautiful but it's heavy would you do that again? You like you toes clearly to invest in a higher gravity prints off yeah, I think it really paid off. So I do think that you know, picking quality of catalog that matches your line is important because I'm letterpress printing all my cards are printed on cotton paper. I think it's important for for my business that I indicate a knowledge of paper quality and printing process and things like that. But I would say on, you know, the flip side, some retailers told me was two bit you know they prefer the smaller catalog so that's, my big decision point this year is just whether I'm goingto go down or stand the decide besides for you and one for katie's a smurf you wanted to know care of what program you used to make it it's all done and in design and like I'd mentioned at the beginning, my studio associate mallory cone she's fabulous! She is really, really talented within design, and so she laid everything out for me. I like I said, I do illustrator I couldn't do photo shop, but I've just decided not to bite off and design. I'm sure it's really easy and I could do it, but at the time I felt like it was a better use of resources to have her help with that because she's so talented and it would take me time to learn the the program and then time to really perfect how I used it and highlight everything so I want to ask and design is great because you know all of these footers that you see there standard on each page template, and so it is really a great program to use you just have to learn, yeah, illustrators. Part of the story in design rather is part of the adobe suite for those that aren't familiar, and so it is it's it's, a candy time intensive toe learn one thing to I wanted to ask in that I recommend if you do decide to hire out the graphic design portion of this is, you know, ensuring that these people, whoever you hire is creating a template that you can then res later, because then perhaps you can make adjustments later at new pages or, you know, you don't have to pay for the boy. Did you do that with mallory? Did she just kind of do it free flow and I'm no, she yes, she created a template I have yet to want to go in and do it, you know you all the updates, so we've continued to work together and she'll be helping me with the next cattle agree well for you, katie catherine holloway asked how if you are putting twenty sixteen to twenty seventeen on the cover of the catalog, do you include your three to four new releases in a year? We're going to talk about that when we talk about extending the life of the catalog, but that's really where the insert sheets, which I'll describe in more detail in a few minutes, that comes in handy because you are going to be releasing new products on a regular basis and you need to account for that. But I think a lot of people get scared because they know they need to release, but they don't want to have to reprint these catalogs over and over said there, there are some options there for you, which we'll talk further possible thank you so much terrorism

Class Description

An effective product catalog is a must-have tool in the arsenal of any business with a wholesale arm.   This class will guide you through each step of creating catalog that helps you and your business appear more polished and professional.

This class will introduce you to the process of creating a compelling wholesale catalog. You’ll learn about:  

  • Leveraging dynamic product photos – even when a professional photographer is out of reach  
  • Organizing your catalog to increase sales 
  • Stretching the life of your catalog 
  • Strategies for cost-effective production and printing 
Whether you’re an independent artist taking your first steps into the world of wholesaling or a long-time wholesaler looking to refine your sales tools, you’ll leave this course with concrete, easy-to-follow steps for building a catalog that will entice your customers – and drive your sales.



Even though I've been selling my creative work through my wholesale business for several years, this class was a great refresher! It can be so tempting to make a catalog that's artistic and flashy, but Katie reminds us that the main focus should be to make it easy for your client to BUY! Katie has tons of experience with businesses buying and selling paper goods and gifts, and her insights help me focus in on the details that matter most to my buyers. Thanks for the help!

Katy Casey

This course was fantastic and gave specific tips on how to effectively create your wholesale catalog. It was a perfect resource as I hadn't even thought about creating my catalog yet, but the info I learned will help influence the direction and thought I put into building out my product line.

Tracy Clarke

I already had a digital catalog, but this really opened my mind up to the idea of a printed one and how important it can be for getting sales. It was great to see other catalog examples and learn about the variety of product that a retailer is looking for in a catalog. Really great class for anyone wanting to expand into the wholesale business.