Skip to main content

Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 28 of 32

How to Maintain Respectful Communication


Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 28 of 32

How to Maintain Respectful Communication


Lesson Info

How to Maintain Respectful Communication

So we're going to go on to how to maintain respectful communication again we're great bringing a lot of things but a lot of things that we've spoken about over the last two or three segments and certainly yes last session as well we were looking at the earlier tips no your key terms okay, respect the timelines give clear instruction clear instruction is everyone is busy clear instruction you'll get the response exactly when you need it list list of bullet point exactly what you want you know, if you have a habit of kind of going on an e mails and it's just like oh, and I kind of like this, but I'm not really sure and maybe and pretend it's it's like she needs it right away but she's not sure we do insurance order like ok figured out then place your order yeah, yeah it's don't make it your problem what they sort out the details first definitely putting something in a bullet point it helps to formulate exactly what you want it formulates in your mind and it makes it very clear for the pe...

rson receiving that information um yet respect the timelines is so important don't expect someone just to kind of reduce the lead time just because you need it earlier things have a certain they take time to make it it's just it's a fact just because you forget to order or you need you know you have it on urgent delivery and maybe you've not planned or you've got this just you have to respect the timeline is a timeline they can still adjust it if they can if there is wiggle room because everyone has wiggle room in what they're doing but shouting and screaming down email is not going to get something three weeks earlier catherine yeah, I know some sometimes there's a little bit of wiggle warm like the printer I got a banner from in santa clara you know, they have all these times for shipping on their website and they're saying we'll ask us about well call and ask them about we'll call it turns out oh yeah if you got a small order that we're just going to kind of slip in between things anyway you know you don't have to worry about the you know allow three days for shipping we're just going to do it like that day after we got it yeah yeah it's this definitely given take if people can help you if you've got a great relationship if people can help you by giving you a fatter delivery, they will definitely help you but don't assume actually be on your list of assumption that it's sort of lead time is three to four weeks and then they actually means three to four days because you know chances are yeah, and I don't know her magnitude faster. Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's, if they can do it, they will. If not, you have to respect and find you. Go to your plan b because you would have written your plan days and got yet you're separate supply it so that would have been all kicked into place share information so they have a context. You don't have to give away all your trade secrets, but tell him a little bit about who you are, what you want. You gave a great example, catherine, with with the raw materials again, your business model on your vision statement actually is a great sharing that information to kind of get, um, engagement and get and get the understanding on a better product ultimately think long term and short term we're negotiating and that's not just on coast cost I'm talking about here. I'm also talking about inlay times on manufacturing on on any, any, any kind of negotiation. It's you should be in it for the long haul. So if you're negotiating fabric, if you're working with in a community, our group or something like that, maybe you need to buy some fabric short term t make an art project, maybe the minimums are really high, but if you introduce them to the they are prompted product is whole other kind of makers and craft is in that group then maybe that can extend their business out in different mediums in different areas thinking about how to kind of like bill communities so think of long term relationships it's going to help you short term so this it's not always about kind of the I really kind of like bottom out in the price and getting a hard prices also about long term commitment to always working with them always kind of recommending them as well as kind of a short term quick fix yeah that's not just say that's not may I'm not very good I don't have those shorts particularly um not given take is everyone knows there's no right or wrong way of working it's about it's about given take on driss spectral communication and understanding it's also about transparency a big big fan of transparency in relationships being very, very very open with people and being very honest um this you know example, if something is too expensive tellem is too expensive to someone is is out my ballpark right now this is the price I'm looking for is is there any wiggle room if there isn't do you know if I like you know, do you have another product which is maybe a blend or something that I can work with which is going to have the same effect food has cut off the conversation just say this is not working see it's too much you're thinking short term you're not thinking long term transparency is about building relationship building trust on dh finding new possibilities you share a vision with someone if they understand what your vision is you say something's not not workable the guy we like I saw that you're also thinking about doing this we've got this new supply in and this could work so being being transparent I think shannon talked about it as well earlier on big fan of being transparent give supplies feedback on their product this this is an interesting one maybe further for the chat room as well how many people give feedback to their suppliers and their world materials? Um fatima and no did the drastic head shaking no, I find that it's very personal for some of the manufacturers they work with right? They only want to hear good thing interesting I just leave it ok and so do you vote with your feet then you go to a different if if something is if a row materialism isn't working, then you would just kind of take your business somewhere. I mean if it's if it is to the degree where it's a product but I'm testing out and it's and it's a prototype, then I'll say, hey, I'm noticing there's a little you know, maybe this part is a little rough and it should be you know flush then those okay let me look at it and then they would usually offer something right like to remake it or we do it or try it again but if it's just a matter of general quality I'll just try some deals so I asked around how about how about the others katherine do you do you give feedback tio supplies I'm pretty good about getting positive feedback especially like my local plastic suppliers and surely like this pulling away with the stuff from you um I did have a problem with samir ing backs I got from a vendor on etc and I contacted said are these the very best I just supposed to like keep hearings on the hook hearing is on the card right and like other area very well falling off I thought you might want to know that in case you just saying suppliers like there is nothing wrong with our area right remember barbaro was like ok so I'm not going to we're hearing back from them because they have no quality control yeah za shame that people have that response actually of that kind of got something wrong with our stuff you know because you know problems happening production it's the nature of the business on dh you know, not having flexibility or an understanding and appreciation of man is hard because you're ultimately going to lose a customer you know, I'm a big fan of giving feedback upon on product on raw materials because it's I amber is like like I was saying you kind of in this together this this is you're trying to elevate the business and the industry and build relationships and partnerships and giving feedback is a way to learn every show everyone should be able to receive as long as it's kind of carefully worded is not kind of like this is terrible you know I hate it it's just like you know, the quality is kind of different from last time, you know is it you know, there's definitely ways of phrasing it, making them aware of it most I think would be pretty happy to receive oh really it's not good all you know what? Let me go and have a look at it we're in part I honestly feel like relationships is the most important part of my business and it's why I have one and every supplier that I have that there's ever been any sort of glitch? Yeah it's remedied in moment and and it's you know, I've had new people coming in and doing packaging for me in package to dirty cards and sent him on and I was devastated because they never had that happen before and just immediately called them said, oh my god, I can't believe this happened I'm so sorry and literally shipped out brand new cards that day yeah and just asked him ship it back to me on my dime so at least I can see it a conversation rectified and they because everything's handled the way it is it's just like I can't believe you called this back this first thing and we got our cards you know the next day and everything's fine things happen yeah and then you get another order yeah I mean it's like everybody I feel like that I am in a very liking industry where people make the assumption that everyone's trying their best and doing their best yeah and so it's sze perhaps the unique thing but it's pretty amazing I'm very appreciative of it and I'm very protected and I feel like I worked really hard on the relationships I have in my industry so I've been I've been very also very lucky and interviews in the relationships in the industry both scan in europe in asia and also to a certain extent when I've been working with the domestic companies here giving some kind of feedback and being really careful about how I phrase it because it's it's active living it living in aa europe and I lived in holland for ten years and people very dutch of extremely direct very very, very direct and coming over here and I think that kind of directness I've used to fit for ten years that got me into a little bit of trouble but understanding how to kind of re phrase and just kind of think it works every time it just but it's, it'll either work or it won't work and you have to kind of like way they took things up. But there's nothing wrong with giving supplies feedback it ultimately engages. Ah, better product further down the line. Anything from you, chris on this? Yeah, it seems like the chat room is all for giving feedback and paintings by k young horses that before I started selling online, I never wrote reviews or gave feedback. Now I know how much it means to receive feedback good or bad it's better to know than to not know. Yeah, and yes. So it seems like that's really the consensus here learning from mistakes is the best teacher chance of joy design says so it's good to get that feedback to know you know you can actually improve yeah, definitely it's like everyone can say everything is awesome and everything is great you only learn if people go it's great. But you know, if you have you thought about doing something this way you know what? I didn't think about it, but that's a great that's that's a great value add to this product is definitely it's and you set this up, we rely on few back quite a bit, even hear a creative, live way have something on the course page right now for people that says poster review. So whenever you watch, of course, I'm creative live. It is always important to post a review and let us know what you think about it, that feedback is always how we improve. So this ties in perfectly to that, so feel free to leave a review and let us know any feedback that you want to see us improve upon here. It's a perfect segue is easy, but, um oh, sorry. Go ahead with all of that said, how would you recommend giving feedback? Um, me person giving feedback, tio, uh, a supplier show you what I do, I would if it was ah, quality issue if they're going to shoot me some fabric, which wasn't, which wasn't good then on dh, they didn't call out the fabric law. Um, I would I would tell them an email, I'd send them really clear dj pics of of the floor, and I would I would say, hey, this received this fabric we received x number of yards of it, we've done a check, we've noticed these floors here, the images you know, do you if if if the floor was right in the middle of the fabric you know we've got fabric width and if it's all the way in that it means it's really hard to use the fabric if it's just kind of on the edges is easier to cut around and to use it so that would be my first check is can I still use it or his in completely done um so I would think about what do I want my outcome to be? You know, if it's completely terrible because this floors in the middle then I would say ok, we can't use this fabric I can't get any kind of cost reduction because I still can't use it what alternatives do you have? And if they say, well there's, nothing wrong with our fabric of fabric is perfect I'm like there's pictures I could send you were cutting off it to show you um if they say they're still in system on day really absolutely nothing wrong with our fabric then I would probably start sourcing for the the same fabric somewhere else fill the void so I could make my production send the fabric after them continued that kind of conversation off the side while I'm still trying to sort my production out if they're still insistent which is which is unlikely then I would stop using them as a supplier even if they've received it so that's that's one way of looking at it. If, um, if I was buying, like, finished, like a button or something, which is already made, andi I could still use it. Maybe there was a floor on the underside of the button, but it was still usable in the customer wouldn't necessarily notice it. Then I would highlight this to them. Or take pictures of the one eye picked selected to start with and one that they sent me to say, hey, just a call out. Um, I might even say, hey, actually, comma, just to call out this the button that I saw an approved was not the same as you ship. There was a slight marking on the back. Done if this is production or if it was a one off, we're still using the buttons, but maybe you want to check your production on, let me know for future so that's that's how I would do it if something is yeah, I would just I think about what my end goal is, what I want out of this. Do I want a complete refund? Can I still use it on my calling out for their own information? That's probably how I would do it, okay, yeah, sometimes relationships end, um it's that's just the way the way it goes you move on, you change direction it's my industry is very small I think every everyone else's industry is pretty small as well. It's you have to be gracious about it for whatever reason, mate. Maybe he had disagreements it's just like ok, sorry this didn't work out and then you move on no mudslinging allowed it's just it's such a bad habit on people will remember on dh you'll be like, oh yeah, a lot of a sudden you don't have a plan b or plan c because they're all in league with each other, so I'm a big dance, a big advocate of just keeping it professional booking away, even if even if you are in the right and they're in the wrong it's like sorry this didn't work out and then you kind of go behind a clipboard and power apply that, um but it's it happens, relationships happen on dh, so we because we spoke a little bit about this already, but three things that you could feed back on for suppliers, this would be a good one if you have anything on on this already. Chris in the chat room, people, things it seems like one thing that we didn't really directly mention was doing a lot on social media sassy seamster says that she needs to get better at retweeting I'm working on it but I share a lot of stuff would be awesome from handmade makers on my social media and I want to encourage people in the industry to look for something that's good no matter what they're looking for so if you have a good experience with someone kind of retweeting letting other people know hey this is a this person was a pleasure to work with yeah I think that's what seems like a good way of doing this and sandra glover clark says that they especially like giving positive feedback to candace goes back to our discussion earlier the chinese suppliers because of in this situation she said that she was shocked with the great quality and second because so many people have a negative connotation about the goods that made in china goods she wanted to support the people that she was working with there so it seems like social media's or the easiest way for a lot of people to do that definitely definitely if you're working with with the kind of really visual products and you wanting to give great feedback instagram is and nothing that I I mean I use instagram and twitter on kind of rotation I think both the great re posting retweeting um kind of reference saying it's it's a great it's a great community especially for kind of maker in crafting is well definitely anything else, jen? Think the kind of sharing feedback we've kind of talked a lot in in the studio about it.

Class Description

Once you’ve established your business with a single, successful product, imagining what else to sell can be daunting. You don’t want to end up with a disjointed collection of products, but you do want it to be fresh and exciting for existing customers. In Diversifying Your Product Line, you’ll learn the art and science of expanding your offerings and growing your business.

Susie Breuer is the author of Blue is the New Black: The 10 Step Guide to Developing and Producing a Fashion Collection and in this class she’ll help you generate ideas and make smart decisions about expanding your apparel and/or accessories business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Research the market to understand both price and your customers.
  • Build a concept and action plan for starting out
  • Manage multiple product lines
  • Source raw materials and manufacturers

You’ll learn how to accurately assess a product's viability before you waste time and money developing it. Susie will also teach you how to develop a consistent, logical pricing strategy you can use again and again.

Susie makes the complex process of developing a financially solvent product and production plan easy. You’ll get expert-level insights into all aspects of developing a new product and walk away confident that you know everything you need to know to expand your business.



Thank you for an excellent class on a key pivot point no matter what industry you are in. One stellar quality of this course is how collaborative, friend focused peer culture and (rather than hostile competition or dysfunction competition environment and psychological atmosphere). The structure suggestions enable creativity and acknowledges different mindsets required in different phases. Susie honors the joy that comes from making and creating. She celebrates the interdependence between all stakeholders and the fun and flow as well as learnings and choices from being a 'business'. She is pragmatic but high on the inclusiveness of fun and satisfaction. She is interested and interesting: safe, enjoys being a customer as much as teacher and expressions of creative generation for herself. You can be caught up in the delight of her view of the world if you have become jaded or burnout. This brings perspective and empowerment to your desire and goals.


Susie has this most amazing experience in business - she is fashion royalty - but has an amazing ability to put all her knowledge across in a way that you can learn so easily. I was so pleased that she could show you how to learn from her experience and it would make sense for your business. Pretty much whatever you are doing. I came away from these sessions with so many ideas. But of course ideas are cheap. She has made me understand how once you have an idea, how to make it real. So many great learnings about avoiding pitfalls, practical check lists and honest to goodness 'know how'. I am already putting her advice into practice and can see I am going to transform my business just because of these classes. I am going to come back to those videos again and again. Thank you so much for making this great resource available.


I LOVED THIS COURSE. After being a small business owner for 10 years it is easy to focus on what's right on your desk at that very moment instead of evaluating the bigger picture, to forget how to look at what is working as well as what isn't and how to improve upon your process. Courses like this make me want to jump up out of my seat and get back to work. Susie kept me engaged and focused. It can be a long day but time seemed to fly by. I am really glad I got the opportunity to take the course, not only would I take it again but would highly recommend future Creative Live courses and Susie's latest book. Thank you again for the opportunity and now I gotta get back to work!