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Sell Your Products to Retailers

Lesson 31 of 31

Filling Your Orders

Megan Auman

Sell Your Products to Retailers

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

31. Filling Your Orders

Lesson Info

Filling Your Orders

Now we're going to dive in and we're gonna talk about filling those orders so just a little bit about this process, because now we're home from the trade show or maybe we've been doing that pitching right? And those orders are starting to come in, you know, maybe you're gonna e mail a store tomorrow, right? You're gonna do all this in your email store tomorrow and they're like, I love it, yeah, here's my order so I'll talk a little bit about filling orders, so this is gonna look a little bit different for everybody, depending on the products you sell, right? So some of you are gonna have more packaging, some of you are not, so I'm going to talk a little bit about what I do, and then we can talk about how it's going to be different for some different types of products. So the first thing who were guard lists of what you're making is make sure every product is labeled with your company name and the item number, right? Nothing goes in it without us being able to tell what is going on. So ...

for me, what that looks like because I'm not doing a hang tag is that I actually every piece of jewelry when it's getting shipped out for a wholesale order. It's going to go in a plastic bag it's super easy for me because I don't have to worry about damage but if I've got my order it's going in the plastic bag stick that in there like we're actually we're actually filling in order here I'm packing this up we got netflix on over here watching something so I've got this and then what I do is I just put these little label sheets out and I feel in my item numbers so I'll write the item number and stick that write out my bag so that's how I label I'm just because I'm not doing the hang tag if you're doing a hang tag certainly put a label on, but one of the things that you want to keep in mind is you know they're not gonna want your item night item number on there whatever final thing is going in the store right? Because they need to put their own barcode their own pricing information so that's why I like putting things in bags because then they take this out it gets their label gets there, cody gets their price and they can go from there. S so if you've got a product that's already got packaging now the case of shayla it's right now we've got two different bags of coffee, right? So it's pretty obvious what's going on with you and you're actually bar coded anyway right? Uh, you know the case with monica? You guys are gonna want to put, like, a wholesale label on your retail packaging. So maybe you're gonna put each of those in a again like a bigger plastic bag or something. It starts to feel like you're using a lot of bags and you are, but you want to make sure that things are really labeled appropriately. You also want to make sure that you don't have your contact info on anything that's going to go to the customer so stores don't love when it feels like especially your smaller galleries, your smaller boutiques, what they don't love is the idea that they sell something to the to the customer and it's got six different ways with that customer can find you so the next time they want to order, right, they go to you and they don't come back to the store. So when I'm when I'm sending out is always these little care cards on, you can see they have my name and they have my branding, but they don't have anything else. There's no website, obviously you google my name, we're going to get to the website so it's not a perfect system and that's okay, but it's not like here seven ways to get in touch with meghan while you're having her jewelry, I'm so you want to make sure that and that's starting to change, I find that that's much more of a concern with the older buyers particularly those who are still terrified of the internet is competition versus the internet his friend so it's going to vary a little bit, but my kind of like safety rule is I'll put my company name on there, I'll put my logo on there, but I'm not gonna put the website of the contact info on there. How are you branding in the stores then? How do people know it's making almond? Because it looked like that, you know somebody who doesn't know you and they're welcome by typically with jewelry when it's in a case, this store is goingto especially stores where they're trying to tell a story like that they're going to put a little bit of information they're going to d'oh aah little bio sheet or atleast my name on the display so like, if you see if I see my products in a store, it might be like a little grouping and then it typically go through something like mega nam in pennsylvania, right? Or it might have a little bit more than that, so because most of my work is getting displayed in a case the customer isn't necessarily coming up in handling it anyway it's through an interaction with the sales staff so then the sales staff is talking about the work so that's where it again it gets super important to kind of tell these stories to buyers how you're making it how you're using it because then buyers are gonna go home and tell that to the sales staff, but you can also include things like that in in your order that you're shipping like here's bio information here's a bio card here's a little fact sheet about me so that they can keep that handy because of course they've got like the case and they've got the drawers and all of those things so jewelry gets a little harder to brand if it's the kind of product that's going to go in the case and my price points typically even though I materials are expensive, my price points are high enough that it's usually in the case, so since I'd probably be on iraq, you're gonna put it you're gonna have a hang town, you're gonna have a hang tag, especially for things like hearing so it's gonna have a hang tight it's gonna go on there and that's certainly gonna have your company name logo on there, so um so we're talking about our contact information on there, but you could absolutely put your branding on there and then you're going to package items so they won't get damaged. But if you're a jeweller, you're not gonna worry about something like a retail packaging box, right? I'm not going to send my my retail boxes with this because the store is going to put it in their own retail branding some of the rest of you you are you know monica us aaron have packaging with your product his legal lauren you're going to be packaged, you know, table there was something like a greeting card it's just going in that cell oh, sleeve s oh, there's obviously there's plenty of your branding on the back of a greeting card so find out kind of what's common in your industry you know, things like candles those they're gonna have packaging you're just gonna have the hang tags again on and make sure that I'm sure you do this already. So I'm just gonna use you as an example so on the hang tag and is leaving enough space on here so that the store can put their price is there a little barcode on there so make sure you're giving your stores the room that they need on your hang tags yeah he's a very nice hank oh, and then send your shipments with tracking right? We want to know just in case something happens we want to be able to figure out where it went so it depends on value and where your shipping and how much money you've got invested so I'm not gonna lie I actually typically don't send mine with insurance because you know, ups if it gets to a certain point and it's above a dollar amount insurance, they actually you can't take it to a ups story of take it to location or you have to have a driver pick up it starts to get really complicated and my material costs are low enough that I've never had a problem knock on wood yeah, things are okay, but you guys have a lot of cost tight evan product definitely put some insurance on there because you don't want to have that problem if something goes wrong and then with the shipping question um the box that I would be shipping it in should I brand the box like I've seen like when you order amazon and threw like their boxes branded would you suggest that our army is going to cost? Yeah, I wouldn't worry about that because at the end of the day, like is going to get recycled recycled they're gonna they're gonna reuse it it's not super super critical that you're that you're branding your boxes so I mean if you were a major company and you're buying in volume yeah then start to brand your boxes absolutely and I wouldn't send a box with someone else's branding on it so like I order all my packaging stuff from you line you know, for the most part I order like standard size boxes all all my jewellery orders jewelry is so nice to shift it like six by nine by three bucks it's perfect but sometimes I do need a bigger box or I kind of forgot to reorder its not coming in the next day you know, I'm a big amazon job because I like books and I will turn those boxes inside out if I'm going to ship him to a store because I put that branding on inside so it just looks a little cleaner. Okay, um so what resource is can you provide to your stores to help them sell your products better? So we talked about like, how are they gonna brand are they gonna be able to tell the story about your product? Eso for me one of my big things is that I do the care cards so put these up on the screen so you can see him a little better um that's because you know, care is a question I mean also for me with the steal if people dunk it in water it's really bad you know why you would dunk your I was I would tell people and this is a case where you kind of tell those stories to sew for me I'm talking about the steel on people want to know how do you care for it? And I would say it's really low maintenance I just tell people no shower, no swimming pool, which might they're like, who would take about in the shower? And I'm like, I don't know it's just better safe to say that, right? So no shower, no swimming pool and then I started having tell people don't wear it to the beach all day because that's not saltwater, is not so good for it either. Let's specify a little, so I do the care cards if you don't have any particularly strong care needs, you might also do a bio card something that just tells a little bit of your artist story um, if you have any particular sales tips or training's are just things that they need to know. I mean, one of the things that we talked about with a museum store that's a little local for me we haven't done it yet is that I might come in one day. The sales have already sells a lot of it, but I might come in and talk about my product a little bit you know, something I've talked about with the buyer come in, talk about the product, talk about the materials, the processes like what I do, what the story is behind it so that the sales staff kind of hears that information so something you could offer if it makes sense but you could certainly, you know, send a little fact sheet every time you have an order with like key points about my product, right? This is what it's made out of this is where I'm located, you know, I think in anna's case you've got like, you know, these are the materials were using and we want you to know that this is, like, good for your kid it's not going to hurt them so just things that could help the sales staff talk about them maybe style resource is so lindsay, could you like a sort of mix up of, like, you know, here's some things that work really great with our favorite shade of blue? And these are things that you could also dio in an email to your store rights if you have the stores that are email list and your emailing them, you know, once a month or once a quarter, maybe you're saying hey, here's what's new and then, like here are three favorite colors to mix with that robin's egg blue, just something really simple like that um and you could certainly also do sales competitions or bonuses I know I have friends who like the end of every quarter, their best couple selling stores they sent him a little you know, coffee gift card or something like that right? Uh you don't have to do that but sometimes it's nice to like you know what you guys sell really? Well, I wantto I really wanna thank you for that here's a little here's a little something extra, but the whole idea is that, you know, as we talked about when brandy was up here, you know, I'm saying, you know, that's not selling let's, swap it out like we're all on the same team if they sell more product to you, sell more product they sell, they buy, you've sold so anything you khun dio to help empower, you know, and help them make the sale, they're gonna love you for that because just going to get so much easier, so when you're filling orders, you're going to use whatever invoicing and record keeping system works for you and we clearly we're not at a point where we're gonna tell you that's a whole other topic, right invoicing record keeping all of that. I'm gonna admit to you guys that I am super old school and I think this is maybe because, like I worked in my dad's machine shop office when I was a teenager and it was that seriously, like the invoice would come in and you mark it with this stamp of like date receive and of course there's a kid I thought all those stamps really super cool right house like received date received it received twenty times so I actually am really like paper based because it just works for my brain so I've got my orders I've got my binder you know I've got things on here someone I charge the credit card I'm going to say I'm gonna write paid and then the date when I ship it is chipped and then the date goes in my file I don't know why that works for me but it does but if you are like all digital you're on quick books maybe you know you're using some of the other programs that are out there that can help you manage inventory do what works for you and feel free to play with those systems overtime you know I'm also super visual when my inventory management the beauty of wholesale is that I don't have to carry inventory right? The whole point is you get the order, you make it so I don't do a ton of inventory management because I don't want to carry a ton of inventory inventory is money it's piles of money sitting there except I can't take inventory to the bank and pay my mortgage right? Well I don't want it sitting there is inventory so I do keep like a very visual system there too walls I should take a picture of this. I don't know why I did walls of bins, product numbers, inventory in there. I can look at a glance. You know, I don't want a ton if I have a bin that's a lot. I like talk to my production manager. Do not make any more of this, like there's. Too much in there. But my staples, I do like to have a few extra lying around, so that yeah, you know, if brandy calls me up and she wants a filling of those staples, I could just pull pull, pull that order could go out the door tomorrow. Um, so for me, it's all about visual, but again, you know, use the systems that work for you guys. And then you also want to create a system for following up after you shipped in order. So remember, we've got that prospect list. And the other side of that tab is our current accounts. So go in there and mark. Ok, this is the date of their last order. And then maybe this is what I want to follow up. So three or four weeks from now, I want to shoot them an email. Was everything okay? Do you have any problems let me know if you have any questions. So that way, they just know that you are just quit touching base and it's the kind of email that tried to word it in a way that doesn't require a response, right? Because buyers are busy. So, hey, I wanted to make sure you got the order if everything's fine, no worries if you need anything, feel free to let me know something don't feel like they have to respond and they have to deal with you. Um, you know, right if they don't wanna have to deal with you, if there's not a problem, right school and then you know, you can always follow up a little further down the road house, the order doing do we need a restock? All right, so let's, talk about now those re orders and keeping mo mentum in your wholesale business. So you want to figure out how often you're going to reach out to existing stores? Are you going to be a twice a year? They get the postcard? You know, when brandi and I did the practice, she said, I didn't know you were gonna be here. Hopefully that never happened because I want her to know where I'm gonna be because she's got the postcard, maybe even a quick email, you know, certainly if I'm gonna be doing a show. In her city I want her to know about it um so certain you know certainly like hitting them up before show season but especially if you're not doing trade shows if you're doing are doing the outreach figure out a system you know you should certainly not be going more than twice a year without hitting your stores but you know, every probably every quarter is a little bit better so every you know three or four months just checking in to see if they need anything because what happens and and stores will tell me this your line comes in it sells really well it's not in the store anymore like they sold through it and then they forget right because they sold through it and it's not sitting there anymore so if they sold through it and they've forgotten that you're there then you reach out and say hey, how that line sell my cash we're like out we totally need to order more I'm making it a point to follow through you also want to make sure that you're soliciting feedback from your stores. So when brandy came up I asked her how did things sell and I just want to know you know, I have seen buyers who like if the line doesn't sell they're like walking by a and they like don't want that doesn't help me and it doesn't help them I would rather my buyers be honest with me it just didn't really do well for our store you know what? I'm so sorry to hear that I totally understand, you know, maybe ask him a few follow up questions like what do you think it was was a price point was a material I'm not trying to get them to write another order I'm just trying to get a little information it's kind of again about honing in on what's right? So okay, that story just didn't work so either like the store wasn't right the neighborhood wasn't right may be the way they merchandise it didn't work he was trying to get that feedback and we're not taking this personally it's not like when granny says to me you know what the simpler pieces are selling well, but the big pieces didn't it's not like I'm like, but the pieces are my favorite and that means I'm like terrible in a useless designer, right? It's not that I just want to know what selling well in her store it's it's her store I want to know what's going on there and then hopefully I can get her mohr of the kind of product that's going to sell well on and if you're not seeing your buyers face to face you know, don't be afraid to just reach out, you know, eight weeks down the road, how is the line doing are things selling? Are they not selling? Is there anything I can do to help you sell the line better? So, you know, getting that feedback from source and that's another reason that I love trade shows is because it's so much easier to have unless brain he's gonna walk by and not look at me because it didn't sell it's so much easier to have that conversation in person, then to tryto pull it out through that email who in the store owner is getting two hundred emails a day, and they're spending half their time looking at that on just thinking about, you know, how can you maintain a good relationship again? I am not the like, I know people who are, like, put candy in the box and top with candy in the box like, but, you know, I said you're sore a holiday card, you know, just thinking about little things that you could do that are kind of really great for your store and helping make your buyers life a little bit easier. So what can you do to create momentum in your wholesale business? Really sit down and figure out what's gonna work for you? And again as I talked about, your eyes have to be that, like, plotting every month, their highs and lows. And if you kind of figure out how those work, you know, you can create the mo mentum and then you kind of ride out the slower months and the busier months pick up again so it's not always gonna be but it's gonna be like up and then a little down, but then it gets up a little more, and we go from there and it's also important that you figure out what you're gonna do to avoid burnout in your wholesale business. So I didn't three trade shows in a row this past winter that was killer, and then I came home and I filled some orders, and then I went to california and used my credit card points to sit by the pool at my hotel hotel in santa monica for four days, right? So figuring out where you're going to take breaks and where what you're going to do to avoid burnout, you thinking about what's your plan for maybe hiring an employee so that you're not doing all the production so that you can go to santa monica and said by the pool for four days? Right? So, you know, looking at your calendar and scheduling in those times to relax as well as those times to hit up the stores, to push so like, push, but then take breaks because if you're going to push all the time you know you're really tired it's really tired to go all the time right? All right so what are your next steps? And we're actually going to talk about the use because we're coming to the end here and what I really want for all of you to be able to dio is go out and approach a store remember we started this workshop with the idea that wholesale puts you in the driver's seat for your business you don't have to wait for stores to find you you can go out and work with them so what I want to know is what are your next steps particularly? What is the one thing that you were going to dio today if you're watching this it's pretty late we could say tomorrow morning but I always like to say today just because tomorrow turns and then the next day turned to the next day so what is the one thing you can do today to move your wholesale business forward? So I want you guys to share online but we're going to start with our in studio audience I'm start with the ana we'll go this way this time okay? Mixing it up with the uh well I kind of reference it earlier um I really just want to take a step back and re assess because I know that you know, if I want us to work with those better stores and higher caliber and bigger quantity then I need to up level and so it's really just taking a step back and really making a list of all the things that I do need to do so that's the one you know what you think is gonna be the first thing on that list my pricing awesome thing yeah and then from there my life she perfect so pricing in line sheets you've got some really concrete things that you're going to dio and I need to finish my line she and I needed it I'm giving myself till tuesday perfect perfect and I'm gonna start paying myself and do that I'm gonna increase prices and update that line sheet fantastic monica what are you guys doing? We'll go to both monica's whoever wants to whoever wants to jump in there good definitely pricing line sheet and to do research on high end boutiques awesome yeah well what are you doing? Definitely math on line work pricing lying cheat and then I went across the street during our break to get the buyers of the coffee buyers number whole foods oh, that is amazing incentive and monica is there anything else that you think you guys are gonna do right I need to also do the packaging and I'll get the postcards fantastic fantastic and so make sure you know those of you are saying pricing cause I'm sure we're gonna get that from our online audience a lot uh rip the band aid off right so don't be like I'm gonna raise my prices and then wait twenty days and then wait twenty more days and then something like I can't do my line sheet because I haven't figured out my pricing yet I want you guys to take all of the enthusiasm and all of the excitement that you've got here actually literally hit the ground running and I know that you can't actually do that cause on mythbusters they said you couldn't um but hit the ground running so give yourself those deadlines I love that tiffany was like I am going to finish that line cheat by tuesday like here it is and I'm going to get it done and if I have to stay up one night to do it I'm going to do it so that hopefully the reason that you're going to do that is through that wednesday morning you're gonna reach out to a couple stores right you're sent emails perfect perfect so we get online well it's made me about prospect sheet says sorry that's one she's but they're prospect this so that's what everybody seems busy building unless they've got to get that going on other people saying yes they've got to get there prospect this going in there one sheets yeah they're saying getting cohesive about their product lines organizing spreadsheets buyers prospect so people are getting organized so they can hit the ground fantastic! Yeah

Class Description

Selling your products at local art shows and craft fairs is a great way to network in your community, but it’s not the easiest way to grow your business. Landing your products on the shelves at boutiques or other retailers is the key to success. Join designer, educator and wholesaler Megan Auman to learn how to navigate the complex wholesale market like a pro and get your goods into stores everywhere, by learning how to sell your products to retailers. .

Drawing on her own experiences selling her products, Megan will take you step-by-step through the terminology, policies, pricing strategies, product creation and even distribution methods that you need to successfully work with retailers. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the two parts of a wholesaler’s target market: the store buyer and the eventual retail customer. Megan will also help you navigate the tradeshow landscape. You’ll gain an understanding of buying cycles, finding the right shows, designing a booth, creating and promoting your tradeshow line, and preparing line sheets and catalogs.

Whether you’re an Etsy seller who’s ready to diversify their product line, or a long-time wholesaler ready to expand, this course on selling to retailers will give you concrete, easy-to-apply tools for using wholesaling to bring your products to a larger audience.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Sample Order Form and Wholesale Terms

Trade Show List By Month

Trade Show Packing List

Private Facebook Group Access

Store Prospect List



Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

This is the first course I have bought. That's how valuable it is! I have a wish list of courses I dream of owning, but alas I'm on a 'starving' artist budget. I wish I had more time to watch all the free courses on CREATIVELIVE. I WISH I could 'save' a once for free watch time. they aren't 'conveniently' timed. And there are reasons I don't buy w/o seeing what the course entails vs. cost etc. I might buy more if I was able to do such. There are so many I am interested in but time constraints for watching it or catching a re-run are really prohibitive. I won't buy 'blind' and funds are limited. So I must be selective in choosing what to buy. It has to fulfill multiple requirements for me personally. Perhaps others have this dilema and CL could work on that. Or hey, maybe everyone just has more $ than they know what to do with. That said I am astonished that there are only 2 reviews that are lukewarm at best. This course crosses over so many platforms that whether or not I am ever intending to sell to retailers (which I have zero interest in) it is jammed so heavy with idea's and info on how to expand your mind and creative thinking processes that it's inspired me into action!!! My brain is on fire. Thank you Megan! I'd shave my head to own everything that Sue Bryce has taught. Megan is in that league of sharing insider info that is impossible to put a price on! I was only able to listen to a small percentage of Megan's free class, but it was enough to know that it was pure GOLD! Such Inspirational and visionary idea's are dense in this course. I also have sitting next to me two bags of coffee from one audience member! I think Creativelive is the #1 most amazing source I could ever hope to find and I still can't get over the steller excellence of the team that runs this. I live 4 hrs from Seattle (on a good day) and crave to be in an audience...but I love watching from my forest hideaway! The glitchiness in streaming during this course was annoying. I have broadband and multiple browsers to avail upon but there's something afoul in the air possibly because each browser had issues. Either audio was not working or visual was not working. I had to open 2 browsers. One for hearing and one for seeing. I hear from other brick and morters that make me think it is/was statewide. I will put the blame on Century Link because that was the common denominator. I'm following through on that one. They have been quirky ever since they took over Qwest. I'll end with major kudo's for the fantastic offerings that CREATIVELIVE has given to creative's everywhere! My life was changed when I stumbled on this tremendous opportunity. I am so forever grateful!

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This is the perfect class for me! Was looking for this kind of information about doing trade shows and getting in to retail stores and found driblets of info here and there online. But, this is the whole deal and real deal. I think Megan is an AWESOME teacher and find her so easy to connect with. I love that she is funny and engaging and she clearly cares about the studio audience. She's a talented metalsmith and talented teacher. The information she gives in this course is so so so valuable. I feel like after going through this course and having it as reference I will be so ready and confident with taking my jewelry business to the next level. She makes it so approachable and breaks everything down. Thank you Megan!!


Absolutely fantastic! Meg's course was one of, if not THE, most comprehensive and educational pieces I've seen in a long time. The knowledge she shared was dead on, inspiring and very, very generous and gracious of her. Meg presented the materials very well and the added bonuses were...well, just awesome! I've followed her blog for a long time and now I'm a fan of her classes. I'll be taking/buying more! Thank you SO much, Meg and Creative Live! 10 out of 5 stars for this class! - Ronda