Finding the Right Stores
So we are going to keep moving right through this workbook today because we have a lot to cover and if you want to pull that out we are starting on page nineteen but first I just want to give a little recap of what we did yesterday because we had some big moments in our first session, right guys so huge takeaway is what were some of your favorite takeaways from yesterday? We'll start over here with anna um honestly my biggest takeaway, wass said in the last thirty minutes of the session yesterday and you said not to focus on what your customers can afford but to focus on like what did these people prioritize because whether I've made this much money or this much money I've there's been things that I'm willing to spend my money on and I'm not willing to give up so it's really about communicating to the thes people like yes, I am relevant and I'm necessary and these products will she'll how about you? What was your takeaway of the mindset shift? My mind was just going front back, you kno...
w? Oh my god and it was it wasn't just one thing it was just everything that you encompass and everything you've been telling us and it was definitely the mindset because that's where it starts yeah, thank you you're welcome so yes so what we really did to start as we laid a foundation for your wholesale business. So even though at the end, what we're talking about is selling to retailers in those first couple of segments, we really focused on getting everything right, and that means first and foremost pricing we had dive into that pricing stuff. I know it starts up a little grueling with that math, but I think eventually we got there and we got to that point where everyone realized prices have to go up, but it doesn't have to be so scary on dh. Then we went and we talked about who your ideal retail customer is, because even though we're selling two stores were still thinking about that retail customer and knowing that person, we created some fantastic profiles yesterday. So knowing that person is really going to help us as we move forward thinking about what kinds of stories we want to reach out to. So before we dive into finding those stores because I know everyone wants to know how to do that, I just want to remind everyone so everyone is watching this and you might be coming from some very different places so you might already have a product line and maybe you're selling on etsy, or maybe you're struggling to sell online somewhere. This workshop definitely can help you move forward because part of what we're talking about is when you can reach out to stores, you get to control your income. We're not waiting for customers to find us anymore. We're going out and finding them. Maybe you are only thinking about starting your product line. You're kind of in the development stages. I know we had a lot of people in the first session with that business school of quit your day job, right? All you quit your day job is out there. We're watching this definitely for you, even if you haven't launched that product line yet, this could be really helpful because it's going to put you in that right position, you don't have to struggle through, you know, having those prices that are low to begin with, you know, tiffany talked about her struggles, if if I'd only raised my price is a couple of years ago how much easier things would have been, so if you start out, you know, kind of thinking from the beginning, I'm gonna sell the retailers I want to make that profitable it's gonna put you in such a better position on dh I know some of you tuning in, or maybe already selling to retailers or you're thinking about selling to retailers and this is where we're going to kind of get into the meat in these upcoming segments because we're going to help you make sure your line sheet looks great, we're going to figure out how to find more stores to sell your product on dh then we're going to talk about really how to sell your work. So how are you going to dive in and actually talk about your work in a way that's going to engage buyers and get them to make the purchase? So we've got a ton of good stuff happening here and just a reminder a lot of this stuff, especially in this segment that you're going to see it's going to feel like it's very us focused and that's simply because that's where I'm based, but the beauty of selling two stores is that you can do this from anywhere in the world, and it doesn't matter where you are and where your stores are. So if you're watching from australia but you know that your customers live in the u s, selling two stores is a perfect thing for you because you can go ahead and pitch those stores reach out to those stores without trying to hit all that us audience one toe one or maybe you're in the u s and you're thinking I'd really love to sell the europe any of that's applicable, so just because some of the examples that I'm giving you feel little us focused, I promise you you can make this work for anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world. So what we're going to do now is we're going to talk about how to use what you learned about your ideal customer tto find stores that fit your product, so we created some great ideal profile ideal customer profiles and we're going to take those and now we're going to figure out how to research stores and build our list because as I mentioned, what I really love about selling wholesale is you don't have to wait for stores or even customers to find you you can reach out to them. Do you guys feel like that? If you're selling online like you're just sitting around waiting for your customers toe, how are they gonna find me? I hope they find me today we're gonna talk about we're gonna go out, we're going to find the stores and we are going tio then eventually pitched them already ready for that. So that's gonna be great it's gonna put you in control of your income so before we talk about actually sitting down looking at some of those customer profiles we did and researching your specific stores, I want to talk about the different types of stores that you might encounter because one of the things I see when people come in to wholesale is most of us think about big box department store because that's, what a lot of us are familiar with, right? It's what we see, those are the people who are spending the advertising money, so we're thinking, uh, right, I want, you know, I want answers, anthropology are a neiman marcus or I want those kinds of stores on, and if you are a solo mate, ikar starting off trying get into those stores can be a little more headache and do thing than actually fun, eh? So we're going to talk about some of the other types of stores. The other question I got a great question online that I had actually seen earlier, where they were asking, you know, what kind of volume should I expect? Do I have to worry that I'm going to have to make hundreds or thousands of something? And so, as we're looking at these types of stores, what you'll find is that, you know, as a small maker, as a small business as an independent artist, you're not trying to get into the stores that are doing crazy volume you're looking for those small boutiques, those small galleries, those little shops. Because they're going to be ordering a volume that it's completely manageable for you, it's not going to be overwhelming, you're gonna be ableto handle those, and then eventually, some of you might have those aspirations to step up to those bigger stores, and we'll talk a little bit about that, too. So, for lack of a better way to divide it, I kind of split things up into small, medium and large stores, not perfect categorization by any means, but it seemed like a good a good enough for our purposes. So when I think of a small store, what I simply think of is one location usually owned by an individual, or maybe a family, you know, I see a lot of like couples doing the buying, or maybe two friends coming in together, and in the case of our small stores, the owner is typically also the buyer and that's really important to understand, and we're really lucky that in our next segment, we're actually gonna have two fantastic guests is here with us, and they fall into this category, so they are the owners of their stores, but they also serve as the buyer. They're the ones who are responsible for finding the products, managing the budget, and at the end of the day, what's important to remember here is that they're spending their money and so they're very aware of that they're not buying with somebody else's budget they're buying with their own money so that does I think especially in the beginning make them think a little differently how they're going to spend their money on than someone who says, you know, who's just working as a buyer gets the budget from their boss and then has to go out and make decisions. So within these small stores there is a ton on dh so what you're going to start to think about is which of these might apply to you and again these air pretty big generalities not everything is going to fit into this category, but you're going to see a lot of like what I would call gift and lifestyle stores a really good example of that. This is my friend sarah shop occasion et it's on passion kev in philadelphia really great store she just had her first birthday not that long ago for the store, not her just so we're clear she's like a baby, a baby retailed savant when gabby fantastic like she'd be all over it. So sarah does a lot of gift pieces, so she's got a lot of gifts allot of homegoods greeting cards kind of everything you need for either new homeowners or your friends or new homeowners or maybe your friends are having babies she does a lot of that in her store so that definitely fits into that what I would call the gift in lifestyle store and some of these stores certainly specialized more than others you know sarah joke to me that I think we're turning into a greeting card store I didn't do it on purpose but that's what's happening so you might get stores that are very specifically ah stationery store or I would say even a small store that maybe carries on ly kitchen products so there might be some specialization or they might just really focus on that kind of gift category and sarah does carry a few other things too she's got a little jewelry collection she's got a you know she's got a few things because the store is kind of new she's still feeling out her inventory so she's willing to take some chances and kind of try so then we might also have a boutique so boutique is I think what we think of more we think of fashion so they're going to carry a handful of clothing lines, some accessory lines, shoes, bags, that kind of thing. So one of the things teo I would say kind of keep in mind is that just because you make something like jewelry or accessories doesn't mean that the boutiques are necessarily the best fit for you I think for some for some one for someone like tiffany for sure boutiques are really great fit I think for some of your products for me they're not so great I don't tend to do as well on that boutique market I actually tend to fit more in that gift in lifestyle category, so and this is something you'll learn is you kind of develop when you start I have to say when I started I probably reached out to a lot more boutiques and then I realized my product just didn't sell there, so don't limit yourself in the beginning throw things out you know, shayla you think beauty could carry coffee like him up let's try and see on the we'll move from there so uh and then specialty again or those stores that are really kind of focusing so they might just be a baby and kids store or that kitchen store s o you know, figure out what the kind of niches are that your products fit into because chances are there are probably some specialty stores that are really just carrying that um and then the last category that I put in here are like kraft or art galleries, so for those of you who are not manufacturing the products, you're really in that maker category there's a lot of places that are looking for hand made, you know, there's a lot of handmade in the u s stores there's a lot of just handmade stores I'm sure if we went teo you know whether it's australia or places in europe they've got some stores that are really focusing on craft to um and then once that are kind of functioning more is an art gallery or even a gallery for contemporary jewelry this is my friend heidi's shop heidi low she is in rehoboth beach, delaware and what heidi is is heidi is a contemporary art jewelry gallery, so she's got a staple of artists that she works with but she always is doing these rotating exhibitions as you can see it's like the cubist tiniest space ever it's adorable so you know heidi is doing this and you know, I talked to you yesterday about the wholesale versus consignment thing and I mentioned that I have a very, very small handful of stores that I do consign too, because they work on that model. Heidi is one of those stores, so but it's the kind of place that carries a great calibre of work, it really kind of elevates my business to be there s o that's why I work with her not all of your art craft galleries are going to consign I work with lots of stores who would identify themselves as craft galleries and they all purchase so don't feel like just because something falls into the gallery category that you have to be moved into that consignment peace and for those of you who may be miss that segment consignment is when stores don't buy you give them the work and we don't like that most of the time we don't like that we want them to pay us and then that motivates them to sell the product so there's a pretty big range in small stores and personally I find small stores fantastic to work with you really build this relationship with the buyer, but because the buyers also the owner there very involved in typically selling and being on the show on the sales floor, so then they are really kind of very directly taking your product to the customer, which is really fantastic and it's a great way to start because they can also turn around and give you really immediate feedback on what selling and what's not selling and you might not get that from a bigger store they might just say it didn't work, so I always found with my small stores it's totally easy to come up and say how that line work out what sold what didn't and it gives you some great feedback so as you can see, I really do love my small stores then there are what I would call mid size stores thes air not stores that are huge by any means, but I would put them into the category of either maybe having a couple of locations so now they're not just in one space, maybe they've had some success, then they opened up a second store. I have a store that is, um, actually two stores in the boston area that's a husband and wife team one manages one store, one manages the other. They like to do a little bit of friendly competition to see who can sell better. It's awesome. They're one of my favorite stores, for sure, so you might have that or you might also just have a larger single location. If anyone is familiar with abc home in new york city really fantastic home store, they carry a whole mix of lifestyle products. This is a it's, a big space it's you know, I think it's six floors or so in the flatiron district of new york, and so they even though it's one store it's big enough that they have multiple buyers, multiple departments happening. So typically what we start to see in mid size stores is that the buyers are not always the owner and they're not always the sales staff. So in that example, I mention of the two stores in boston, they're the buyers and the owners, but there's two stores and they're not always on the sales floor. They're not kind of managing as much by themselves anymore, but you might also see that now the store is big enough, it's got the owner, the owners got budgets and then they've hired someone to work as a buyer so you might be dealing with a buyer or multiple buyers who are not the owner of the store. And so what happens is that buyer is working with someone else's money, so they have slightly different considerations. Obviously, at the end of the day, hopefully they all have budgets, they all have to think about that, but when you're looking at these stores where the buyer might not be the owner, their budgets are going to be a little more fixed because the owner is saying this is how much we have to spend this is when we need to spend it by and they're moving from there, so it is important to kind of keep in mind that they're not always it's not their money anymore, so they're making decisions a little differently. Of course they make decisions badly that could be their job so it's not like they're cavalier with that money. So some of the things that you might see I count museum stores into this midsize store range even though some of them might be quite small, the reason I put them in here is because they fall into that category of buyer is not the owner they're working with someone else's budget um unfortunately, that moment is closed right now but actually they're museum store is still open in a satellite location on their finn fantastic example of a great museum store and so museum stores are actually a huge buyer. When I started in my wholesale business, I had no idea that people bought jewelry and museum stores I didn't actually know that people bought anything a museum stores other than postcards and books probably cause that was all I bought a museum stores I wanted the things that looked like the art but it turns out that museum stores they fall into that category of where we talked about that need I want a non cheesy souvenir for my vacation right museum stores helped fill that need especially the more contemporary ones so they could be a really great source for um you know, for your business then we've also got like I said, um you know, local or regional chains chain being an easy way to describe anything that's going to be more than one store so it could be two stores it could be five stores it could be even twenty stores then start see a little bigger but somewhere in there we're hitting that mid size, you know? So this is a good example this is a store called trove they have their very much a lifestyle store they have two locations one in d c and one in baltimore so they've got to locations, they've got buyers that are working for them, you know, they're not the owner, they're working with someone else's money, um, and so they're buying, they might not buy so much more than some of the small stores, but they definitely operate on a slightly different system. And then, as I mentioned, we also have those, um, you know, single location stores like the abc home that's just really big. One of the things that really differentiates thes stores is because the buyer is not the owner you might see more buyer turn over. So one of the things that's really important about wholesaling we're going to stress this in these upcoming segments is that it actually becomes a relationship business. You get to know the buyers, the buyers get to know you that's, really, because you're all actually on the same side. Everyone wants to sell product to the customer. Everyone wants to find great things, hit those retail customers really surprise and delight them everybody's on the same team. So you really start to build relationships with buyers in our small store scenarios and where our buyers are also the owners, you don't see that turn over, if anything, almost always it's the store closes, there are rare exceptions, and we're actually gonna have one of those when we have our guests later, but for the most part the buyer is the owner and they're they're in these midsize stores near the museum stores, those smaller chains, the buyer is not the owner and so it's a job people come in, people leave there's a little bit more turnover. Um, you know, I know in the museum store world, you actually tend to see a lot of turnover where they hop like they'll be at one museum store, then he moved to another museum store, maybe in a different city, so you get a little bit more of that turnover, and so that is something that you have to think about us sometimes that relationship changes, and it may change how much the store is selling of your product. It may change how much they're buying. So these mints eyesores are really fantastic, but they might not always give you the consistency of a small store that's been in business for a really long time and the owner is the buyer. So I think it's really important to recognize that you can build a thriving wholesale business just with these first two categories of stores and that's really where I have focused my business, and for those of you starting out, this is the place you want to be these small, dim inside it's yours they're a little more forgiving of you in the beginning when maybe you're still putting your line she together you're still trying stuff up they're used to working with new or emerging designers they don't have all the policies that we're gonna talk about with those big stores or big chains so they really become the stores that conform the backbone of your wholesale business so when we're talking about looking for stores in the segment I really want you to focus on those first two questions coming in online are we good? We've got people sort of waking up but it's nowhere they're joining us from in the world great to have you with us today we'll be giving you shout outs later on but for now everyone's really really getting engaged fantastic all right so let's talk about those large stores for a minute because as I said I know a lot of you come in and you think about this is maybe what I want I want the anthropology I want I want the nordstrom's I want those places um and they absolutely exist and they absolutely kava a huge buying volume they have huge power they have deep pockets on dso there are definitely some advantages to thinking about them you know? So this we're talking about multiple locations multiple buyers typically it becomes a corporate system so there's buyers there's hierarchy there's budgets, there's deadlines and there's also longer lead times so a small store midsize store, they're going to come in and you know, they might want the order in a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and we'll talk about when we set your wholesale policies. What a good lead time for you is because when you're working with those small to midsize stores, you can be in much more control of that. You can say this is how long it takes me to make my product. This is what I need this is when I can deliver with these larger stores, they tend to be working more on they've got their deadlines, they've got their budgets, they've got they're buying times, so to sell to them, you get less flexibility, you have to work within their boundaries again. I don't want to scare people off from this, because if you really wanna have that kind of high volume business, you can certainly go after this and there is definitely money there. But I think for most of you guys watching, where were in this sort of small, you know, whether you're making things or even if you are manufacturing, I think the people in our front row here who are manufacturing are doing it in really small batch kind of sustainable ways, so those small to midsize boutiques. Are going to work so much better for the ways that you guys are producing your product so it's a great place to start and as I said, they can absolutely be, you know, the backbone or one hundred percent of your wholesale business, and there are plenty of those small to midsize stores out there, so, you know, those large stores, we're gonna have department stores, we're gonna have umm, you know, the national and international chains catalogs typically fall into this, but also large online stores, so we're going to talk more about online stores in a minute. But, you know, this is becoming obviously a bigger area, and it is becoming a bigger area in wholesale, where you have these large online kind of one stop shop for one stop within a category web sites, and they are definitely buying products, so I would put them in here because they have a lot of the same rules and restrictions. And I know monica that's something you guys have been talking. Teo cem, a website about where you're kind of starting to see that they have very specific peace is that they want. So I want to talk about just some of these specific things that, um, that you might see from these bigger stores just so thatyou're aware. Because I don't want to be blindsided and this jail, it said before, we don't want anyone to be taken advantage of so it's important to kind of understand some of the things that you're going to see, so we'll talk so much more about order writing, but when you were working with small to mid size stores, you're going to write in north right in order, they've seen your terms. If you're taking the order in person, they're going to sign off on it, but that's pretty much it there's no contracts there's really no legalese that's happening when we get to working with these larger stores, you bet there's contracts, you bet there's a lot of complicated stuff and it's going to come from them. So any time you're gonna work with these bigger stores, they're goingto have vendor contracts that are going to come to you on dso you need to be aware of that they're absolutely the kind of thing that I would never just sign. He would send that over to your lawyer, for sure, but they're going to expect you to sign those vendor contracts. Typically with these bigger stores, you're also going to need teo, get your products bar coded. Um, I know shayla that you did that, right you to that process and you got your products bar coded. Uh, but for most of us, who are in that kind of small maker thing, we're not doing that it's not worth it. I don't have my products bar coded because every small store they have their own pos that's point of sale, they've learned point of sale system, they have their own inventory management system, they're putting their own bar codes on things, so but when you get to these bigger stores, you're gonna have to deal with the barcoding yourself before you you fulfill the order. Some of them also have something that's called buybacks. So what happens is in your contract, it'll say if a certain amount of product doesn't sell, you're responsible for buying it back at the end of the season or the end of the year. So obviously, if you're a small maker, that could be pretty killer, right? That's a that's a pretty scary thing on dh certainly, you know, if you got a contract and it's got a buyback policy that you don't agree with, don't sign it, negotiate for sure. Um, you know, I don't want you guys to ever get that contract and think, oh, like I have to do this part of this is, too, because I don't want you guys to feel like anyone store or anyone chain is going to make or break your business is right. You don't want to get into that mentality, there are lots of stores, there are lots of places that you can sell and yes, maybe one of those big names would be really nice, but when you start to get into that, I need this for my business. It sets up a really co dependent relationship that I don't want you guys to be in, so certainly, you know, if these stores are important to you, I want you to think about it, but I also want you to feel like you have the power to negotiate that contract, to talk to your lawyer, to try to at least get the terms, feeling a little more equitable to you because you do have that power and you will always walk away from the deal. All right? So there are a few other things we didn't talk about in terms of types of stores, but this is where we can start to get a little bit creative. So when we talked about tiffany's ideal customer profile danielle, right, that was her name, so one of the places that danielle and why don't give us, like, two seconds rundown on danielle she's. She's in san francisco she's a lawyer she shops locally she right frequents boutiques and spas right? So one of the things that we talked about with danielle is that you know she cares about her hair and her style and pampering yourself a little bit so she's spending some time in spas but she's a busy lawyer she's got a lot going on so wouldn't be fabulous if all she was in that spot she could pick up a new pair of earrings that tiffany designed so you can start to think about with these you know, with your ideal customer types where do you see them shopping? So you know, with me I talked about susan who was my interior designer from the boston area she's shopping at you know those lifestyle stores, those craft galleries you in her neighborhood maybe she's popping in before she gets drinks at the restaurant next door? Uh bernice she's, my hip grandma she's hitting those museum stores like that's where she is she wants something cool from her trip a little bit funky but still, you know, totally wearable. So she is shopping there s so you start to think about where those customers are and the types of stores that they might be shopping that um and that's what I'd love for you guys to share right now and we'll start with our in studio audience what do you think the types of stores are that your customers are likely to shop in? They don't be specific stores yet just thinking about you know are they small boutiques? Are they those kind of mid sized places? Where do you see your customers shopping? Myka definitely at a specialty baby store where they were going to go and spend a grand to two grand on a crib you know somewhere where they're going to just be over the top luxury baby item so suddenly they're spending one hundred dollars you see, I just move your prices they're spending one hundred dollars on your clutch doesn't seem like such a big expense totally jacket onto that couple thousand dollar crib totally fantastic taylor where your customers shopping um see, my customers are the urban creative professionals so they'll do maybe yoga, yoga studios, boutiques and uh probably like a concert hall do you think you know that your customers are also frequenting their local coffee shop and then maybe they want to take a bag home? There are still nearly coffee shop yet awesome. Yes, definitely. Warren I would say that they're kind of like headed to a street like they're not going to a specific store, but they're going out with their excuse me with their roommates, their girlfriends, whatever um and and kind of cruising of fun hip street awesome so they're kind of making shopping a little bit of like a girl's dead totally very cool monica any other places that you see your guys customers in? Um no really the budget the high end boutiques is really what I think awesome we should go for I'm thinking boutiques and maybe some gift lifestyle places something where they have like a more close interaction with sales staff yeah, I think years we're definitely gonna hit craft galleries to you know, they're looking for those kind of interesting and different object what they're thinking about you know I want something that's going to reflect me and reflect who I am and I think that a lot of the craft galleries do a good job of communicating that idea to their audience like here's where you find a unique piece that reflects you and that's what you're trying to get with your customers so I could see that being a good a good area for you as well and also I saw bernie's yesterday when I went seriously it was bernie she's like in her mid sixties had a glass of wine little bob big earrings like that's megan's burning thes profiles really do work you see them, you spot them and you will find them overtime I love it tiffany boutiques yeah, yeah and then you're also gonna hit that spot hair salon? Yeah those as well you know can't can't hurt right? So do some of that for sure yeah small locally owned I think is important boutiques um kind of like what you said lauren about the street thing because I think it's I think the aunties and mamas and friends that are shopping for my stuff are also like kind of looking for a well there they they might not just be shopping for the little one, but they're kind of creating a whole thing and then also the small timid size where they can ask the questions they need what size do we need? What color works? You know what? Air the care instructions so something where they're going to get on a higher level of service and be able to get all their questions answered and tastic yeah, I definitely see yours at like those gift in lifestyle, you know, my friend sarah store occasion at that I talked about that's a perfect fit for you and that's that same kind of thing where it's on passionate avenue and they're trying to develop that street into a destination so you're not just stopping in to one store they've got a couple different stores, they're really trying to work on building that neighborhood it's it's an up and coming place in philly you know they're building that they're starting to get some restaurants and coffee shops a bunch of different stores in there so I think you're both right and hitting that like they're coming out to check out the whole street they're going to stop and get coffee and become a little thing but they also are going to pop into a store like that because they need the housewarming gift or they need the baby gift for sure so awesome when we get online responses online chuckle girl says online store groovy boutiques museums, yoga studios, lifestyle stores, mom and pop shops that seems to be the general trend doesn't it doesn't mean it's not entirely clear what business people are in but funky boutiques, galleries, museum stores is the same thing that's coming up everybody nobody sort of it seems to be targeting and perhaps on off better known retailers the bigger retails I'm curious because I would expect is some people to have said things like amazon etcetera or other online sellers but that hasn't come up a little yeah and I think that part of that too is just because so many of us and our online I says we're selling from our own online retailers so it's it's kind of easy to think okay I want to get my products into stores and I think to know if you're already selling online what I've realized in my business and I think what you guys will start to realize you do this is there something about putting your products into physical stores because people can touch them. They khun try them. They really get a sense of it. And the only other way to replicate that is through those retail craft shows, the rain that we don't really want to do anymore, right? We want to move on from those.