Sell Your Products to Retailers

Lesson 14 of 31

Inside the Buyer's Mind Q&A

 

Sell Your Products to Retailers

Lesson 14 of 31

Inside the Buyer's Mind Q&A

 

Lesson Info

Inside the Buyer's Mind Q&A

You know I want to turn it over teo our in studio audience and obviously we want our online people toe start sending in those questions too so monica go ahead so you ve said you'll review product you might be like I love it but I'm not ready to do it right now and you kind of table it yeah is it okay for us to like come back maybe six months later you perceive that it's pushy what do you what do you guys prefer law talking like way but yes you should definitely follow follow up because we get so many and we might forget about it you know I want a lawless definitely and I tell people to follow up with mei I'm like I'm busy and crazy like I like what you're doing just write me in two months I'm used to months yeah yeah I'll just like it just depends on where I feel like I am with the buying schedule because sometimes I will schedule things for a couple of months out so yeah as long as like you know a month or two but I might state it but even if you did follow up in a month I wouldn't th...

ink that that's pushy if I already said that I was interested okay awesome thank you who else shall here buying schedules or you're buying cycles you have a cycle I don't weigh get stuff all day long every day I I'm trying to get a little bit better because I do have clothing and so I do have to think a little seasonal just because that's how so many designers are even though I rather not I kind of want to spy when I feel like it but with people that are not making themselves and they do have, you know, production you do have to like work with that so I mean, like I said every week I'm looking for new stuff and I don't usually buy too far out it's usually it's constant about like I have things scheduled for july for clothing I have things already scheduled already done through december right now that's low yeah doing is the friend you kind of have to the only schedule I really have is for the holidays and believe me, I've already started buying yes, I've bought calendars and I'm but I think the reps would come and like they're having a sale you get five percent off the top everybody's putting those counters out for the stationery show it's right? So um and also about like holiday cards already sorry have you bought any food drive? Good um no, that that usually is pretty instant because it's perishable so that's easy you know, just so for all holiday stuff this is my second holiday, so I'm still learning from max tio it's a weird weird class to be in because you're like how do I think about december when it's right now it's summer I'm actually working on it next month but I've already started thinking about like one of the special things we're going to do and then I'm basically going to write out categories emilie I want to fill these all and this is so this would be a good time to start contacting buyers thank you because that's the orders they're going to place that are bigger because yeah you got any more of your give show sergeant august so they have a holiday stuff there to um basically all the shows are starting now yeah give shows the summer gift shows air july august typically it's and then that's when we buy and so when I'm going to capsule in september I'm thinking about spring yeah it's so immense it wait a little longer lead it's so annoying when you think about it now like the people who are making it think about it like wayne crazy when I had a clothing line I was doing four seasons at once I would be producing one so I remember doing spring delivering spring manufacturer producing summer um december with solid earth fall is selling and then getting the fabric swatches for holiday in one day like that was crazy to think teo is in retail summer is this lois yes, part of the year so well that I would say a few exceptions if you're in a very resort area you guys apparently for like the super to see you like I have some cape cod massachusetts stores that summer is all all you get yeah actually though I think because you lancia and yeah, it means no one so I don't necessarily think about too many san francisco things because I that's just but I will find a few things that seem that would be good for a tourist so I'm always on the hunt for something that was really good and unique that would be you know that if they can bring back yeah, because so much tourism that's crazy but lindsay good uh see both mentioned searching an instagram I'm just curious how you do so search on incident products on there like hashtag ing or just I just fought like I follow so many people and they follow so many people also I mean, I feel in our world there's definitely a community feeling um so itjust stems from there. Yeah, I um I usually just do the same thing where I kind of it's kind of like being online where a link takes you to a link takes you to the link and so I don't want to follow everybody knows at this point my actual friends are like we know when you decide to look at our page because you like everything, I don't see what she doing. I don't see my friend's stuff anymore because it's purely now a business account, and I don't feel like having a personal account, whatever every concede, my cats and yeah, but yes, uh, so usually I just like I was saying earlier, I just screamed shot things that I like, and so my photo album and my phone is crazy, it's just like screenshots of all sorts of different products or ideas when you knew you every time do you ever have not to go back to my problem? I have all these things that e t o go on a picture and I'm like you wholesale, and then I just wait for them to contact like teo do a lot of like, do you wholesale? O r if you do like this is my email, so then I don't have to like deal with it. That's the only thing I kind of wish that instagram, but I mean instagram is supposed to be this thing, but sometimes I wish that it was a little bit easier to connect maxim, bring it into the next yes and sort of I guess you could direct message, I don't know, I don't come you no, I don't know you comment. You can't no, you khun send wreck things? No, you can yes, so but I think it's like a photo they sought to sign so you can wake the russians from our online audience because I'm sure they've got some oh yes, um all right, so we have topics ranging from your preferences around social media too. Uh, trade shows, just like so I'm just going toe this will be just sort of fire style let's see, do you meet with sales reps? Simon, emerging designer and I have an opportunity to work with a sales rep who reps for a larger rep company. Do you think this is a good way to go or would you advise against it when my store was smaller? Not really, but now that our traffic is so high, I feel like sales reps help me because then they introduced me to other brands as well that they have um, so I have a few I don't that's not my main um look buying thing and I I don't know it because I've been on the opposite end of being a designer reps can take a lot of a big percentage and you want to make sure that that's financially worth of for you in the beginning, I think that if you're still beginning it's probably better just kind of tried to on your own first I personally just on a designer no, but I personally only deal with maybe two to three reps aye, they're fine but I much rather have a personal connection with the artists were designer now some people ask in terms of connecting are there specific maybe chat forms or websites et cetera where you go to to communicate with store buyers or to look for different products to sell or do you wait for them to come to you it's so I feel like it's so no, I don't I don't have like of a specific log I always go to it's just whatever I find that like whatever comes to me and tell me follow it because I think maybe they might also be asking out something really specific wishes are you going to say like any of the online wholesale platform whether it's whether it's like wholesale crafts, dot com or any of those places I d'oh wholesale etc okay um I have actually a few uh businesses are companies that I was just doing ordering directly through um pryor and then they're like, oh nazi wholesale so then I discovered that and I actually found a good handful of people threw wholesale etc which I feel like has kind of weeded out some of like craziness of etc I don't do it always but I do find it kind of using that word around at city hall so I've never ordered but people have sent me links to their wholesale patients pretty so I can look at it is it? Yeah because you're just like done done ok tonight and like your information's already in there in your credit card and everything so he just and then it tells you when it's shipping so I do like the use of it and I don't have to like wonder what's going on with an order or a lot of times you email in order and then you just have no idea what it's gonna happen with it or when you're going to get it so I do actually think that I'm suggesting wholesale uh see and if you don't do that if you have if you have a website and you have a separate shopping cart for wholesale orders that I love that because I don't have to email you my order I just and I see the pictures I see everything click click pay with my credit card done the easier you make it for us is the more inclined will be to order and the order are you guys happier paying with a credit card as opposed to getting the invoice you so you would rather pay upfront as it posted dealing with authority because it's one less bill to pay for me? Yes, because it takes so much time to pay invoices have to go today and credit card. I mean, I also paid that, like that's, kind of the thirty ryo on when it falls in the month. Yeah, it all depends. I'm for the most part, I just rather just pay and then I don't have to worry about it. It's definitely, uh, like I said earlier, fine balance of figuring out, like how much you're buying each month, and sometimes you're like way too much money and watch the bill because it's crazy like for busy stores, so much money is coming in, but so will everything I mean, today I'm like, I don't think I made it. No, I make nothing but on paper it's crazy because it's like the thousands air just going back and forth. So it's nice when I pay upfront when I have the cash, but there's certain amount of times to do it because the cash flow is important because payroll on rent. So you want to make sure I have money for that? Yeah. So, um I prefer credit card too, but for a few things I do not thirty because it is sometimes nice men like actually have that money, I'm just gonna wait. I want to be wholesalers asking should we asshole sellers be willing to send free samples of our products to retailers and if yes should we send first and follow up with emails phone calls or should we do an initial contact wait so people would email me and sometimes I would ask for a sample if it's something that I need to look or smell like if it's a lotion or a candle that helps but the they pile up oh and what you shouldn't and it cost a lot of money right so you shouldn't send me mad and and and what I say especially if they're small I'm like can you send us a sample if we end up carrying it? I'll pay for it if we don't carry it I will send it back you do the same thing because I just feel like you're you know or maybe the way your product or if you do that you should maybe just send a return postage that would be really really where I like I don't like it in there but you certainly don't send them unsolicited they don't already know stuff to deal with it piles up and nobody sending return postage especially if it was requested to look at it I think would be good best way to contact time capsule is asking is there is there a best day that you prefer to contact stores? What are the dead guys dead days are on there any it doesn't matter we'll just contact you wear no that days, but don't call the store and I sat on a weekend that no weakens our now and you have both are definitely like email over phone people for I am no time whenever I answered the phone it's like hey you, the buyer and I'm like no kala gator thirties asking do you respond to each to each submission? No, we haven't auto reply that says that's too yeah that we we look at everything, but we cannot reply to everybody I literally get I used to for years I would go through each one, I would respond in person and you're like, thanks so much. And then I realized as much as it was nice to be able to do that, I I was wasting a lot of my time. You can only do so much e I know we have a few more questions from our in studio audience we're goingto shayla, then we'll come over to you. Lindsay uh, quick question with the products that you guys retail. Um, what value has your customers expressed from the product that you said we've been learning about value, so I'm just curious like, I'm custom I walking into your store, the product that you have on your shelf what value has that would have brought back to me? What are they saying that they love about what you've got that kind of thing? I mean, we get we get so many different comments, which is great because I usually pass them on to a lot of the designers like I want the designers to get to know about like, what people are saying, ah ah lot of people, I mean there's a lot of cause I also are objects that people will be like, what e one thing, but actually my favorite just walking to the store and being like, what is this thing like it's a store you make all of this I favorite one. My response is really very good panting like I'm prolific, I think that, um, most people are like they they really liked knowing that a person made it and they're coming to our stores knowing that that's the kind of the kind of store where you're going to find something and they want to know the story. We have lots of stories like we have these tote bags where I love to talk about how it's, an oakland based designer, and she works with indigenous women in oaxaca and they're all hand dyed like people want to know all the processes and because I'm also a maker and I'm obsessed fall that as well we will and my employees are really going to like we just like talk everyone's ear off so I love to know as much information from the designer artist about what went into it so the more that we can talk about because for me I don't want to just be like pushing a bunch of products that I don't care about I I feel a connection with them and I also feel like we're in a society where there's so much stuff so I think that it's it's it should be more about buying less but buying things that you have a relationship with and so I want to be that key to create that relationship between the story object and the person that is going to be buying it. Some kind of lindsay had a question too. I'm curious about how you feel about getting tangible male like if a designer sent you a postcard with just like a brief note like that okay, getting letters god stationery show way was it on instagram facebook I'm like on the season it was crazy this year they're like outdoing each other it's fun definitely placed orders because his car so and so she like cute packaging you know, if it makes sense for my aesthetic I'm definitely like oh my god, I love this and then I'll put it aside but male is always great I like mail plus we can tell you put so much effort into you care about awesome so once you do decide to wholesale with the designer, what then is the relationship from there like you've maybe they've placed one or two orders I mean it's someone that you want to keep working with is that do you kind of encouraged them to fall up every three or four months? You know what such being what I love is if you have a newsletter just for wholesalers and just but don't you mark every week please great season once about something so that and especially when you have something new we want to see oh, like we've ordered with you before, we don't want to keep hearing the same thing on again for like two years, so anything new you have it's always exciting to us, okay? And also just tow um follow upon that, not it initially about the products, but for instance, if you start getting other stores, so because it's such a small city like you know to sell is opening a new store, we're not in the same neighborhood but it's closer what she's really awesome and actually like reached out to me, but a lot of store owners don't do that to each other, and so I always asked the actual artists, designers and like where you're going because if you're on I mean, it's, just small city, you know, some of my seven square miles, so it's, like you can get really oversaturated very quickly. And so, you know, making your as a designer making your decisions based on knowing where your stores are is kind of good because I definitely won't carry someone anymore if I find out that they were selling nearby and also just keeping your website updated with the list of your stores that helps us because I could just look at that. What is that? Geographic proximity so it's different? I'm I have a vendor who's like they have a one mile um, prue, but for me so under visit, errol, we're close to hayes valley, but it's a totally different area stars there's some sort of these value that won't let me carry stuff, which is fine, you know, but under visit like I'm the one of, like three stores, which is and all of our source of very different. So it's like in the mission is probably the friend, the mission's crazy, so no, for I if you're selling in the mission at all, I won't carry it. Yeah, but if and like even new italian, the mission, they're different. Though sometimes I feel like we have the similar customer right? So it was more like the visit arrows for far enough yet then just like certain things that are very like iconic like you're like oh that thing you would recognise you easily then we've negotiated who keep what? Because we don't want our store still of the same different it's because just as much as you take pride in what you're making, we take pride in what we created teo so it's important? What else we have coming in online there's plenty here's a here's a kind of a good general one after we would ask is asking for recommendations well, thanks for your time, ms first thing and then in terms of recommendations, what what are some things that the ideal designer will do to make your life easier in terms of first time product buys or recurring buying? So just sort of some best practices around working with buyers from from their perspective so having all the information in one place even if you have like a catalogue aniline sheet to documents that's fine um don't make me chase around information like that is all in one you don't even wanna have it like a price list and even though I know that we all like making our lookbook and they're like you're like screening yeah, I don't have a huge monitor I have mac book pro that's like small and so yeah I'm having to like look that's actually so annoying yeah because they haven't ided us because we have our budget um online ordering is the best love it if you don't have that at least and that's fallible pdf so order forms so we can just okay if you have a pdf and I have to print it out handwriting and then scan it in that takes me two hours so I will never do that I will just email the order I'll be like one of this five yeah I'll just like so if you have a little b d s and we can just type it in an e mail back to you so easy also flexible minimum orders because you know, especially with clothing shoes like something like a thousand and that's crazy I don't even get into clothing yeah, no e I love it and even though so as like because I understand where the designers are coming from and how much things cost and especially if you're doing production you know where other people are making that I get why there's minimums but I also feel like being flexible is important because if you're the this is the first time I'm buying from you like how do I know it's going to sell? And if it's a five hundred dollars like I don't know, I'm often I often actually just right and I ask if I can be flexible on like can I just do three hundred and like let's see how it goes and then for just for the first order of lease and then having a small store it's also hard because some people want you to and then weird quantities where it's like you have to buy twelve of this one thing like but I don't want twelve of that thing can I I just I just think being flexible is good I'm not saying that you should just be like okay fine just take it to a seventy five dollar order but just being flexible with your terms would be helpful we have a question from hq alligator thirty business but I'd like to know as well what are your favorite stores to shop at? What a man what is it about the masons citing fear? Well it's a bowl of that I'm not a huge consumer because I don't have time on all my all my money goes to the shop sadly, I don't know I'm not like we own stores and we're rich way live in san francisco my favorite stores she was wearing these I shop it everything the local this is from voyager um so I shopped basically I live in the mission I have the store in the mission and I mainly just shot in the mission just to kind of keep that local economy going because I think it's really important, I don't shop at any big stores, I feel like I really have to practice what I preach, and I really only support small businesses because you know every soft and have to go target to, like, get stuff. But for the most part, if everything could be local, I would and not saying that the products I'll have to be local. But as long as I'm like funnelling my money back into our community, I think it's really important, I think it's just I usually just eat out a lot because I don't mind. So this is it. They're always great for there's, like four, five means theirs by right? There's the male um and I go to floor grab because I love that space I love just getting coffee and looking at plants and there's there's so many good things that are so many I mean, here in the city but what's your favorite store. Oh, um, you know, I'm actually like I actually really love, like museum stores in bookstores and any locally owned bookstore, uh, strand in new york city is like my mecca. I can't go to the city without going there, so but you know where I live, there's like a dearth of good anything so I just love like when I'm travelling to just hit a street and wander and see what those great little local shops are because I do not get enough with that or any of that where I live so that's really what I want to do is just discover those stories that I haven't been to before do we have anything else from online? Uh yeah there's plenty dio do one more thing well, we'll start to wrap this up then um alicia niles is asking when you go to trade shows how do you prepare tow walk the ship comfortable shoes are um I don't know I just kind of try and take everything in and not do too much in one day all those that's hard because I you know I can be in new york for a whole week um do you go with a list of people you need to check out? Not really because I don't find it in the home I would that would be ideal, but I feel like if your booth catches my eye will stop and because I don't really do trade shows uh but because I'm going to capsule in september there's a lot of my designer friends and people that I carry and that all my friends that will be there so it's going to be hard not to make it very social but um mainly again with the category things I just that's the only way I can really by figuring out category and making sure I don't overbuy in another category and I mean like I'm looking for these things and then try toe focus that's yeah focus and then again, if the booth looks good, I'm gonna go in do you ever shop like the crab shells game? Well, let's just wait a booth what's this craft and live far if you're here, you should get being west coast west coast craft was awesome renegade I have not crazy since two thousand eight and I was kind of disappointed yeah um so I haven't been happened down, but I'm going to do the whole sell our things this night. Awesome. So any last words of wisdom that you want to pass on tio our audience all those designers makers out there who are hoping to get into stores I think that you should always just as whatever you're making stay true to whatever it is that you do and and make sure that your voices your own I think because of social media it's a blessing and it's a curse we get influenced by so many things and it's so easy to just kind of make something that's similar to other things but try toe just block that out and just be in your own zone and then you know as faras like all the things that we said you know are important but just make sure it's the right fit and then be patient yeah and I think that that's definitely andi I think they're doing a trade show conceal be beneficial but you just have to make sure that the money audience too yeah who goes to train yeah, yeah, yeah for me it's if you know find the aesthetic that matches what do you make if you know that's your store and if they don't get back to you right away don't get discouraged keep trying we just get inundated. So be patient. Yeah, yeah patient I know it's really hard because they're trying to kill your own business. Tio woman funny because I've been starting my own ceramic line and I only sent out a couple of lines sheets up and I haven't heard from the two out of three that I sent and I'm like, you know, whatever I know that they're busy and if they're ever interested, we'll get hold of me because I know how it is and then the one store out of the three place more like e well, I really want to thank kelly and giselle for being here and just a reminder you can chop both of their stores here in san francisco and online, so little paper planes and rare device make sure that you check those out and just thank you guys so much for joining us and for all of your wisdom thank you that was incredible, right? You guys learned so much fantastic so I just want teo uh just kind of followed that up by just reiterating a couple of the things that came out in the conversation just to remind you as we're heading into our next segment because we're going to start to talk about those line sheets and those wholesale terms that we alluded. Teo I think so many times and that online, that online piece about should I have a wholesale website? Should I be on there? We're gonna talk about all of that in the next segment. So just to reiterate, you know, these are some of the things, and I think kelly anne giselle really talked about so many of these there's a lot of factors that are going to come in before they make that purchase, their thinking about first and foremost the aesthetic the brand isn't the right fit for their store, but then they've got to think about their current product mix the inventory, you know, do they have the floor space, the shelf space? No do they have room for all of those things in their store? They're looking at price point budget clearly, budget is a big thing for them so another thing about timing do I do I want it now, you know, they are thinking into the future for holiday just because it is such a big season, so there's a lot of considerations and as you guys heard there's a lot that goes into being a buyer, so hopefully this really helps you guys out in terms of starting to get inside the minds of the buyer and as we move into you know, our next segment's, we're going to start teo think about what are these questions that buyers they're goingto have, you know? What is your minimum order? What is your lead time, yu know who buys your work? What other stores carry you? We talked about that being a really important consideration for stores, you know, the story behind it, what is it made out of where and how is it made? What is it? And we're going to talk about all of these things in the next segment and how you could really use your line sheet to communicate them. I thought it was really funny that they talked about one of the most common questions when people walk into a store just being like, what is this? Because that's an important consideration for you guys to when you're communicating your products so this is actually a few years ago I decided to do a laser cut home to coraline it doesn't exist anymore and that's a whole other story. But I wanted to share this with you, just to let you know that that what is it question can carry through for just about everyone. So hanging on the wall, on that on that top shelf for wall panels, that I mean, they were just a decorative wall panel. And literally, I can't tell you how many people walk into my booth and said, what is that? Is it attributed? Like, is it at this? And I just kept thinking, like, but it's hanging on the wall, right, it's, hanging on the wall like it has to be a wall panel, er s o, you know, really understanding that especially, and I think cases like kelly and giselle, where they're carrying your interesting art objects. Sometimes people are going to know what stuff is. So those air definitely questions that buyers are gonna have.

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.

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