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Sell Your Products to Retailers

Lesson 2 of 31

You Are Ready to Start Wholesaling Now

Megan Auman

Sell Your Products to Retailers

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

2. You Are Ready to Start Wholesaling Now

Lesson Info

You Are Ready to Start Wholesaling Now

Let's dive in and talk a little bit about where you get some vocabulary so if you guys may or may not have noticed the last two pages of your workbook are really handy little glossary so we're going to go through in this class and there's a lot of terminology there's a lot of lingo that happens in wholesale so I'm not getting it we're not gonna go through this whole thing right now that would be a little intense but throughout this class it's basically set up in chronological order so we're going to talk about kind of defining all of these terms and at any point you guys if if you feel like I missed one just flagged me down you guys could raise your hands you guys to jump into the chat rooms um because I want to make sure we've got all this terminology but so at any point you khun jump to the last two pages of your workbook so you'll be able to dive in and define this all right, so what is wholesale? The title of this class is sell your products to retailers but you're going to hear me...

say the word wholesale a million and a half times because that is essentially what we're doing that's the official terminology for how we're selling so the we'll call it the opposite it's not really the opposite of the opposite of wholesale is retail so you sell directly to the customer that's a retail scenario? This is going to be at a craft show online. Maybe you're like having a party, your house or your friend of stuff spy and wants to buy something that's a good friend, all your friend should stop buying us to buy, not get remind them of that you're not giving it away for free. So that's how retail works and wholesale were adding another step you're going to sell to the store and the store is going to sell to the customer. And this is a case where I know that there are some people, especially in certain marketing circles, who were going to say the store is the middleman. Why do we still need the middleman? It's twenty fourteen we don't need them anymore. We should cut that out. Here's what it really looks like, though in wholesale you sell to a few stores who sell to a lot of customers, and this is really where the magic of wholesale happens because it's not suddenly a one to one trans transaction anymore. It's one selling a bunch of products to a store who are selling too many suddenly you don't have to try to hit every single one of those customers. You can let the store do that so that's really fantastic the other thing is that you know, one of the things that I found with a lot of makers and a lot of people who are kind of creatives is that the language that you need to sell your product to the customer is a little bit scary right? So you guys are it may be a little scared of the sales process the language that you need to sell to a store is a little bit different we're going to talk about the overlaps but in so many ways it's so much easier to effectively communicate to a store why they should buy your product because guess what? The store's number one job is to buy product to sell to customers so they need you they need your products and that makes this whole process so much easier than trying to convince someone down the line that maybe they need a necklace or maybe they need some some fun so whatever you can kind of not have to worry about that because that's the store's job they've got salespeople they're working on that end and your job is to deliver the products to the stores so basically in a nutshell that's wholesale but now we need to talk about another word that you may have heard which is wholesale versus consignment I'm just a consignment like it's a scary word because it is so what happens in a wholesale is you set a wholesale price? You also set something call the m s r p that's a manufacturer's suggested retail price manufacturers air you guys, you're the manufacturer in this case, so you've got that m s r p. So you set your wholesale price, you sell it to a store. Ideally, they're going to sell it at your msrp, but they're gonna have a little bit of wiggle room on there. And that's okay, it's, part of the process. So you know what? Your wholesale prices? You said it your profitable yugo in consignment, you don't sell to a store, the store borrows your product, and if it sells, they give you a percentage of the retail price. So this is something that is no risk for the store high risk for you guys, right? Because suddenly you're sending product out there that you haven't been paid for. So one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making is that they think I'm gonna consign first because it's a stepping stone to wholesale it's not learning ticket, like consigning your products doesn't move you any closer to the wholesale market, particularly because doors who are selling your product on consignment are less motivated to sell in stores who have purchased your products out, right? They've bought your products they've just invested several hundred to several thousand dollars in inventory they don't want that stuff sitting on the shelf they wanted to sell if they're consign if you're consigning to them yes there's still store they want to make money probably hopefully but they're feeling less pressure because they don't have any money tied up in inventory so I want you guys to think about kind of what policy makes sense for you but I generally recommend a no consignment policy now that's what I tell people when people ask me I will say that you have a personal exception to this rule which is that if there's a store that operates and more of a gallery function so in my rolled in the in the jewelry world there are a few art jewelry gallery's most of the time they deal with work that's actually more expensive or more unusual than my work I have three of them I consigned to them that's their business model that's the way that gallery is but I also have a very personal relationship with all of those gallery owners. So for me that's my one consignment kind of exception but for the most part I would really recommend that you ignore consignment even if someone sends you an email hey, I love your products do you consign I was just run back no, I don't consign but here's my wholesale price list let me know if you have any questions so just because someone comes to you asking for a consignment agreement doesn't mean you have to accept it so it's really I think important that we kind of get that distinction out here the other thing and this doesn't apply thing to any of you guys here but some of you are watching online you might be in an arena where consignment really is the norm so if you're a fine artist if you're a painter, you're a photographer consignment probably is the norm and there's not a lot that you're going to be able to do with that you're if you're dealing on the gallery situation, you're probably gonna have to consign that said my recommendation as you're watching this and as we move into the next part of the conversation is how can you expand your line so that you can be in the types of marketplaces were wholesale is the norm. So if you're making you know paintings or photography, can you go into greeting cards or art or something else where you can actually get your products into a situation where people are buying them? Because that consistency that we're talking about with selling two stores doesn't happen in consignment it happens when we sell two stores any questions about any of that so far or from you guys we did have some questions about consignments. I'm really glad you nailed really, william something that was really a worrying a lot of people. So thank you for tech tracking that right at the beginning. Good. Yes. I wanted to make sure we have that one down. Yeah, go ahead. And you're going to tackle this leader. So that's, why I go out? It's. Fine. Um so for someone like me, that is kind of assignments. I work with a seventeen retailers. I want to say they're about split so half wholesale, half consignment and that's one of my goals, this year's to transition as many of them either out or into a wholesale model do you have? Like, I know you don't work with consignment, but like, do you have a script or something or a strategy on too to kind of pitch that? Yeah. That's. Ah, great question. So one of the things that I would would recommend us, you know, once you kind of get your whole sound materials that they're really, really fantastic, you could just go back to all those consignment stores and say, look, we're making some changes. We're moving to wholesale only hears our current price list you know you could talk about if there's ways that you might want to incentivize them a little bit and we can kind of dig into this a little later you know maybe you want to give them like free shipping on their first order just tow to do that but let them know you know we are not able to do a consignment relationship anymore but we're happy to move into wholesale and if if that doesn't work for them it's okay let them go because one of the other things that were going to talk about that's going to come up with this idea of exclusivity so stores don't want you selling to the store next to them or even the store down the block that's a problem so if you're in a space where you're consigning to a store and the store down the block wants to buy wholesale let your consignment store have the first opportunity to buy wholesale but if they don't take that go to the store down the block that's going to buy because ultimately that's what's going to suit your business better and those were the stories that are going to move product okay and we can dive into that more throughout the class to remember that's a fantastic question all right so now let's start to talk about your product line so we're ready ready start selling the stores but we want to know if your product line is ready so I know that one of the first questions that came up is how many products should be in your lines and this is going very greatly from industry to industry product line a product line person to person so what we're going to do now is that I'm actually going to have you guys kind of take a step back and evaluate your product line we're gonna take a look at this workbook and we're gonna figure out what works for you what works for the types of products you sell you know what works in your industry so we're just gonna kind of start to move through these so the first thing that you need to figure out is is your product line cohesive because that's what stores are gonna want to see they're going to want to see a point of view so if there's not a point of view in your wholesale line, you want to start to think about either expanding or shrinking and I'll explain that uh, depending on what you need so first of all just take a look at it doesn't have a clear aesthetic does it have an overarching theme and have someone else with a fresh set of eyes look at it don't ask like your friend who knows nothing about art or designer or fashion or whatever industry don't ask them ask, like your friend that's got impeccable taste asked somebody who's a graphic designer have someone who's actually got a good aesthetic sense. Look at your line, but look at it and see, you know, it doesn't make sense you're particularly looking for any products that don't seem to fit with the rest. So are there things that just seem off? It could be a product type, or it could be just a particular product that maybe doesn't have the right fit. And if you find a product in your line that feels off, what we can do is actually, um you know, what you could do is you could do two things one you could just pull that product, you can pull that particular product out. You know what? That what doesn't fit is gonna slide out of her hole saline, maybe you still selling online? Maybe you still bring it out to retail show that's. Okay, but you might pull it out of your hole saline. Or you might say, you know what? I really love this product, but it doesn't quite fit. So I'm going to design six other products that makes sense with this product and then suddenly it's not an anomaly, it's a collection. So that's a really great strategy plus that was actually more fun we're creatives right sometimes that's subtraction thing is hard I love it I don't want to pull it out of my line but you say okay, I love it let's make six mohr that are related that's really fun, right? So, like, part of your homework gets to be you go back in and your design that's great. So that's one thing the other thing is that you might look and realize that you have two collections that seem desperate and this is something I see a lot people kind of design in one area and they designed in another on what I've always found with this kind of product line. Cohesion is that two collections always look like two different designers, but three distinct things suddenly just looks like you have three collections. So that's, another rule that I apply. So if you've got two things that look really separate, add one or subtract so it's always that rule can you add or subtract to kind of make it more cohesive and just does your line tell a complete and cohesive story? So lindsay, those might look familiar to you? I know, I know for a fact that lindsay is kind of dealing with this to product line issue right now, so I thought we would take a look that both of your product lines and talk about how this collision think applies to you so I pulled to screen grabs from lindsey website this is what you call your boutique collection right correct so these are the necklace is in the booty collection I believe you're wearing one I am awesome uh and then this is what you're calling your gallery collection right? So tell me a little bit about these collections like what motivated you to have to separate collections? What was your thought process behind the boutique collection? Those more colorful simple pieces uh they're easier for me to produce and manufacture and I saw them at like a lower retail price but then I I felt like I was missing more of that like fine arts and more like I don't know more variety something higher end okay, so I didn't think it would make sense with that first collection so in this collection are you really thinking more about like that just kind of repetition um more minimal color palette more minimal, more like forms okay, so this is something that you are probably less likely to sell to kind of the average boutique down the street, right? You're thinking more art galleries things like that you got it so one you've got these two collections how are you thinking about presenting them? Are you like I'm going to show one to one person and not to the other I have no idea I really just came up with this collection uh probably a couple of months ago and I think that's a big block for me is like I haven't really even marketed this collection I don't know how tio r how it fits into the brand okay I guess I'm gonna inkling that it really doesn't yet so I think that you know one of the things is that you are kind of driven by a very specific process right so your work is enamel I heard you described a couple times areas glass on metal so kind help people understand that so that is really a unifying element that you have so then what kind of defines these is really the I would say the time of the process on and then the aesthetic so I think that you're going to get into trouble if you really try toe like market these is to separate things and that's one of the things that I could tell you guys this from experience like any time I'm like well this feels different to me so it should be like its own little marketing game that just causes you so much headache so I think in your case what you could do is first of all I would not try to market these separately ok it's all infused it's all one thing that's a relief yeah you are not trying to put these separately but then what I want you to think about is do I want to do this sort of like boutique and gallery thing forever or do I want to give myself permission to design new things on a regular basis, in which case I think a good solution for you might be to come up with annual or seasonal collections as opposed to say designing boutique and gallery so what you could actually dio is you could say you know what this is going to be like this boutique collection here is going to be well call like my signature or my classic collection it's always going to be there I want it because stores by it stores make money off of it we're gonna keep that in there but then once a year I'm going to do something that's an exclusive collection for that year and this is something that can particular work for anyone who's maurin that fashion realm you don't have to do this, we'll talk about it you don't have to feel like you're designing a seasonal collection but for someone who wants to balance this kind of regular moneymaking collection with the opportunity to be a little bit more creative too to branch out a little bit saying you know what every year I'm going to design this is the twenty fourteen collection then we're going to the twenty fifteen collection that could be a great way to kind of exercise that creativity and it also creates a little bit of incentive because not everything is around forever, right? I would not recommend I think it's for most people in this audience on lee doing seasonal unless you're very very high fashion because most stores are gonna want that more consistent product line I mean, I have pieces in my line that I have been selling since the beginning stores love them, they want it, they want to see it but they also want to know what's new half the time they still by the old stuff but they always want to know what's new I think for you that could be a really good way to kind of branch that so it doesn't feel like two collections in a way it still is but it's like here's my signature here is the new collection for this year I want that awesome as anyone else maybe in the studio audience have questions about cohesion think a lot of you guys are pretty tighten your lines can you talk about how you transitioned in from jewelry into textile? Adam how that sort of work? Yeah, so this is actually a perfect example my transition from jewelry to textiles of like how doing two very different things seems crazy and how adding in a third thing makes you seem less crazy, so obviously I'm trained as a jeweler train is a metal smith that's been my production line for a long time now I have branched out every so often to design like some home decor products and a few other things but for the most part it's been about the jewelry um then see it's been almost two years ago now I started painting again painting was actually like my first love in high school I wanted before I discovered that you could go to college to make jewelry, which is just like the coolest thing ever I wanted to be a painter I was like, I'm gonna be a painter is going great and then and then I discovered this and I was like, oh no, wait, I have a degree in metal something that's awesome, so I kind of said painting aside and I started painting again about two years ago just doing these big kind of drippy abstract acrylic paintings and people were like your jeweler and you make paintings I don't get it they're like I don't understand they were like so far apart. Well, what most people don't know about me is that in college when I wasn't hanging out the metal studios hanging on the fiber studio so all these people kept saying to me I've always had an interest in textile design and pattern signing people kept saying to me I see your paintings as fabric and was like actually so do I so this goes back to again that consignment versus wholesale paintings are really hard to sell right? Like you gotto find gallery it's a pain people wanted off the match their sofa it's hard jewelry is much easier to sell turns out textiles and accessories also much easier to self so I was like all right, I'm gonna designed textiles and I'm going teo I decided I was gonna start with scarves I thought they made sense for me I'm already in this world where I'm making jewelry I'm thinking about accessories scarves seemed like the perfect extension and what happened was even though what I started painting I didn't know I was gonna make textiles people were like, oh, I get it now I totally get why you're doing that so this is a really good case where even though they're totally desperate adding in that textile line particularly focused on, you know, wearable pieces, scarves, leggings, things like that suddenly made the whole picture make sense to people. So I think this is that's a good case too for those of you who are not so honed in right I know a lot of a lot like I like to make a lot of different things that is totally okay to dio you can absolutely make a lot of different things just make sure that they have this really complete and cohesive statement within the collections the other thing that's really important when you're thinking about line cohesion is just what's the overarching theme of your brand so for me when I'm thinking about my brand everything is built around this idea of my tagline which is make a statement every day so as long as anything fits within that scope like does it help you make a statement every day cool we can toss it in but again I'm not gonna toss in like one scarf I mean and design an entire grouping of scarves because then that makes sense so using that kind of umbrella brand will let you bring in other products and really let you do that you also have to think about like, what are you building towards? So for me I've always wanted to build towards a lifestyle brand and I think a lot of you online might have similar feelings that said my recommendation is to start in one product area and kill it there first because if you try to do too much at once it does start to get confusing it starts to get confusing when you come to retailers and say, hey, I've got jewelry and I got scarves and got paintings and I've got shoes and I've got this and I got that gets really complicated so for years I was predominantly a jewelry designer I was making this one specific product and that's what I built my whole sale kind of business around. And then once I had that, then I was able to branch out and start to bring in these other products. So for those of you who are like, I love to do a lot of things, trust me, I get it. I'm right there with you, but focus on one, I think, particularly for the scope of this workshop. Focus on one area. Start to build your wholesale business that way, and then, as you stabilize, add another products that makes sense for your brand.

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

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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