You have a great product and it’s selling like crazy in little craft sites like etsy and cargoh. Great! Now what? You know you should venture to retail markets, but how exactly do you get started?
Research, Research, Research
Visit your target shops first. You’ll need to determine if these shops match your wares. What types of items do they carry? Are they cutsie? Hand-crafted? Mass produced? What does the store ‘feel’ like? Does it match the feel of your items? Could you see your items in this store? Do your items seem price appropriate? Be sure to pick up contact info as well as the name of the person in charge of purchasing!
To Make an Appointment or Not?
The very best way to approach a store owner or buyer is to walk in. You won’t be giving them your spiel at this point, just introducing yourself and setting a future appointment. Stopping by is much better than calling as it’s easier for them to say “no” on the phone. Plus, they can’t see your items over the phone.
WARNING: whatever you do, don’t try and sell your items at this first contact. No matter how great your product is, the store owner/buyer may not have time to discuss everything at this point. If they do have time, they’ll tell you then. Best idea is to just make an appointment for a later date.
When you go to make your appointments, bring your handcrafted items along. Take only one or two…you don’t want to overwhelm the owner/buyer. Have a wholesale price list with you featuring photos and details of all of your items. A brochure is always a great idea. Right away, they can see a sample of your items and have the prices in their hands.
Professionalism is a Must!
Do your homework on your presentation. Everything counts at this first meeting. This is definitely a time where the old saying, “you never get another chance to make a first impression” is true.
Love your items. If you love your items, it will show when you are selling them. Be positive. If the owner/buyer decides not to buy anything…just remember that there are other shops. Plus, they may change their minds later. You never know when a customer will come in asking for your type of item…and your name will come to the business owner/buyer! Leave a business card and a brochure for the shop to keep on file. Always check back with them from time to time, either in person, or by phone or email, to see if they’d like to order some of your merchandise.
When you plan your wardrobe for your appointment, think of the shop. You’ll want to match the shops feel. Classy shop requires classy appearance. Relaxed shop might call for khakis and a relaxed approach. If you make wearable art, like jewelry, or quilted clothing, be sure to wear some of your own creations.
BE ON TIME. NEVER, NEVER BE LATE. Enough said.
Confidence builder: Remember that the worst thing they can do is to say “no.” If so, there are other shops out there! Shops and stores are always looking for new and different…that thing that will fly off the shelves! By showing them your items and wares, you might be introducing them to THAT thing! You are doing THEM a favor!