By Annabelle Short
Most artisans start out by selling their artwork personally, either through an online platform such as Etsy or at craft fairs and flea markets. As the business grows and gains more customer attraction, it’s important to think about expanding your product reach. Getting into a local store sounds daunting, but you can collaborate with other vendors who deal with similar or complementary products. Here are six tips to help you get your products into local stores and boutiques:
Label Your Handmade Products
Before you venture into marketing your craft products to a local store or boutique, it’s important to consider labeling or adding tags to the products. When selling handmade goods, marketing and branding will play a key role in your success. Producing quality products is excellent, but essentially won’t be enough to get your business name out there.
Tags and labels give a professional appeal, which in turn improve your credibility. The tags remind the customers of the source of their product and are an excellent way of obtaining repeat buyers. If you’re dealing with clothing, the label is where you indicate the size, type of fabric, and care information. All this information is essential to your clients. Sizing ensures a proper fit while the care information ensures the longevity of your handmade product which translates to a happy customer.
Do The Research
Before doing some research on shops in your local area, drive around and visit the shops in person. Find out which traders deal with local vendors and handmade goods and assess the condition of the store, their products, pricing, and how they relate to clients. See if your products fit in the given stores and then create a list of prospective boutiques you think would make a good fit for your wares. You will also want to be sure to check the shop’s customer reviews online.
Make An Appointment
Never show up to a shop with the intent of marketing your products without a scheduled appointment. Always send an email or call to request an appointment and introduce yourself and your business to the boutique. Showing up randomly can disrupt the staff and they may be busy and not have time to look at your products.
Formulate a Wholesale & Consignment Deal
The store will not buy your products at a retail price so you must prepare the type of deal you want to make with the store. You can decide on a consignment deal or wholesale deal. In a consignment deal, the store pays you the wholesale price or an agreed percentage if they sell your product. If your product does not sell after a given period, you take it back. For starters, consignments are an easy way to get your products into the shop because they minimize the risk to the vendor. In wholesale, the boutique or store will buy your merchandise and pay upfront. Consignment prices are often higher than wholesale prices due to some degree of liability.
Have Samples On Hand
It’s hard for a vendor to decide if they want to sell your products without looking, touching or feeling them. It’s just a simple way of evaluating the quality of your product. Carry a sample of the products you wish to get into the shop, and you can even package the samples just like you would if they were on the shelves of the store. While physical products are better, you can also bring along photos of items and send links to websites or social media pages where they can view your products.
Showing up on time is a great start and always remember to be confident in what you’re selling. Show your professionalism by having a well-prepared presentation. Prepare the key points you wish to discuss during the meetup and have the numbers readily available. Show the vendor you’ve researched their shop prior to visiting the store.
Annabelle Short is a professional seamstress, chief crafter and writer at Wunderlabel.com.