Before you start approaching retail buyers with your product, you want to consider it from the buyer’s point of view.
I owned a retail store for over 14 years while I also designed and sold my womenswear line to stores (including Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Macy’s, etc.)
What YOU, the creator, are thinking is not even close to the way THEY, the buyers, are thinking. When you get a chance to show your line to a retail buyer, you want to be prepared. They will NOT be patient with you if you don’t have professional looking line sheets and selling tools. If you don’t know your delivery dates, terms, pricing, and sizing info, buyers will be frustrated you may lose a chance at an order.
Today’s video covers my CHECKLIST of what you need to have ready BEFORE you approach a retail buyer.
You can also get the information as Podcast episode here: “What You Need to Have in Pace BEFORE You Sell Your Product to Retailers”
You can download the Podcast as an mp3 to any device by clicking here.
And that’s not all – it never is…
You can grab the Before You Sell to Retailers Checklist as a PDF. Whaaa?? I got ya covered…
Will you do me a favor?
Choose one of these, fill in the blank, and leave me a comment below, OK?
A: “The ONE topic I want you to teach next is ____________________.”
B: The ONE question I have about selling to retailers is _____________________. “
You know I only do this for the comments and the banter after the blog post, right? STOP LURKING and leave me a comment! As always, thanks for reading, listening, and watching,
“The ONE topic I want you to teach next is once you’re ready, how to approach a boutique.” If I have everything on the checklists, what is next? Do I mail and email them the line sheet and the wait to hear back? Do I pay them a visit AFTER I have sent them the line sheets? or BEFORE? Do I call them first to let them know I want to stop by? If I call them how should I address them? When do I send them this line sheets? Is there a specific date I should do this so it goes with the season? Or is this process different for every boutique.
“The ONE question I have about selling to retailers is do I have to visit them in person and show them the product or is mail, email and phone enough if they are in a different city?.” If it’s worth it to pay them a visit then I will fly to those cities.
Hi Irela! Thanks for commenting and THANKS for letting me know what you want me to teach next. As for your 2nd question… While it depends on your product, you usually DO have to go there or at least send samples to get an order. Most buyers need to feel and touch the product (always depends on the product, of course) before they are willing to spend money. Also, you may have to visit once to set the foundation and then work towards getting an order in the future.
I have a question about using Paypal to process credit cards. You can send an invoice to someone’s email through Paypal and there will be a link for them to pay the invoice with their credit card, even if they don’t have a Paypal account. How is that different than another form of credit card processing?
I used to have a separate credit card processor where I would have to enter someone’s credit card info myself. But it seems more secure and easier to let a store enter the info themselves.
I think your system is great for B2C selling (business to consumer) but my opinion is that it’s not viewed as professional or “business-y” enough for most wholesale accounts. Things are changing all the time and PayPal is more and more accepted. But for the moment, it may be seen as a sign your are not a “serious” vendor.
Does that make sense?
Yes, it makes sense in how it’s perceived. Do you know of another option for credit card processing where you can email a store an invoice that they can pay by entering their credit card info? I’m just getting into wholesale and I do most communication for orders by email, so it seems like the easiest way to go. I have a store that I’ve been working with that way, but am looking to add a few more stores.
If I understand your question correctly, I think any Shopping Cart system would work. You may have to set up a specific “product” (SKU) for that particular order from a retailer and send them the link.
The one question I have about selling to retailers, is it okay to offer them a product they don’t carry in their store? Or should I stick with retailers that sell similar items as the one I offer?
Good question, LaMonica. I think it’s OK to offer it to any store if it seems like a beneficial and/or logical retailer for you. For example, most boutiques did not sell “girdle” type things (I sound like my Grandma!!) but when SPANX came along, they sold in boutiques like crazy.
Hi jane for some reason the checklist is not downloading can you please send it to my email. I would like to hear you teach about fashion shows.
We’ll email you the Checklist. Thanks for the feedback about fashion shows. I don;t think I’ll be teaching that, unfortunately. I’m not a big fan of fashion shows as a tool to grow your business.
So I am basically a designer based in Qatar and I wish to sell my line to boutiques in Dubai. There is this boutique that I am planning to sell my line and it is a high end boutique. Is there a different way to approach such boutiques as this is my first collection. And also do I have to carry the sample if I have to fly there to meet them?
Yes, you have to carry the samples with you – unless you want to mail them ahead. High end boutiques are not that different from “regular” boutiques. Just know the seasonal fashion calendar (when they but=y and what deliver dates to offer), have high quality photos and line sheets, and be persistent.
I hope that helps!
Hello. First I want to say thank you for creating a place where creators like myself can come and find answers, guidance and support. My biggest problem is getting out of my own way and mind. This site helps build my confidence and provides support when I need it the most. I’m with Irela, I would love an entire class on how to approach galleries and shop owners that are near and far. If they are out of state, I assume you call and explain who you are and what you do (short & sweet) then ask if they accept samples? I don’t have issues with passing along samples, BUT that can get very costly. Lots of questions. Linda
Thanks for commenting – I think “getting out of my own way and mind” is pretty much an issue for ALL of us!! So glad we can provide support for you! I’m working on an updated “Get Your Product Into Stores” online course so watch your email for updates on that. And yes, your plan for out of state stores is correct. Expensive is a relative term. Sending samples (with return postage) is a lot cheaper than a booth at a trade show. Also, an even better strategy to sell is to go on a road trip and visit multiple cities.
I hope that helps,
In item number 12, you mentioned that you have a 4 step plan to approach & follow up with our selected outlets, be it a boutique or a department store. Could you share that 4-step approach?
I teach the entire strategy (including the script to use with a buyer) in one of my online courses. You can find it here:
Great info, I am just learning how to bring a product to a retailer as a sales agent.