Ready to expand your Silhouette or Cricut small business? Why not put your handmade products into local shops and boutiques in your area? While it may sound like a daunting task, it isn’t that difficult. Today, I’m sharing seven tips to help you get your products into locally owned shops.
- Do research before you contact any shops or stores. Take an afternoon and drive around your local area. Make a list of shops in the area. Go inside the shops as a shopper. Take notes on the condition of the store, the products they offer, the pricing, and how the employees respond to you. Ask yourself: “Would my products be a good fit in this store?” When you return home, dig around on the internet for more information about the shops you liked. Do they have an online presence? Do they have good buyer reviews?
- Do an audit of your business. Make sure your business is in tip top shape by asking yourself these questions: Is my branding consistent? Are my logo and tagline effective? Is my social media and website up to date? Are recent customer reviews great? Are my company licenses for my city, county, and state up to date? If anything needs attention, fix it before you start trying to get your products into stores.
- Make sample products. Make several different products that you plan to try to get into the store. Be sure to package them as you would if the store were selling them today.
- Prepare a presentation and know your numbers. I’m not talking about a power point presentation where you will stand in the front of a room and talk at an owner. Instead, lay out points that you’d want to discuss during a conversation with the store owner. Prepare wholesale pricing sheets to present to the owner. Remember these two things: 1) A store owner can’t pay retail price for your products. 2) Not every product you make will be good to sell in a local store.
- Reach out to the store owner. Social media is a great way to make contact with the store owner or buyer. Simply introduce yourself and ask for some time to sit down and talk to the owner about carrying your handmade products in their shop or boutique. Never, and I mean never, walk into a store with the intention of getting your products into the store without a previous scheduled appointment. I mean, as a company owner, you are busy. Assume that the store owner is just as busy as you are.
- Be confident on the day of the meeting. Show up on time and prepared. Talk about your products, but also ask questions about the store and the store owner. Show the store owner that you’ve done research about their store before you walked in the door. Leave the owner with information relating to your shop and schedule a follow up appointment. One trick that I’ve used in the past is to leave the store owner with a sample book of my products or more information about me. I then schedule a time the following week to pick it up and hopefully ‘seal the deal’.
- Stick with it. Don’t expect to get your products into every store you speak with. And, don’t take it personally. Just move to the next store on your list and start over. Building a business takes time – don’t expect it to grow overnight.
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Wondering about the shop in the background of the image below? It’s Four Purls Yarn Shop – a local shop owned by a friend of mine.