January 31, 2008.
Um, I would like to know where January went? Really, I know I was a ranting and a raving how I hated this month, blah blah - it was bad.....but where did it go? I just turned around and saw my holiday cards were finally put away and BAM it is February. I have to say I have no idea what I wasted the last 30 days doing either - no really, not a clue....and now I need to have 22 hand-made valentines made by February 4th. Oh, and my lovely off-spring are home sick with fevers....nice.
Carrie Sommers of Sommer Designs asked a question on an earlier post, "One thing I'd like addressed is - how and where to do you find the wholesale customers, other than exhibiting at a trade show?"
Research, Research, Research
I would not suggest a trade show at this point - if you check this post out you can see how much money you would need to spend to make it profitable. Not to say it may not be worth it down the road, but when just starting out - sales calls don't cost much. If you know a store that you like you can call them and get the buyer to at least listen to your pitch. I was lucky, the first store I approached said yes - but others I had to ask over and over, and over.
My advice to you is to do your research, and you can start in your backyard.....well, um not literally, maybe down the street. Start with shops in your neighborhood that look like they might sell your "type" of product. Find stores that have similar (not the same) product and call them, or send an email, or put a mailer together. Once you have some confidence, then you can move out of state - again, Google is the best tool for this. Local stores will probably breathe a sigh of relief, since they will have you near by, and shipping will not be so costly.
Most stores these days have great websites, or at least store front images and you will know if the store 'looks' like a store you would like to sell your wares. This takes a lot of time, and you will need to follow up. Do not get frustrated when you have ten doors slammed in your face.....just move on and think 'that was not a good fit'. If you stick with the mantra "I can not be everything to everybody" you will not feel so bad when store says no.
Lastly, tell people, put it on your blog, put it on your site (note to self, I should have these up on my sites). One of our largest orders we got from samples was due to a friend of my husband's who lives 1/2 way across the country - she saw a cute store and sent me an email to approach them about sales. Oh, try and develop a thick skin (hard for us creative types, I know) and do not take it personally, when a store declines. I always think of a conversation my then 4 year old son had with his Dad while walking to nursery school;
Daddy, "Yes, what is her name?"
Daddy, "Is Ginger your friend?"
Grant, "Not yet... but she will be."
Ladies & Gentlemen (okay there were no gentlemen) We Do Have Some Winner's
Step right up and claim your price....hurry these prizes are going fast! I know a tad bit confusing that I have a Circus Plaque photo - but I did not have a ring leader's painting to show you, these are the Martini Coaster Winners.
The sooner you email me your address the better - here are the winners for the Martini Coaster Give Away:
Carrie S, Aurelia, Cecilia, Jody, Jen, London E (who commented twice, now do you really need me to send two sets?), Maggie, Debbie P and Lisa - congratulations and thanks for taking them from me. I actually have 3 sets left - anyone else want them? Comment? Email? You can do anything, I may just go start flinging them at my Fed Ex and UPS drivers when they arrive to pick up our shipments. Don't make me do it, I swear I will.