Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Selling Your Handmade Items to Boutiques...

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Happy Tuesday Friends! Today's post is for the crafter, indie business owner, shop owner and creators of all things pretty! I've been in the handmade world for 3 years now and I've the learned a lot of stuff along this awesome journey as a business owner.

Selling your items to local boutiques can be very scary at first because your not sure if the boutique owner will like your items or he or she make think your crazy or even a starving artist. Many that have been in business for a year or two are now asking, How do I get my handmade items into cool boutiques? Well, I've put together a short list to help you!

First, take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to browse the boutique you would like to sell your items to. You want to make sure your items fit in with the feel of the boutique. For example, you don't want to go to a hip teen boutique that sells clothing and accessories and try to sell handmade dish towels. The handmade dish towels would be more suitable for a home d├ęcor boutique.

Second, once you've decided on a boutique contact the boutique owner or manager by calling them and tell them about your handmade business/products. Make sure you're being polite and speaking proper grammar. Ask if it would be okay to set up an appointment to bring in your latest collection. Most boutique owners want to see your stuff in person if you can't set up a face to face appointment refer them to your online shop. 

Third, If you're lucky enough to get a face to face interview, make sure you arrive 5 - 10 minutes early, you're wearing or carrying your product if possible. In my experience, I've always carried one of my purses or wore a brooch that I made. It's a nice way to show the potential buyer how an item can be put to use.

Make sure you're showing your best pieces and if online, make sure you have great photography of your products. Although your products are handmade and are probably better quality, you have to remember you may be competing with a supplier of mass produced items from all over the world or another handmade business. 

Have a Wholesale List Packet to give to the potential buyer. This is very important!

A List Packet Includes:
• A brief bio about you and your business.
• A list of all products you're selling wholesale with wholesale prices listed.
• Terms & Conditions
• Wholesale Minimums & Maximums
• Shipping Times (When you can have the product to the boutique).
• Suggested Retail (What price the boutique should sell your products).
• A Business Card with contact/website information.

Make sure everything is typed and not hand written and include color pictures if possible. In the past, I've bought one of those presentation portfolios to store all information sheets. A small half inch 3 ring binder will work also. I feel this let's the buyer know you are serious and professional. During the appointment make sure you sell your Brand well and answer any questions the buyer may have.

Let the owner know that their boutique is exclusive and you will not sell to any other boutique in a 20 - 30 mile radius. If possible, it's always best to create a product that can only be bought at that boutique location. You don't want to sell the same item on your website or anywhere else for a cheaper or higher price.

Lastly, If you follow all the steps mentioned above you will be successful! If the buyer decides not to purchase any of your products don't get discouraged! They're many reasons why you may be rejected, example: The boutique carries and item(s) similar to yours, The boutique may be overstocked with merchandise that has not sold, or he or she may not be looking to purchase anything currently but down the road depending on what Season it is. I've found that local boutiques like to buy a lot of products wholesale just before the Christmas/Holiday Season begins.

Good Luck to everyone thinking about selling their products wholesale! If you've sold wholesale to a local boutique in your area, How did it go? Do you have any other advice you would like to share that I may have not touched on?








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