What is A Line Sheet + Secrets To Wholesale Success Giveaway

What is a line sheet anyway? Secrets to wholesale success, Lucky Break Consulting

Read on for an opportunity to win a seat in my LBU: Secrets to Wholesale Success mentoring program, worth $849!

If catalogs and order forms were to fall in love and have a baby, line sheets would be their love child. A line sheet is a sales tool designed to communicate virtually all of the information necessary for a buyer to make a decision about purchasing.  Creating a smartly-designed line sheet is one of the foundations of a successful wholesale program.

Each of your products should be individual showcased with either a color photo or drawing. This isn’t the time to use those fancy lifestyle shots!  Think: simple, professional-looking photos on either a white or neutral background. They should be taken “head on” and show virtually the entire product. Make certain that your photography style is consistent; as even small variances catch the eye once all of those products are aligned in tidy rows.

Beside or below each product, list the following:  the name of the product, its item number, the wholesale price (expressed as “each”), the suggested retail price, the minimum number of units required and any variants *such as sizes, colors, flavors, etc.)

It’s important to remember that buyers want to be led. If they’re smitten with your product collection, then they generally appreciate input + direction as they build an order. Help them help you!  Do you have a new product? What’s your best seller? Does this coordinate with something else? Add banners to relevant product photos to highlight these special products.

Lucky Break Consulting, what is a line sheet and why your creative business needs one

A fictitious line sheet created as an example for LBU students t-shirts & design by Jessika of OMHG

Don’t forget these line sheet essentials:

Your logo: front + center, loud + clear

Contact details: address, phone, website, email

Season: is this line sheet applicable for all of 2013? Fall of 2013? If you release seasonal products, discontinue products or raise prices mid-year, then you’ll need to update your line sheet accordingly.

Wholesale terms: uber-quick overview of payment and shipping methods, minimums, return policy, etc.

Call to action: what should the buyer do next?

The best examples of line sheets are…

Clear: Unambiguous and easy to follow.

Succinct: Stripped of extraneous “marketing chat”- just the facts.

Inclusive: Contain all the information necessary to make an order.

Tidy: Professional layout, uniform product photos, maximum of 2 fonts, font sizes which are easily legible.

Lucky Break Consulting, Secrets to Wholesale Success giveawayIf you’re looking to enter the wholesale market or are interested in upping your wholesale game, then I invite you to join me in the next semester of LBU: Secrets To Wholesale Success. My premier mentoring program is designed for beauty entrepreneurs, ceramic artists, stationary girls, jewelry makers, cupcake bakers and apparel designers who are ready to step up their game and crack the wholesale code. Over the course of seven short weeks, we’ll work together to transform your business via video curriculum units, dozens of worksheets and exercises, a series of Expert Interviews and 24/7 support at our private Facebook group.  I’ve spent a decade in the wholesale world, landing my products in 1000+ spas and shops worldwide and I’m sharing all my secrets with a select group of makers and creatives.

The spring semester of LBU sold out in just 5 days.  Registration for the summer semester opens today with a very limited number of seats.  I invite you to read more about the program here. You can reserve a seat or enter for a chance to win one seat which is reserved exclusively for OMHG readers.

enter

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!*  Giant congratulations to Erin McIntosh of Dear Edna AND Stephanie Tardy Duimstra of Your Phantom Limb! Lela in her infinite awesomeness loved all your entries so much she decided to offer two spaces to you lovelies. Buckle your seat belts ladies, she’s going to kick your wholesale skills up a bazillion notches, please email lela@luckybreakconsulting.com asap to get your party started!

Enter by sharing your big marketing question, fear, or learning experience with us in the comments!

Get extra entries by leaving a separate comment if you: 

Join the Lucky Break Consulting mailing list

Follow Lucky Break Consulting on Twitter

Like Lucky Break Consulting on Facebook

Share this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook

I’m ready to wholesale! Enter now to win a seat in LBU: Secrets to Wholesale Success worth $849 on #OMHG http://bit.ly/19lJVt9 <–click to share!

This contest closes May 31st at 12:00am EST so get your entries in fast! Winner will be announced on this post June 1st.

  • http://www.sarahphelpscreative.com/ Sarah / Sarah Phelps Creative

    I started my business (Sarah Phelps Creative) last year, and have until now focused on consignment sales and my online store. My big wholesale question / fear is wanting to make the move to wholesale but not knowing where to start and how to do it right. Winning a seat in the summer semester would be a dream!

  • http://www.sarahphelpscreative.com/ Sarah / Sarah Phelps Creative

    I follow Lucky on Facebook

  • http://www.sarahphelpscreative.com/ Sarah / Sarah Phelps Creative

    And I just started following on Twitter!

  • Sindy Anderson

    My question is VERY basic~ Where do you find the wholesale accts? By going door to door, doing market(as in the Atlanta Market) or ???? I’ve been told to just go door to door~ seems like a lot of useless foot work to me, when I could just do a wholesale Market in Atlanta~ Your thoughts suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, What are your thoughts on how much product to take to a large ticket writing show? I’m lucky, it’s near me, so I can always come home at night and bring back more if necessary~ Thoughts, suggestions please?

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Sindy, I am not a fan of door-to-door at all and agree: it’s a time suck and usually not very fruitful. A better approach is to identify shops which are a good fit and focus your marketing efforts accordingly. In LBU, we talk about using pen see’s and designer calls, city directories and networking groups to discover new shops with which we might have synergy. Hope that gets you started and hope to see you in LBU, too!

      • Sindy Anderson

        Discovered just last week, while I was in a biz pitching my products, my friend,(standing behind the store keeper) kept giving me the cut throat signal. Store person is ALL interested, wants biz card, website info the whole bit and I’m like, ahhhh, Ok I’ll come back. When we walk out she says~ Honey, think about it~ You’re in a Monastery, your products are Boudoir products~ not a good fit~ I busted out laughing~ Realized right quick and in a hurry~ she was right~ Good thing she was giving the cut throat signal and I didn’t give any biz cards! I’m to innocent for my own good~ BUT it was a real learning experience for me! THINK before I SELL!!! Is this a GOOD FIT!

  • Becky

    My big question is how to approach business owners, is in person the best way or are email and phone calls okay? When are the best times to approach a buyer? Would love the help!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Becky! 🙂

      I prefer to steer clear of in-person visits. Phone calls are great to get in a lead with the buyer, but lengthy cold-calls should be avoided. Emails are easy to send, but also easily deleted. In LBU, we work to find which method works best for you as there are pros and cons to each.

      No matter how you approach, weekend should be strictly avoided as they are the busiest times for most shops. Mondays and Fridays are usually a bust, too, as shops are either busy catching up from the weekend or winding up the week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my personal favorites.

      One of the things we work on in LBU, though, is how to attract wholesale interest without pitching. Don’t get me wrong- we spend lots of time on the mechanics of a pitch, earning to build a strong pitch and the rules of engagement surrounding pitches. But about 80-90% of my bath and body wholesale business comes to us. There are strategies you can engage (usually in how you build your website and what you say on it) that can bring the business to you!

  • Jenelle Montilone

    Totally ahmazing Lela- Thanks for the opportunity! Keeping with the wholesale theme- I’ll dish what’s been keeping me from jumping in. Partially fear based excuses and partially the fact that each product is handmade so I feel that wholesale is doubly difficult for my business.

    Keep in mind that I do no currently have a line sheet- but each time I’ve received inquiries for wholesale they’re either wanting to do consignment or want to order 15-100 of one design. (Which I can’t comply since each shirt it made using 100% reclaimed materials) I’ve just been mentally defeated by the notion. In attempt to regain the momentum to break into the wholesale realm I’ve been trying to figure out creative ways that will allow me to produce more but keep in line with my commitment to reuse/recycling. Easier said than done! I could use a swift kick in the butt mixed in with experience know how in developing a thriving wholesale game!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Jenelle, one-of-a-kind products do make for a tricky wholesale feat, but they’re not impossible. To be successful in wholesale, you’ve got to be able to scale production to some degree, so I think you’re wise to look at new techniques.

      I’m not a huge fan of consignment but I feel certain there must be some way to scale what you do currently. Can you offer 15-100 of each style, while style creating the design on a reclaimed shirt? Let me know an I’ll see if I can’t wrap my head around a possible solution.

      I’m excited to see your “Create Change” app and i need some rainbow felt earrings for summer!

  • Sindy Anderson

    Looks like I’m not the only one with this question~ LOL~ I already stalk you on FB and twitter and listen with baited breath for each new tidbit~ so I’m hoping to win this one, I need it badly~ I’m ready to Get Lucky and Build MY Empire!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      SO GREAT to see you here Sindy! You are always such a ball of energy and a breath of fresh air. Good luck in the contest!

      • Sindy Anderson

        Thank ya Ma’am!

  • Becky

    Just joined the mailing list!

  • Becky

    Just followed on twitter!

  • Becky

    Just liked on Facebook too!

  • Jenelle Montilone

    Twitter follower!

  • Jenelle Montilone

    Following on Facebook too

  • http://www.joyfulroots.com/ Kimberly Kling

    What an amazing opportunity! And thanks for the introduction to line sheets too! So simple after that clarification!

    I don’t have any experience in wholesale yet, but it’s something I have been thinking about. I would love to learn more about how it all works and what I can do to get into that market, because I definitely think it’s a direction I want to pursue.

    I guess my biggest fear is also a question. I’m pretty clueless about how to get started marketing my items and also how & where to produce them so that I can actually have a wholesale priced product. Right now I have a Society6 and Redbubble shop, but the prices there would be too much to then turn around and sell wholesale. I’m assuming you have to find a manufacturer and order in quantity, which scares me a bit – putting that much money on the line…but, no risk, no reward right?

    Well, I’d love to learn more about how it all works! It would be a dream to win!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Kimberly, Thanks for your enthusiasm about LBU. It’s a program that I’m really passionate about and proud to be able to offer.

      Can you tell me more about your business or link to your shop? I’d like to be able to offer some targeted advice. You’re on the right track- wholesale works in volume and that means that one of your main focus should be getting the material and labor costs down as much as possible while still creating quality goods. 🙂

      • http://www.joyfulroots.com/ Kimberly Kling

        Hi Lela,
        Thanks for responding! My business is focused on uplifting art, art products, patterns, and graphic design. I am also trying to get my foot in the door with art licensing, to sell my art to manufacturers. The website is http://www.joyfulroots.com. I’d love to hear any advice you have for me! Thanks so much and I’m keeping my fingers crossed about the giveaway! 🙂

  • http://www.joyfulroots.com/ Kimberly Kling

    I’m following on Twitter 🙂

  • http://www.joyfulroots.com/ Kimberly Kling

    I liked you on Facebook 🙂

  • http://www.joyfulroots.com/ Kimberly Kling

    And I signed up for your mailing list. Can’t wait to read that e-book!

  • http://www.joyfulroots.com/ Kimberly Kling

    Annnnd….I also shared this post & giveaway on my Facebook page…which goes to twitter as well. https://www.facebook.com/JoyfulRoots. Fingers crossed!

  • Butterfly Crafts

    A great opportunity! My question is quite basic really – what should you include in your pitch to a shop for a wholesale account?

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hola Butterfly Crafts- nice to meet you. 🙂

      I recommend that you include the following:
      a) a well-worded letter/email that succinctly conveys the essence of your brand and why you think they’re a good fit for the shop.

      b) 2-3 pictures of your best-selling products. Embedded into the email, rather than attached.

      c) A tidy, smartly-designed line sheet in a PDF format.

      d) A call to action and possibly an incentive (first time orders placed by abc date receive xyz).

      An order form is optional… some find it a tad presumptuous while others loving having all the information necessary to make an order right at their fingertips.

  • Butterfly Crafts

    Also shared on twitter

  • Butterfly Crafts

    …and followed on twitter

  • Butterfly Crafts

    …and liked the facebook page

  • Lisa Orgler

    Fabulous post! Something I’d love to learn more about…how to approach retail shops with my items. Should I call, email, visit…all three?

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Lisa, I recommend calling or emailing- visiting is so hard to get right. It’s nerve-wracking for you an often intrusive for them, so I suggest passing on it altogether. But a call to obtain the buyer’s name and email is a great tactic. Then you can follow up with a well-worded email which demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and that you;re well-prepared to do business. I offered some advice about what to include in that email in a few other comments to this OMH post. Scan those and let me know if you have any questions!

  • Lisa Orgler

    I signed up for your newsletter…and am looking forward to reading it each week!

  • Lisa Orgler

    I’m also following you on Twitter!

  • Lisa Orgler

    …and yes, am following you on Facebook too! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Annie

    This is Year 1 of business and doing the Craft Show Circuit. I’m working hard to make it great, but I have already clued in that wholesaling my jewellery line will make it the Best It Can Be! Ready to LAUNCH myself in to wholesaling…

    • Annie

      Liked, tweeted, shouted out, etc…

      • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

        Awesome to meet you Annie. Congrats on your one year anniversary! Hope we get to work together soon. 🙂

  • Cyn_RiverDogPrints

    I followed on Facebook, as me and my business.

  • Cyn_RiverDogPrints

    Followed on Twitter.

  • Cyn_RiverDogPrints

    Signed up for your mailing list!

  • Melissa Gibson

    I would love to know what is the easiest way to create a line sheet?

  • Tricia

    Thanks for this article as wholesale is something I have a hard time with. I do have a handful of boutiques that resell my jewelry, but it’s been a bumpy road for sure trying to figure out the in’s and out’s of wholesaling. I recently was contacted by a boutique requesting my line sheet – it was the first time I had ever heard that term. After researching I understood what that meant. However, since the majority of my pieces are unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, I have difficulty preparing a comprehensive line sheet. All of my work is similar in style, yet unique. For someone in my position, would it be acceptable to do a line sheet for a particular “style” of piece? For example, I could list a leather and chunky metal bracelet, listing the colors, sizes available but somehow word that the style and shape is something we work on together? I’m lost on this one. Thanks!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Tricia, that’s a great question. I understand that most of your pieces are one-of-a-kind, but do they share commonality in style and pricing? For example: my leather cuffs are generally about this big and cost this much and my chunky metal bracelets are about this large and cost this much… any commonality there? And do you allow wholesale buyers to select each piece or do they specify a category and you chose?

      Let me know and I’ll circle back to see if I can assist!

      • Mika Mosier

        Tricia, I do alot of limited runs, and OOAK pieces as well, so on my line sheet i offer X style of dress (for example), if they want control over fabrics AND sizes, it’s $X per piece w/ say a 12 piece minimum. Then I also offer what I call “mix packs” which are 12 pieces of my choosing (they can specify sizes), the upside is they then end up with pieces exclusive to their store and I will tell my customers that as well. Not sure if that can get your wheels turning on options for yourself, but hopefully it helps! My hangup on that stuff is how to communicate it properly to the retailer, so if you have ideas there, I’m all ears!

      • Tricia

        Yes, they do share commonality (material) and there is a basic price range. The buyer usually visits my Etsy shop and selects pieces or a style from there. So I guess it would be ok to create a line sheet using photos of pieces, indicating that each is unique, but providing options for size and perhaps photos of the different leathers or cord available. That sort of thing.

        Thanks for your feedback!

        • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

          I completely agree A line sheet is an important tool because it conveys the essence of your brand + products and succinctly communicates your terms. Having one at the ready shows your are armed + ready for wholesale and it also gives shopkeepers something tangible in their hands to pass to staff and friends on which to gather input. For all those reasons, I adore line sheets and consider them a “must have” for makers who want to wholesale.

          I can envision your line sheet having product categories with a representative product photo for each category and information with regard to your wholesale price, suggested retail price and available materials/ options for customization. I think that would suffice quite nicely!

          • http://www.etsy.com/osusannahs Susannah

            Hi Lela! I am currently glued to your blog and every comment as I prepare for my first trade show in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks! I’ve delayed, but it’s time to design my line sheet and I have questions similar to Tricia. 1) I’ve heard to make a large postcard with images on one side and info on the other. Do you suggest a postcard, sheet, or both? 2) I design romantic pillow cases and have many wonderful items. How many do I showcase at the show, and how many do I post to the line sheet? Of course I’d like to bring as many as possible, but I don’t want my booth to appear too cluttered! 3) How do I invite buyers to check my website and choose specific designs, since it will be more work for them? Or should i limit what I offer to what I display and show on the line sheet? 4) Is it ok to refer buyers to an Etsy store? I sell in many avenues, and my website isn’t as easy to update with new items as my Etsy is. It’s more complete, but I don’t want to scare off potential buyers because Etsy appears unprofessional! Thank you so much for any info! http://www.etsy.com/osusannahs and osusannahs@gmail.com

  • Erin

    What a great offer! I’ve been thinking about wholesale a lot more recently. It seems like the only logical step towards making a real living from my business. Etsy is starting to disappoint and consignment deals leave me feeling slightly cheated. I’ve recently raised my prices with wholesale in mind. But for some reason I still haven’t made the plunge. My fears seem to be polar opposites: rejection vs. failing to meet demand. I think. I need someone to demystify the whole process for me, so I can see it’s not as scary as I’m making it out to be, and you seem like just the person who can do that for me! Fingers crossed!

    P.S. I now follow you on twitter and shared the contest there. 🙂

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Erin! Wholesale is a great way to build a sustainable business, but it’s certainly not without its pitfalls. In LBU, we work the wholesale process from beginning to end: how to convey our brand story, knowing our costs, building successful pricing strategies, designing successful marketing materials, knowing the art of the pitch, sketching out our wholesale terms, exploring sales reps and trade shows- all the way through to strategies which keep current stockists happy + ordering. It’s a pretty comprehensive affair…

      Consignment is a bit of a bugger, I agree. Rejection is inevitable in life, but it’s not a death sentence either. You won;t be a perfect match for everyone, but everyone you receive a “no thanks” from is just one less person you need to market to. And so often in wholesale, a “no thanks” evolves into a “not right now” if you play your cards right. 🙂

  • Julia

    Sweet! I never know how to go by this – followed on facebook!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Thanks for the tweet + share + follow Julia. Nice to meet you and hoe to stay connected!

  • Erin

    I also just followed you on facebook.

  • Julia

    Shared on Twitter as well.

  • Julia

    Joined the Mailing List!

  • Cindy

    I want to be perfectly ready to pitch to stores and I think that holds me up when pitching wholesale to stores. Would love to learn more in this course. Thank you for the chance! [also signed up for your mailing list]

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Cindy… thanks for signing up for my mailing list. I hope to deliver actionable wisdom that you can use right to your inbox. 🙂

      There is definitely an art to pitching. I prefer email pitches to phone (and I really abhor in-person affairs). My suggestions: call and get the name and email address of the buyer. Personalize the email- use their name, the store name and write something you genuinely love about the store and tell why you think your product would be a good fit. Brilliantly and succinctly convey the essence of your brand. Embed (don’t attach!) 2-3 few knocks-their-socks-off product photos (files sizes should be reasonably small) and attach your line sheet. Close with a call to action. Be authentic, be clear, be enthusiastic.

      Does that get you started?

      • Mika Mosier

        Another nugget that helped me out! I’ve always attached photos, will have to figure out how to embed them! Thanks Lela!

  • SamOssie

    My biggest wholesale question? Goodness! I have sooooo many, how to choose? I guess most pressing and what I think prevents me doing more about it in my business is how to ‘scale up’ at the moment I’m used to buying/making a small run of each of my products for my own retail purposes but to get better deals (that I’ll need to get wholesale prices right) I’ll need to order in much bigger quantities (what those numbers are I have no idea). I know I can order stock once I’ve taken the wholesale orders but the logistics of that fries my little brain a bit! 🙂

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Sam, tell me more about your product and how you’re purchasing it presently and see if I can help. If you’d feel more comfortable taking that conversation private, then I am here: lela@luckybreakconsulting.com. But YES- scaling is they key to wholesale. Those wholesale margins won’t feel so painful when you get your costs down!

      • SamOssie

        Hi Lela – thanks so much for the reply! My product range consists of paper goods (prints, cards, notebooks) and some homewares (mugs, teatowels etc) which I buy from printers and manufactures in quantities of around 50 a time. I’ll drop you an email with some more details on – I’d love any pearls of wisdom that you have to share!

        • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

          Please do drop me a line- I’ll do my best to help!

  • Jenn Romero

    Fantastic post. This is such a beautiful example, well designed, easy to read and a pleasure for the eyes. I’m building mine right now and this is definitely getting my wheels spinning on presentation!

    I would love to win the consulting! At this time, strategic planning for wholesale volume is one of my biggest focuses. However, sometimes Im just not sure how to proceed with things- sales without feeling slimy. When to follow up, how to approach, when to ask for reorder? What do those detail look like? What is the right amount of engagement?

    Thanks for the amazing post!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Jenn! Those are all great questions and ones that pop up often as makers dip their toes in the wholesale pool. I recommend following up 10-14 days after an order has shipped. A quick call or email to ask if everything arrived safely and see if they have any questions. I also plug wholesale buyers into my monthly newsletter so that they receive updates on new products, new press, promotions and new opportunities to connect. I typically let buyers set the pace of the relationship (I don’t want to pester but I do want to serve them well and keep my company on their radar), though I recommend touching base with even the quietest of buyers at least once per quarter.

      Glad you enjoyed the line sheet! These things can seem like such mythical beasts but they are typically pretty straightforward. 😉

  • Jenn Romero

    Oooh and I joined the mailing list too!

  • Katie Walker

    this sounds amazing! i’m a textile accessory designer, and i’m just starting to branch out into retail shops, and i would LOVE more advice and help on how to do that!!!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Katie! Congrats on your growing business. Let me know if you have a specific question and I’ll do my best to help!

  • Katie Walker

    i joined the mailing list 🙂

  • Katie Walker

    and i now follow on twitter 🙂
    @katiehwalker

  • Mei

    Hey Lela! I found your program and site via Oh My Handmade and appreciate what you offer.

    Wholesale is something I’m just trying to amp up in my biz. I have contractors that help me do piecework and fulfillment so production and packaging is hands off for me.

    Since hiring them, inventory has been up, turnaround times have gone down (which is great!) BUT I’m not pushing inventory fast enough. Profits have shrunk since I’ve taken on my contractors, but I KNOW in my heart that getting them on board is a good decision in the long term growth of my company.

    I’ve sold to about 20 stores by myself in my business lifetime, but when I ask for feedback and reorders, no one says yes! I have a couple that reorder – they are online shops that come to me first, but it’s not enough to sustain my efforts. This leaves me feeling very discouraged and makes me doubt my product, even though I have awesome feedback from my retail customers.

    I’m working at hiring sales reps but I’m just at the very beginning stages of that, so I feel like a fish out of the water.

    Your wholesale program looks like it will be invaluable. Thanks for this awesome opportunity!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Mei.. nice to meet you! Sales reps can definitely get your product out there, but you have to hire the right reps and there’s an art to that. Sales rep horror stories abound, but a good rep is worth TWICE their weight in gold. We spend a lot of time in LBU discussing reps- how and when to consider working with them, how to find and vet them, how to establish healthy parameters to ensure a healthy, successful relationship, etc. LBU has several re-specific handouts, too, including a slate of interview questions for vetting new reps and a sample rep agreement you can edit + tailor to your business.

      It sounds as though you’re trying to get the production and sales pieces off your plate and that’s a smart decision if you want to focus exclusively on product development and brand creation, though taking those pieces off your plate certainly comes with a price tag attached to it. Keep in mind that reps usually charge 15% of each order in commission. The key to success for small business who outsource production + sales is volume.

      May I ask what kind of followup you do after a stockist places an order? And do you offer product support post-sale? Do they offer any feedback? If particular pieces are moving slowly, then perhaps you can consider an one-time product swap program. The type of products you create lend themselves nicely to such an arrangement!

      • Mei

        Thanks for the reply, Lela! I wasn’t expecting that!

        That’s great to hear that LBU covers so much on sales reps. My wholesale pricing structure has room for the 15% commission without cutting into my profits. But this makes me think if my pricing is too high, which might be one reason why reorders are low.

        After someone places an order I follow up in two weeks by email to check that everything arrived safely. In 2-3 months I email again to ask for feedback and to check on how sales are going and if they need more product.
        Some stores don’t even respond, but I had one local one that did and they reported slower sales (they had high hopes for my jewelry). We arranged a swap of product and I even upgraded my packaging from plastic sleeves to clear hanging boxes – they look a lot more exclusive and the store said they would “be easier to merchandise”. I did this because their feedback was they thought the old packaging made it hard for people to smell and experience my scented jewelry.

        I’ll be meeting with the store owner this weekend. Hopefully she will report better results!

        • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

          Mei, well, you’re doing a LOT right. Sometimes it takes far more legwork than I’d like to find stores that are a great fit. But those stores which are enthusiastic hold the keys to the kingdom!

          Do you offer shelftalkers? They can be generated inexpensively and are a great marketing piece to offer to your stockists. Especially for products with unique attributes like yours (I love that the jewelry actually smells). I assume that you talk that up on the packaging itself, but I’d be curious to see your products in a retail environment to see how you might be able to call more attention to those innovative features. With a production collection as fun as yours, I can envision lots of great signage to help push sales.

          Good luck with your meeting this weekend… I’m crossing my fingers for you!

  • Mei

    I’m on the mailing list!

  • Mei

    And just followed you on Twitter!

  • Mei

    Liked on Facebook!

  • Mei

    Tweeted this giveaway! Thanks again and good luck everyone!

  • Heidi Bartlett

    I think my biggest marketing question is where to start. Where are your marketing dollars best spent? How do you jump into the highly saturated, often intimidating stationery wholesale world? Probably one of my biggest fear is not completely understanding how people can be successful in the wholesale world. It’s somewhat mind-blowing, but it’s happening. So, tell me how to take the first step to join these other successful entrepreneurs. I have no doubt that I have the drive & determination to be successful in this market (I have my own graphic design studio that is successful, and recently launched an online shop), but I just need the guidance and resources to LEARN where to start and how to begin taking the first step to entering the wholesale world.

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Heidi, I think the first two steps into wholesale are critical: know your story and know your numbers. The wholesale world is fiercely competitive and you have to have both competitive pricing and a unique selling position. Pretty things aren’t enough- you have to give buyers something to sink their teeth into. Why do you make that you do? What inspires you? What is your process? How is your stationary different from all the others- is it the materials you use? The process of creation? A unique vantage point? A great brand story? The second piece is knowing your true and complete “cost of creation” and then building a pricing strategy based on those figures. Too often, we guess at our numbers or we *think* we know the whole picture when we’re only looking at a fraction of it. Does that help at all?

      • Mika Mosier

        It helped me! My industry isn’t QUITE as competitive as say, jewelry, but it’s becoming more saturated with hobbyists and I want to make sure I’m standing out. I always wonder about how to include my story in something without it sounding a bit..poor me? Wording is not my strong point, my knee jerk reaction when asked what my process is sounds like this “Uhhhh..I sew the fabric together??”. Not exactly fabulous!

        • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

          Mika, I’m glad you found the information helpful. While I’m not a big fan of formulas, this one seems to get the gears going for many makers who seek assistance pulling their brand stories together:

          S: What was the situation?
          T: What kind of trouble did you encounter?
          O: What were the obstacles you overcame?
          R: Tell me about the results.
          Y: Why are you sharing this story?

          I am certain you do more than sew the fabric together. Do you design your pieces? What’s your inspiration? Why did you start your business? What’s process of creation like? Those are all great details to include with your story!

  • Heidi Bartlett

    I followed you on Twitter…

  • Heidi Bartlett

    I followed you on Facebook

  • Heidi Bartlett

    And subscribed to the mailing list. Excited!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Lovely to meet your acquaintance Heidi. 🙂

  • http://www.sarahphelpscreative.com/ Sarah / Sarah Phelps Creative

    Just signed up to your mailing list too!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Awesome Sarah- glad we can stay connected!

  • Heather Gill

    Shared on Twitter and Facebook and signed up for the newsletter. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this blog!!! So many questions are being answered! Thank you!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Heather! I’m not certain if you’re seeing the Lucky Break blog or the OMH blog for the first time, but I think they’re both pretty fabulous. Lovely to meet you! 🙂

      • Heather Gill

        First time for both! I wish I had time to read everything today! So lovely to meet you too.

        • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

          Ha! If you read everything today you wouldn’t have to come back and visit our world of goodness, glad you found us!

  • Elizabeth Groner Hill

    With family illness sidelining me from retailing, I’d really like to get into wholesale and private label. I KNOW I can do it but I’m not confident enough with terms and general lay of the land to boldly move ahead.

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Bless you Elizabeth! Wholesale is quite a different creature than retail and the same rules definitely do not apply. I’m crossing my fingers that you win the seat so you can gain the confidence and know the lay of the land!

      • Elizabeth Groner Hill

        one way or another we are getting together, Lela, don’t worry! But yes, it would be awesome to win.

  • Katie Leavitt

    Oh I would just LOVE the boost this could give to our little jewelry business. We’re a 2 person operation that lovingly hand makes our products. We have established wholesale accounts that do just awesome but we’re having a struggle branching out of our state. It seems much easier to get people to embrace the “Made in Montana” feel than when we try to go outside of Montana. This course could set us on the path to bigger things. Which would be extra awesome because I just quit my day “job” to pursue this passion full time!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Katie… squeeee! How exciting that you’ve said “adios” to your day job to pursue your business full-time. That’s HUGE and I wish you all the
      best on your journey. Your jewelry is really funky and fun. I’m a sucker for hand-stamped metal. 🙂

      Have you considered trade shows or sales reps? They can radically expand reach and you can still control growth by limiting which/how many shows you choose to exhibit and how many reps you take on. I’d suggest a smaller show to start and/or the addition of a couple of reps that offer complimentary (rather than competitive) brands. No doubt- trade shows are expensive, but they offer a crazy number of benefits, which I discuss in this blog post: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/designing-a-trade-show-budget/

      I’d welcome the opportunity to help you explore the various ways to grow your business in LBU!

  • Katie Leavitt

    Keeping my fingers crossed! I “liked” the facebook page. Feel free to like ours too. “Girl Ran Away With The Spoon”

  • Katie Leavitt

    Added to the email list too! Love the sounds of your program and I just know it would be a phenomenal boost for our little jewelry business to break through the transition from local treasure to nationally beloved product. Maybe my more direct thought is how to do this in a way where the growth of the business is organic rather than forced. We pride ourselves in being unique and do want to push too far and grow too big to where we can’t have direct control and maintain great quality.

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/151120990/journey-assemblage-bracelet-stack-with?ref=shop_home_active

    There is a sample of what we do so you can see why it can’t just be factory made and why we wouldn’t want to go in that direction. That being said I KNOW there is more room for growth.

    Blessings,
    ~Katie

  • Jen Wolak

    I am SO ready for this! It is perfect timing as I am JUST looking into how to make a line sheet. I didn’t even know what a line sheet was until about 6 months ago when I decided to turn my jewelry hobby into a bad ass biz!! 🙂 I am getting my website made in September and having a launch party in late August…and I would LOVE to invite some local boutique owners!! I have so many questions when it comes to wholesale but I think the number one question- after making the line sheet, where do I go from there?! Call/email the owner/buyer? How does payment work on their end? What about consignment? Is it a good idea? What about sales reps? where do I find them? ok, I will stop! haha. I would love to take this course! I have followed you on Twitter for a while and just joined your mailing list and liked on FB! Thank you for the consideration!!! xo

    http://www.bajewelry.etsy.com

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Wowzers Jen, your teardrop earrings make me swoon. Gorgeous work! Once you have your line sheet all wrapped up, then the next step is to research potential stores and find GREAT fits. Research them thoroughly, know how to appeal to their buyers, make certain your products are a good fit and then put together a succinct, low-pressure, authentic pitch.

      Sales reps are a great option, provided that: you’re ready to supply them with everything they’ll need, you have the production capacity to turn those orders around fairly quickly, your profit margins can sustain a 15% commission rate to our reps.

      Here’s a recent post on my blog that should help you determine if you’re ready to take the leap: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/are-you-ready-to-work-with-sales-reps/

  • Jenelle Montilone

    I signed up your newsletter too Lela! Hooray!

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Awesome Jenelle. I look forward to staying connected. Jessika says the loveliest things about you. 🙂

  • Mika Mosier

    For me, my biggest question is..how to get everything organized so when I have a wholesale contact I don’t look like an unprofessional moron. What’s best to send when pitching a retailer..wholesale price list and a catalog? Or just a few pictures with wholesale pricing?

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Lovely to meet you Mika (and love your name!). I favor product photos (2-3 beautiful photos of your best-selling products, embedded in an email) along with a smartly-designed line sheet and possibly an order form. The most important facets of any pitch are personalization + authenticity. You need to be able to demonstrate to the buyer that you’ve researched their shop, that you understand their brand aesthetic and that you believe your products will appeal specifically to their buyers. Bind pitches and mass pitches are turn-offs, so I recommend focusing your efforts and really finding shops which are a good match with whom you can build long-term relationships. I hope that helps!

  • Mika Mosier

    Just signed up for your email list!

  • Mika Mosier

    I follow you on Twitter!

  • Mika Mosier

    I like you on Facebook too!

  • Mika Mosier

    tweeted the giveaway

  • Julia Gold

    Like many others, our biggest wholesale challenge/question is how to attract more accounts and specifically larger retailer accounts. We don’t tend to be folks who like to push sales, instead we always let others come to us. Help in that area is always appreciated.

    • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

      Hi Julia! Thanks for your question. I’m not a natural-born sales woman but I have found that I’ve eased into to… practice certainly helps. Good wholesale relationships are partnerships- you’re not throwing yourself at their feet, begging a buyer to bring your product on. If you have a shop that you’ve researched and feel confidently that your products are a good fit, then approach with that confidence and pair it with authenticity. Tell your story, show your products, explain why you believe they’re a good fit. The shops need good product just as much as makers need buyers. 🙂

      Come armed + ready when approaching a buyer: a succinct + compelling brand story, brilliantly-executed product photos, a tidy line sheet and order form. Know your product costs and have your pricing down pat- competitive, reasonable and at least 50% of your suggested retail. I’ve found that knowing what they expect from you, and coming into the ring with all of that ready, really helps boost confidence and increases the number of accounts you transition from “interest” to “purchase.” We spend a good bit of time in LBU sorting through the different methods of pitching (email, phone, in-person) and the etiquette behind each one. The game is so much easier to play when you’re confident about the rules!

      Best of luck with your business and let me know if you’d like clarity on any of the above. 🙂

  • Julia Gold

    Joined the mailing list…

  • Julia Gold

    ….liked you on facebook….

  • Julia Gold

    ….and following you on twitter 🙂

  • http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/ Lela Barker

    Cyn, those trade shows can be brutal, eh? How did it go for you?

    I LOVE trade shows when they’re executed well, but I talk to many makers who don’t thoroughly research the show before they dive in and/or don’t understand what to expect and how to prepare. It’s an expensive lesson if you don’t play your cards right…

    Thanks for connecting- I look forward to staying in touch!

  • colleen attara

    Oh my! I missed this op….how did that happen? Ironically, I was up way late last night filling out wholesale info for Uncommon Goods….

  • laalicia

    joined the mailing list

  • laalicia

    following on twitter as @laalicia:disqus

  • laalicia

    I liked you on FB

  • Stephanie Tardy Duimstra

    My biggest issue is organization for marketing. I just started to keep track of my social media messaging in a spreadsheet and need to extend the idea into other areas, such as press mentions/contacts.

  • Stephanie Tardy Duimstra

    I liked Lucky Break on FB. 🙂

  • Stephanie Tardy Duimstra

    Joined the mailing list

  • Stephanie Tardy Duimstra

    Following on Twitter, too.

    I wanna win! 🙂

  • Cara

    Signed up for your mailing list. Would love to win this
    course to learn the ins and outs of wholesale! I’d also like to learn effective
    ways to pitch my pillow covers to interior designers.

  • Piia

    Joined the mailing list! Thanks for this amazing opportunity!

  • Piia

    Following you on Twitter!

  • Karen Roofe Hilt

    My big fear surrounds A) pulling all the little details together (like web is *almost* done) and B) what will happen to me when I’m successful? (Ironic and crazy) C) being a mid 40 something mom and keeping it all together alone while feeling that I missed a part of the bus with the whole social media thing whilst dumping my corporate job and raising kids! I know how it works, but not feeling “locked and loaded” so to speak. I would love to win this spot cause I know I can pay it forward! And I tweeted, Facebooked, posted and joined!!!!!!!

  • Iza Izabela

    When starting a business, what is the fastest way to way to get results when marketing a bath and body product?

  • Gina Fagnani

    Thank you for your article. Do you feel a wholesale website is a good thing to have? Would make ordering for retailers much easier. What’s your thoughts on Wholesale Websites? Thanks! 🙂

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  • Damon Spiel

    Hey Lela cool article. Line sheets are a key factor in having any business. I have my own clothing company with about 20+ products. I found my self struggling to get line sheets out, I was pressed on time and overwhelmed with work. Luckily I found Creative Pile. They did all my line sheets and sent me all the files. Now I am trade show ready!

    http://www.creativepile.com/services/prints/line-sheets

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  • Elma

    First of all you can not be scared of competitions in the world of business. Be comfortable with your product if your unsure about your own product how do you expect the buyers and consumers to purchase. I am a designer and inventor for baby product everytime i finish my design and invent them i fall deeply in love with my own product. I love the challenge of knowing there is a of competition but what is most important to me is Safety comes before comfort and beauty. I do my own investigations from recalls and search of whats out there but safety i my main concerns. Because. Its for the babies of the world product safety. I am a starter Entrepreneur and i know for a factfactproducts are so unique it sells its sell and pay it selfs what i mean is the profit is a royalty profit for the department stores imagine making profit of almost $1,400 per case of 38 items minus the wholesale price you paid you come up with give and take $1,000 profit my product sells it self and pay for it self wow. My only issue is i am not financially. Secure i do not have enough funds to manufacturer. But other then that i have done my research and found out my products are top number ones in the babies department anyone out ther can give me some advice thank you