Category: Branding

Build Your 2014 Buyer’s Packet & Get Ready for Wholesale!

Buyer's Packet Design, line sheets and order forms, Lucky Break Consulting

I’ve been a maker for ten years now and the things I’ve learned along this journey could fill enough volumes to start my own library. Upon reflection, I suppose I have started my own library of sorts via my consulting company. I like to think of it as an entrepreneurial toolbox: an answer to all the times I wish I had a program or service or mentor to help me jump business hurdles along the way. This week, I launched a new service which is designed to solve one of the biggest headaches for makers: the task of elegantly presenting your work to wholesale buyers.

Buyer's Packet Design, line sheets and order forms, Lucky Break ConsultingClick the infographic for a closer look!

Through my work as wholesale strategist with hundreds of makers over the past year, I’ve quickly come to understand how many of us struggle to understand what should be sent to wholesale buyers, whether they’re inquiring about our product collection or we’re introducing the collection to a shop we’d love to work with. No matter what creative products you make, if you plan to sell those products to shops, spas, galleries, department stores or online retailers, then you’ll benefit by having a sleek Buyer’s Packet in your entrepreneurial arsenal.

Don’t wait until you have a hot lead to begin putting one together. You know the old saying about the early bird and the worm? It rings true for makers, too. Those makers who can quickly fulfill requests for wholesale information from interested buyers are the ones who score the wholesale accounts. Invest some time this month developing your Buyer’s Packet to make 2014 the year you conquer the wholesale market!

Buyer’s Packets are comprised of 2 basic documents: line sheets and order forms. Today, I’m sharing a few tips which should prove helpful as you begin the process of developing your own swoon-worthy line sheets. Start by deciding how many products you want to feature on each page. I recommend 2-8 products per page- any less is a waste of paper and any more is so congested that it might discourage buyers from really exploring the line.

Use one crisp product image for each product featured. 

  • Choose neutral backgrounds which don’t distract from the product being featured.
  • Each image should focus on a single product or product family.
  • Product images should contain minimal props, keeping the emphasis on the product itself.
  • Consistency is key! Images should be consistently styled, framed and lit.
  • Utilize images which are high resolution (300 DPI+).

Beside or below each product image, include:

  • Name of the product
  • Item number
  • Wholesale price (expressed as “each”)
  • Recommended retail price
  • Minimum number of units
  • Available variants: As an example, t-shirts might be sized S, M, L, and XL. Candles or lip balms may have fragrance or flavor variants (strawberry lime, blood orange + honey). Jewelry, accessories and housewares will likely have products available in multiple colors.

Buyer's Packet Design, line sheets and order forms, Lucky Break Consulting

Wholesale 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.

The best examples of line sheets:

  • Are unambiguous and easy to follow.
  • Are stripped of extraneous “marketing chatter”- just the facts.
  • Contain all the information necessary to make an order. Buyers may have additional questions, but the essentials should be answered on your line sheet.
  • Feature a professional layout, uniform product photos, maximum of 2 fonts, font sizes which are highly legible.

Need some inspiration? Browse through my portfolio, which contains 41 pages of line sheets + order forms from some of the hottest makers around hustling today.

Or, you know… I just launched an amazing service which not only teaches you how to develop a successful wholesale program via my series of video workshops, it also puts your details in the hands of a professional designer who can build a knock-their-socks-off Buyer’s Packet to your specifications, at a fraction of the price you’d expect. Our very own Jessika Hepburn helped design the backbone of the service and I’m really excited about how this service will help makers boost their confidence, increase their efficiency and grow their business!

Through January 17th, use code OMH25 to enjoy $25 off your Buyer’s Packet. Watch the video introduction & learn more at the Lucky Break website

What do you think of Lucky Break’s new Buyer’s Packet design service? Are you ready to build your own 2014 line sheets + order forms and focus on wholesaling for your business this year? Share your thoughts & connect with other makers in the comments!

How Quilting is Like Creative Web Design

How Quilting is Like Web Design

I used to spend a huge amount of my time designing and coding websites. I found that when my creative web design company, Aeolidia, grew enough that I was in a management role and could no longer do client work myself, I needed a replacement creative activity. Today I’m taking a break from my usual all-business posts here to show you something just for fun.

My son was almost two years old, and I found some vintage jungle-themed sheets at the thrift store and thought I’d see if I could make a quilt out of them. Well, I dusted off my old Home Ec. sewing skills and I made him a quilt in time for his second birthday.

I am a bit of a crafting dilettante, I must confess. I have dabbled in knitting, crocheting, doll-making, painting, jewelry-making, embroidery, and the list goes on. Once I figure out the basics of how to do something, I tend to lose interest, and rarely have many completed projects to show for my efforts. However, the quilting was another story, for some reason!

Since that first jungle quilt a few years ago, I’ve made eight quilts, and while working on them, I noticed that the process of making a quilt shares many similarities with designing a website. I think that’s why it keeps my interested, and why I’ve stuck with it.

I’m going to show photos of a recent quilt that I made for my son, as a fun example of why I find making quilts a good creative replacement activity. Calvin has been pretty obsessed with space for the last year, so we dreamed up the Denim Solar System quilt.

How Designing a Quilt is Like Creating a Website

1) Both projects start with a sketching or “wire frame” stage.

With a website, you think about all the things that will need to be on the home page, and what links you’ll need elsewhere, and put together a rough sketch of the layout, so you can be sure that once you are working on the pretty details, you have the bones of the website right.

With a quilt, I take graph paper and plan out a geometric design that’s going to fit the size I want and I work through different ideas at different sizes.

"Wire frame" to show the relative size and placement of each planet.
“Wire frame” to show the relative size and placement of each planet.

2) They both use the grid system.

When working on my quilts in the graph paper notebook, I saw that both websites and quilts use a grid or pixel system. Since everything in a website is built on a box system, a website is built of many rectangular sections. Quilts are also geometric, usually being pieced together from many smaller squares, rectangles, or triangles (not the planets quilt, but every other quilt I’ve done!). There are ways to make websites and quilts have rounded elements, but ultimately they are blocky beasts.

3) Mood boards are useful for both.

Coming up with a color scheme, patterns, shapes, and setting the general tone of a website or quilt is important. I find myself using Pinterest to gather quilt ideas in the same way our web designers capture the mood of our clients’ sites.

Solar system quilt board on Pinterest
Solar system quilt board on Pinterest

4) Choosing fabrics feels like using stock art.

Our web designers are thankfully much more skilled than I was, back when I was designing websites, and they usually create all the design elements involved in their websites. But back when I was working on websites, I was not an illustrator, and would often go to stock art/illustration sites to pull together the “materials” I’d use to design a website, be it a repeating pattern, illustration, or fancy banner.

Selecting the fabrics I want for a quilt and laying them out to spark ideas feels just like pulling my patterns, fonts, and colors into Photoshop to make a web design come to life.

Seeing how possible fabrics look together.
Seeing how possible fabrics look together.

5) Client feedback on mock-up.

For this year’s birthday quilt, my son was turning five, and had a lot of input. I showed him my sketches to see what he thought, and he offered feedback to me, much like our clients do when seeing the wire frame or first website concept.

In this case, Calvin told me:

  • happy faces were preferred over plain planets
  • the planets had to go in the right order, but didn’t need to be a straight line
  • the planets should be roughly proportional to real life

My client also came to the fabric store and was involved in fabric choice.

Rough sketches to solicit client feedback.
Rough sketches to solicit client feedback.

6) Prototype when trying something new.

I hadn’t done much appliqué before, and I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out, so I worked on a few smaller test planets and tried some things that didn’t work, before settling on the final design.

When a web design client asks for a new feature, we’ll often build a prototype of it, in a very limited, basic state, to first see if it’s even do-able, and then have the client try it out to see if it works for her, before we sink a lot of time into doing it right.

My client testing out the Earth prototype. Back to the drawing board on the shape of the continents!
My client testing out the Earth prototype. Back to the drawing board on the shape of the continents!

7) Settling in to develop the project.

Once all the design work is out of the way, the time comes to actually make the quilt or develop the website. Most of our designers now hand that work off to a dedicated developer on our team, but I used to move right along to code my designs myself.

This stage of the project also has a whole lot of similarity. Measurements need to be taken (pixels vs. inches) and you need to either slice up your fabric or slice up a Photoshop document (and they do call that “slicing!”). Blocks need to fit next to each other, and then it’s either sew, sew, sew, or code, code, code.

The creative work is not done, because there are usually some kinks that need ironing out at this stage, and often some embellishments need to happen.

Embroidering a cheerful face on Venus.
Embroidering a cheerful face on Venus.

8) Adding special features to surprise and delight!

We’re always looking to delight both our clients and their customers. We will hide cute little illustrations behind menus, which are only seen when you mouse over, or put special care into making the newsletter signup form clever and eye-catching.

My client was surprised to find a glow-in-the-dark rocket stitched next to the Earth!

Rocket, stitched with glow-in-the-dark thread
Rocket, stitched with glow-in-the-dark thread

The final product

In the end, you have a project that took a lot of planning, a whole bunch of measuring, a knack for color and balance, and perhaps some sweat and tears during the development phase. Hopefully, your client is just as pleased as you are (and cozy, too, in the case of the quilt!), and you can snap a few pics for your portfolio.

Denim Solar System Quilt

You can see my quilt “portfolio” here, and Aeolidia’s web design portfolio here.

What is your creative outlet? If you’re in the business of being creative, do you also do projects just for yourself, or are you satisfied with your main method of creativity?

Thanking Your Biggest Supporters

Thanking your biggest business supporters, thanking value partners, Alison Butler The Petit Cadeau

The holidays are a busy time for most of us – the hustle and bustle and cheer of preparing for our own celebrations, plus meeting deadlines and filling holiday shopper customer orders.

We often think a lot about meeting our customer’s needs.  How can we give them a positive shopping experience and make them happy? How can we encourage them to buy again? What are they most interested in? What are they least interested in?  The list goes on and on.

This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value that partners provide to me, both personally, and to my business.  These people are not customers, nor may they ever be, but they are the ones who have:

  • written guest posts for The Petit Cadeau Blog.
  • partnered with me on special projects or collaborations
  • acted as my sounding board for ideas through e-mail

Your “value partners” might look a little different than mine, but I can almost guarantee that you have some. They drive traffic to your blog, they champion your cause, they regularly share your social media posts, they believe in you.

As a small gesture of my thanks for their support and value to my blog and business, I am sending each value partner a handmade holiday card.

Thanking your biggest business supporters, thanking value partners, Alison Butler The Petit Cadeau

I purchased a stamp from a handmade business that was featured in my monthly Handmade Marathon series and used heat embossing on red cardstock to create the cards. Each card will include a handwritten note of thanks, along with a special offer discount code on one of my branded postcards.

I hope to bring a little holiday cheer to those who have helped me on my business journey this year.

Have you done something to thank your “value partners” in the past? Will you start this year? Share your ideas with us here!

Alison-bio-photoSay Hello to Alison

Alison Butler is a part-time creative, a wife, and mother with a passion for thoughtful gifting.  She blogs weekly inspiration at and recently launched The Petit Cadeau shop, filled with handmade, hand embroidered celebration countdown calendars and other lovely goods for thoughtful celebrations.

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