5 top tips for pitching your handmade product to retail buyers

5 top tips for pitching your handmade product to retail buyers
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 8th Oct 2012

If you're running a handmade business, retailers offer one of your best potential sales outlets. But getting a shop to take your products is an art in itself. Fortunately, pitching expert Laura Rigney has these five tips for pitching effectively, as featured in our newly published Make Money from Makes.

1. Be confident with pricing

Selling wholesale is a new ballpark as far as pricing is concerned. Make your product attractive to buyers with your pricing. A great way to show you're trying to help retailers is to set up a structured pricing system, i.e. 100 units or less £xx per unit, 101-500 units £yy per unit, and 501 units or more £zz per unit. This system could also encourage shops and buyers to place larger orders.

2. Understand your product inside out

This means technical data as well as knowing why someone would buy it. When you get a meeting with a buyer or approach a shop owner, talk with confidence about where the product is made, by whom, and using what kind of materials. Remember there is pressure on large retailers to "go green", so the more you can offer that as a potential supplier the more attractive you will be.

3. Be prepared

If a buyer places an order, how quickly will you have manufacturing, distribution and storage in place? Buyers won't expect a new small business to have a giant factory sitting waiting for someone to press the "go" button but they will want a realistic estimate of how long it will be until your product is in their warehouses/on the shop shelf. Once you have given your timings, stick to them. Even if this means exaggerating the time it will take for them to be delivered. Better to be early rather than late!

4. Pitch perfect

If you're pitching in person, make it informative, exciting and interesting and where possible have samples, evidence of past sales and customer satisfaction. You need to know your figures without having to look through paperwork and be prepared to haggle a little on prices. If someone likes your product enough and you have sold it well enough they will buy it, even if it's a few pennies more than they would like to pay. In the other direction, sometimes it may be worth offering a larger than normal discount as a trial for their first order.

5. Stay listed

When a company takes on your product it's called being listed. Once you are listed, the work is just beginning! It's now time to stay listed for as long as possible and the way to do this is through marketing and PR. The more you promote your product and the shops/galleries/boutiques that are selling them, the more they will be bought by consumers, thus encouraging buyers to place more orders with you. Laura Rigney is founder of Pitcher House and Mumpreneur UK, and author of Pitching Products for Small Business, which is available from the Enterprise Nation shop.

Buy Make Money from Makes from £3.50

Published in association with Prima, Make Money from Makes by Emma Jones tells you everything you need to know to turn your hobby, passion or interest into a flourishing small enterprise. It's available as both an ebook and a print book from the Enterprise Nation shop. [product id="56600"] Photo credit: Mick/Lumix

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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