Posted: Thu 9th Feb 2023
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 and getting your handmade products stocked in retail shelves all over the country.
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 – for example, 100 units or less at £xx per unit, 101–500 units at £yy per unit, and 501 units or more at £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, large retailers are under increasing pressure to "go green", so the more you can offer that as a potential supplier, the more attractive you'll 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 or on the shop shelf.
Once you've 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. Wherever possible, have samples and 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've sold it well enough, they'll 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 a retailer's first order.
5. Stay listed
When a company takes on your product, it's called being listed. Once you're 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 and boutiques that are selling them, the more consumers will buy them, thus encouraging buyers to place more orders with you.