You’ve had your sewn products produced and they look good. They are properly labeled, have their hangtags attached, and they are ready to be purchased. You’ve planned to go the wholesale route, and have priced your products accordingly. All that’s left is to get them into stores.
This is one of the most critical parts of the process. Without sales, what do you have? Hopefully garments in your size, because you’re the only one who’ll be wearing them. How to begin this sizable process? Start with your branding, create your line sheet, research the stores then start communicating with them. Sound overwhelming? Let’s break it down into reasonable pieces.
Before you start approaching stores, make sure your branding is in order. You need a professional logo, preferably a professional email address, meaning one that utilizes your URL versus a Gmail or Yahoo account, a professional-looking website that is clean and easy to navigate, and proper labels and hangtags.
Tick off your branding to-dos one at a time until this first round of branding is complete. If you haven’t started your website yet, we suggest you go with Shopify. For e-commerce, it’s the simplest option out there, it makes selling very easy, and has good free apps to help you reach your customers and generate sales. It’s also very easy to set up if you are a novice and need to get something out there that you can beef up later.
Create Your Line Sheet
Don’t overwhelm yourself with creating a line sheet. It does not have to be overly complicated. You are simply creating a document that a buyer or store can look at to easily see what products you have for sale, what they look like, what they are made of, what colors they come in, how much they cost, and when they can get them. There are tons of line sheet examples online. There isn't one way to make a line sheet. Find one that works best for your products, and copy the format or utilize the template.
You can make a line sheet using Microsoft Word or a page layout program. You can download a template from the Internet, or Shopify has a free app that will generate a line sheet for you.
Wholesale Line Sheet Generator for Shopify
Research the Stores
It might seem like the easiest thing to do is to send your email and line sheet to every store you possibly can, but because follow up is crucial to making a sale, you are actually making more work for yourself, and wasting the time of store owners whose stores don’t fit your products.
Do your research. Identify stores in your own state first that would sell your products and match with your price points. If you are trying to sell a $300 dress to a store that typically sells dresses for $40, you aren’t going to get that sale, so don’t bother.
Communicate with Store Buyers Start with about 20 stores, and then call every single one and ask who does the buying for the store, and how that person would like to be contacted. Don’t try to sell your brand to the person who answers the phone. This is an extra step that will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. Knowing the right person to contact, knowing that person’s name, and reaching out to them in the proper way will get you to a sale more quickly.
Write a clear, concise, professional email (spell check and check your grammar, please!), personalized for that buyer, that introduces your brand, includes a PDF of your line sheet, a link to your website, and a follow-up step. By a follow-up step, I mean letting them know, for instance, that you will reach out again in two weeks - giving them a chance to review your materials - to check in and discuss next steps.
Then mark that date on your calendar to follow up, and do it. You can follow up via email again, and if it is a local business, suggest making an appointment to show your pieces.
You could get a response right away from the buyer, it could take a few weeks, and it could take a few months. You never know how busy that person is, or how good they are with responding. What matters is that you are consistent with your follow up without being harassing or rude. If you can’t get a response via email after a few attempts, pick up the phone and call. Just always stay professional. Persistence pays. Always remember that. If you give up too easily, you are better off not going down this road.
Once you make a deal with a local store, add that store as a stockist on your website. This is helpful for other stores to see that you are selling in other places.
Keep researching stores, keep reaching out, and keep following up. If you are matching your quality products to stores that fit, you have professional materials and branding, you are polite and persistent, and you are willing to work within the stores’ parameters, you will make sales.