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"10 Simple Steps To Launch Your    BIG Idea: From Design

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Ask Jane: Help - I'm Meeting with A Real Buyer for the First Time!

Dear Jane, I have a full time job and have just started a handbag biz on the side. I have 2 basic shapes but each bag is a one-of-a-kind creation. I have sold only to friends and co-workers. I was in a shop and the owner asked me about the bag I was wearing. To make a long story short she wants to sell them in her boutique. I'm excited to meet with her but need some pointers before my presentation. What advice can you give me?  Christine P.  Portland, OR

Hi Christine, Congratulations, what a wonderful opportunity for you!  This is a great question because it's your first entry into the wholesale market. And even though you would love to have the recognition and the sale there are several things you need to pull together and work on before you go to the meeting and before you decide to sell to this store.  You need to be prepared and professional before you walk in the door, so here are my suggestions:

  1. Make sure your samples are perfect and representative of what you will deliver after you receive the order. Samples must be representative of the final items to be delivered.
  2. Carry your samples into the meeting location in a nice bag or travelling case.
  3. Be on time. I know is a basic one but, nothing will hurt your chances more of losing a sale then being late. Most buyers and owners are busy and want to get down to business. They may have scheduled back to back appointments so be respectful of their time. If you're not early, you're late!
  4. Mark each item with a style number even if you have not devised a system for doing this. It will make it easier to refer to different items that you are showing if they have a style number.
  5. Create a "line sheet" - this is a pre-printed sheet showing the item, color and design along with the style number. Do not put prices on the line sheet.
  6. Take a price sheet - with prices for all items by style number. This is a separate sheet - and could include an order form. Some stores have their own order form, if they do make sure you read the fine print.
  7. Have a business card with all your information on it - including your name, company name, phone contact, email address & website.
  8. Be sure to leave copies of the line sheet, price sheet and business card.
  9. Explain the benefits and features of your product - what sets it apart from other similar products? See my previous newsletter about watching QVC or HSN to get pointers.
  10. Set a delivery date, allowing yourself enough of a lead time for ordering materials and manufacturing the bags.
  11. Perform due diligence on the store before you sell or ship. Don't get caught up in the excitement and then never get paid. I can tell you horror stories about this.
  12. Decide on the payment terms you can offer. Can you do a credit check of the store? You may be able to be pre-paid before you ship. Do not offer COD.
  13. Your buyer may ask for consignment. With very few exceptions, this is NOT a good idea.
  14. What will you say if the buyer wants you to customize your product? It happens often and you need to be prepared with an answer.
  15. Learn to close the sale and walk away with an order. An "I'll think about it and call you" or "I don't like the color" is often a polite way of saying no.

Good luck with your meeting. I'd love to hear what happens, so keep me posted.

Love & Success,


P.S. After reading my response to Christine did a few questions pop into you head? Like...How do I price my product? How do I create a line sheet? How do I run credit check on company so I can set them up on terms? How do I establish a realistic delivery date? Don't worry! I'll have all of these answers and more in my updated 2009 version of "Consultant in A Box: Best Kept Secrets & Hands-On How-To-Guide for Operating, Building & Creating Your Own Sewn or Knit Product, Design, Gift or Craft Business". I'll be sending out information on how to pre-order this brand new updated home study course very soon. So keep watching your in box!

P.P.S. If you have questions you'd like to see answered, please send them to me and you may have your question answered in this ezine. Address your questions to JaneButton@Design2MarketSuccess.com




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