So some of you know that earlier this year I decided to work hard to branch into the wholesale arena. I was ready, able, and willing for a new challenge.
In August I participated in my very first wholesale show with the Buyers Market of American Craft. I have received several messages from fellow artists asking how it went and wanting additional information. Where better to tell my experience than on my blog?
Let me say that this may be the ultimate challenge for me and I am realizing that in order to achieve the success I am looking for I need to arm myself with additional tools and resources. I had a semi-successful show. It wasn't great and it wasn't terrible but lets just say it didn't meet my personal expectations.
However, if we measure a show by how much we learn than I would say the show was a brilliant. I don't think you can really understand or develop an idea of how you will succeed at these shows without participating in them. I also don't think that just attending a show will guarantee any sort of success. It will be a process and this is an idea I am trying to adapt to.
Being the girl who would rather learn from others mistakes I thought I would share some things I left the show with. These are the 8 steps I plan to work on for wholesale:
1. Create a vision board depicting the girl who buys my work. Where does she shop, what does she look like, what are her hobbies, who is she? I am going to cut up magazines and create a collage dedicated to this girl. Then with the vision board I will further tweak my current line to meet her needs.
2. Write down a list of objections: What are the objections to my work? People will not always tell you these so my job is to really watch buyers when they look at my work and listen to the customers questions. Once I understand what their objections are I can either change the line to meet their needs or redevelop my dialogue to overcome the objection before it is put forward.
3. Expand on success: I found one particular line was much more successful than the others. I will be expanding on this particular line to offer current and future retailers more choices.
4. Reach retailers before the show: I noticed that many retailers walked by without even looking. The few that did stop were already familiar with my work or stopped once they saw another buyers in my booth. I will continue advertising and will also introduce a postcard mailing to build awareness for my work.
5. Refine my story: Who am I and why do I matter? This is my story and only I can tell it. In order to truly reach people you need to be genuine but retailers and customers want to know more about you and who you are. You have to have a story that connects with people.
6. Know who I am as an artist: I'll admit when I came back there was a part of me that wanted to throw everything out the window and start over. There was a part of me that wanted to just develop a super inexpensive line and throw in the towel on creating a distinctive line.... it just looked easier. However, this is who I am and this is the work I create. I realize now that I will not be for everyone. The key is for me to understand and embrace that. I have to find a way to reach those I am a match for and embrace that this is who I am and what I do.
7. Develop a price spread: This doesn't mean you have to go less expensive all of the time. You can also create a more expensive line to develop a spread but a spread will help you reach out to more galleries both high end, low end, and moderate.
8. Have a script: Will this sounds terrible and I don't really mean to memorize your lines but know how to talk to the people who stop by. Know what you have to say before hand. This was really hard for me.... for once, I was at a loss for words!
So hopefully this will help others looking to break into this side of the business. The best tip I can give is to keep moving forward. Know that you will find success....... it may take some hard work though!
Tucson 2017 - Turquoise (other)
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